Why was an orange called a “Chinese apple”, what happens and where does it grow

Millions of people have long fallen in love with the tropical fruit of the citrus family with juicy flesh. The delicate taste and specific aroma make the orange the first dessert at any time of the year. Orange juice is healthy at every age, and the zest is used in baking and cosmetology. In our country, citrus fruits are cultivated in the Caucasus and in the Krasnodar Territory. The climate of Central Russia will not allow to grow an orange in the open ground, but sophisticated gardeners grow the plant as a pot culture at home. Acquainted with the agrotechnical characteristics and features of growing citrus fruits, the harvest of oranges can be obtained even on the windowsill of a city apartment.

The history of the "Chinese apple"

For the first time, a citrus plant with a dense orange peel and sweet and sour flesh was mentioned in the ancient chronicles of East Asia about 4000 BC. e. The birthplace of oranges is considered China, where 200 years BC. e. began to grow orange trees in greenhouses. The first "oranges" that the Chinese tried were the bitter fruits of a wild orange tree, they were not eaten. Fragrant orange flowers became the basis of the essence, called "bergamot", and the zest of the fruit began to be used as a tonic. This variety of wild-growing citrus fruits later “shared” its genetic characteristics with the traditional southern culture, the fruits of which are known to us.

Modern orange is the result of Chinese breeding, in which the cross of the pomelo and tangerine occurred, and is not found in the wild. The first edible oranges began to grow in the gardens of Chinese aristocrats. Perhaps that is why the citrus hybrid is called the Dutch word “appelsien”, which means “Chinese apple”. Later, culture was brought to the Mediterranean countries, to Egypt and North Africa.

The Europeans, who first tasted an amazing tropical fruit, were the soldiers of Alexander the Great. In Europe, the first orange trees introduced by Portuguese sailors were planted in the middle of the 16th century. Citrus fruits fell into the Russian Empire in the 17th century and became an exquisite delicacy of noble persons. At the beginning of the XVIII century, oranges grew in Georgia (Batumi region), and in the XIX century they began to be cultivated in Sochi.

Oranges grow in different corners of the globe

In ancient times, orange juice was considered an antidote to almost any poison and served as a detergent, coping with grease and dirt.

Relatives of the Orange

In addition to orange, many more types of citrus fruits have been bred, among which there are famous and widely represented fruits in stores around the world.

Table: The Most Famous Citrus Varieties

OrangeBright orange fruit, round, with sweet and sour flesh
LemonYellow, oval, flesh - sour
MandarinSaturated orange, round flattened,


GrapefruitRound, large, pale yellow,

reddish flesh with bitterness

PomeloRound, largest grapefruit, yellow-green peel,

sweet flesh with bitterness

LimeOval, green peel, acid-sour flesh
KumquatThe taste is similar to orange, the size of a walnut,

the flesh is bitter

Finger citronThe shape resembles the fingers; no pulp;

peel is used for making candied fruit

TangeloTangerine and Grapefruit Hybrid

There are less common types and hybrids:

  • sweetie - pomelo + white grapefruit;
  • gayayima - Indian citrus with the smell of ginger and eucalyptus;
  • agli - a hybrid of grapefruit and mandarin;
  • poncirus - inedible citrus with yellow fruits;
  • citrange - poncrus + orange;
  • citranquat is a pear-shaped orange, a hybrid of kumquat and citrange.

Photo Gallery: Varieties of Citrus

Citrange is not eaten fresh, but is used to make marmalade

Kumquat contains a lot of useful substances

Finger Citron Buddha Hand - A Fruit Without Pulp

Pomelo - the largest representative of citrus

Tangelo - a hybrid of one of the varieties of mandarin and grapefruit

Red oranges

Sicilian, or bloody, orange has a red pulp due to the presence of anthocyanins (plant dyes). This is a hybrid of pomelo and mandarin, which was first brought to Sicily. Such a variety of citrus fruits is almost seedless and inferior in size to an ordinary orange with juicy orange pulp and a specific berry aroma. The color of the pulp can vary from bright raspberry to violet-black. The peel of Sicilian oranges is orange or with a reddish tint.

Red (bloody) orange contains the pigment anthocyanidin, which is an antioxidant

The 3 most common varieties of red oranges are known:

  • Sanguinello (Spain);
  • Tarocco (Italy);
  • Moreau.

Red pulp citrus hybrids are grown in Morocco, Spain, Italy, USA, China. The fruit is used in baking, sweets, as a fresh dessert.

Main characteristics of the orange plant

Orange is a flowering, woody, evergreen plant with a continuous cycle of vegetation, that is, at the same time on the tree there can be ripe and green fruits, as well as flowering baskets. The fruits of orange trees are appreciated for their taste and aroma. In the Mediterranean, Asian countries and South America, hectares of orange plantations are cultivated. In southern Europe, alleys with citrus hybrids adorn central streets and squares.

Orange trees adorn streets and courtyards in Spain

Orange is an unusual plant for a number of characteristics. It is considered a long-liver and lives more than 75 years.

Table: Botanical Classification of Orange


What are interesting trees and fruits

This tall tree with a compact dense crown of round or pyramidal shape reaches a height of 10-12 m. It is characterized by remontance, it grows up to 50 cm per year. There are also low varieties:

  • dwarf forms grow up to 5 m;
  • compact indoor trees that look like a bush with glossy foliage grow up to 0.8–1.0 m. Exceptional specimens that are more than 10 years old are two-meter high.

The roots of the hybrid are superficial and have caps at the ends with colonies of mushrooms instead of root hairs to absorb nutrients and moisture. The symbiosis of the plant and fungi is called mycorrhiza and favorably affects the yield of citrus, since the mycelium increases the absorbing surface of the roots through which mineral compounds and water are absorbed. This feature of the root system requires artificial irrigation.

At the ends of the roots of the orange are cases with colonies of mushrooms to absorb nutrients and moisture.

On the branches there are thorns and thorns up to 10 cm long. The leaves of an orange tree live for 2 years, therefore last year's leaves, which serve to accumulate nutrients, and young ones involved in photosynthesis can simultaneously be on the same plant. Mostly old leaves fall in February - March. A dark green citrus leaf is leathery, dense, oval with a sharp tip, has a size of 10 × 15 cm and has a serrated or solid wavy edge. The glands of an orange leaf plate contain aromatic oils. Petioles have small winged appendages.

Harvest of oranges largely depends on the foliage of the plant. If for some reason the orange tree has lost its foliage, next year it will not bear fruit.


The fruits of an orange are called hesperidium (a kind of berry-like fruit) or orange. Fruits ripen from 7 to 12 months, depending on the variety. They are small and large, with a strong aroma or delicate, barely noticeable. Mature fruits weigh from 100 to 250 g, and sometimes reach 600 g. Oranges have a round or wide oval shape, similar in structure to berries. They are multi-seeded and seedless, have a sweet and sour taste, sometimes with a specific bitterness.

Orange is a fruit and a berry at the same time.

The fruits contain:

  • essential oil - up to 2%;
  • sugar - 9%;
  • vitamins - 68%.

The fruit pulp is multi-nested, covered with a film and consists of 9–13 lobules separated by a partition. Fragrant juice is about 40% of the total volume of the fetus. The inner part consists of large juicy cells in the form of juice sacs that can be easily separated from each other.

The porous surface of the orange - the peel - is from 20 to 40% of the total mass of the fruit and has a thickness of about 5 mm. It is bright orange in color, sometimes with a reddish or yellowish tinge, depending on the variety. The surface of the peel - zest - has a sharp ethereal aroma. The white spongy layer inside the peel is called albedo and is easily detached from the peel. Each lobule contains 1-2 seeds located one above the other.

Inside, an orange consists of three layers: peel, albedo and pitted pulp

Fleur d'Orange - elegant orange flower

For the first time, young plants bloom and bear fruit in the 3rd year of life. A snow-white basket with a large golden pestle in the middle, collected in a bunch of inflorescences at the ends of the shoots, exuding a delicate aroma with notes of jasmine - this is an orange flower.

Typically, tropical hybrid flowers are collected in brushes of 6-8 pieces, less often - single. An orange blooms at a temperature of 16-18 degrees: in the south of Russia, this is the beginning - mid-May, some varieties bloom in early June. In Spain and Turkey, an orange tree blooms in mid-March, and in Cyprus in March or April.

Orange flower exudes a delicate aroma

With a sharp fluctuation in the temperature background in any direction, sensitive flowers showered. A blossoming flower is bisexual. He does not live long (no more than 5 days) and exudes a delicate, pleasant aroma. The inflorescence grows up to 5 cm in diameter when fully blossomed. On it are white-milk, sometimes with a pinkish tinge, fleshy petals (5 pieces) oval, tapering to the end.

Surrounded by many yellow, very pubescent stamens, in the center is a single long pestle. The flower does not fully open and the pistil remains surrounded by perianth - underdeveloped petals. Varieties without pestles are found; they do not require pollination and produce fruits without seeds.

In French, “orange blossom” sounds like “fleur d'orange”.

The attractive essential oil of orange flowers has a wide range of cosmetic properties and has a healing effect on the skin and hair. It is also called "Neroli" in honor of the Italian Princess Neroli, who first began to use the essential oil of orange flowers for cosmetic purposes.

Neroli is an orange blossom oil that is used in cosmetology

Snow-white orange flowers were used in the Middle Ages in Europe as a traditional bride’s wreath decoration.

Where oranges grow in Russia

The subtropical plant was formed in a humid, warm climate, which is due to its continuous vegetative growth. Hybrids of this species are thermophilic and occupy an intermediate place in frost resistance among other citruses, at the same time they are quite heat-resistant and are successfully cultivated at temperatures up to +45 ° С.

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Humidity, temperature and soil composition for vegetation and fruiting of oranges are ideal on the shores of the Mediterranean, in Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey. This variety of citrus fruits is also cultivated in Algeria, Iran, USA, Brazil. Climatic conditions in Sicily, in India, Spain and Portugal allow you to feast on oranges and grow them for export.

Video: how oranges grow and blossom

In open ground conditions, moisture-demanding and photophilous oranges can be grown only in a limited territory of the subtropical regions of our country. At the same time, ripe fruits remain on the branches for a long time, experiencing frosts, turn green again in the spring, and turn yellow again in the fall.

In coastal Sochi

The first frost-resistant varieties appeared back in the 60s (for example, the first-born variety). The most famous varieties of the Krasnodar Territory:

  • Sochi,
  • Firstborn.

In the XXI century, in the breeding research institute of floriculture and subtropical cultures of Sochi using Chinese and European plants, they were able to breed varietal orange hybrids that survive in winter without shelter and bear fruit well (for example, Washington Navel).

In Sochi, oranges grow in the open ground

Plants prepared for local climatic conditions were obtained using budding (a method of grafting fruit plants with a single bud with a thin layer of wood taken from a cultivated cuttings). Vaccinations are done on pontrus bushes - this is a crop from the genus citrus. Such plants require shelter at sharp drops in temperature only in the first year of life. Many years of experience in Sochi gardeners confirms that it is possible to grow oranges in Sochi even in summer cottages in open ground. To do this, use the trench method:

  1. Seedlings of the first years are planted in trenches 1 m deep.

    The trench method of cultivation is suitable for other citrus fruits, in addition to orange

  2. When the first frosts occur, they are covered with glass frames on top.
  3. After the arrival of winter, young plants are covered with thick mats.

For 3-year-olds and older oranges, only sudden frosts are scary, which are quite likely in recent years. In this case, only young plants die, and only the ground part of the hybrid.

In greenhouses, this variety of citrus is grown safely.

In the hot Abkhazia

The climate of Abkhazia is perfect for growing many tropical fruits, including oranges. They do not require shelter for the winter, and sufficient humidity and steady hot weather contribute to the rapid and friendly ripening of fruits. Citrus fruits ripen here in January.

In winter, I especially want vitamins, and ripe oranges from Abkhazia will come in handy

The best varieties of oranges grown on the Black Sea coast of Abkhazia:

  • Washington Pointed
  • Firstborn
  • Gamlin,
  • The best Sukhumi.

Features of growing oranges

The main method of propagating oranges is vaccination on stocks. First plant a bone, for this:

  1. Bones taken from ripe oranges are washed and sown in the prepared soil under the film.
  2. When the sprouts appear, the polyethylene is removed and a container with young oranges is placed on a light windowsill.

    After the first sprouts appear, the orange is placed in a lighted place

  3. With the advent of a pair of true leaves, plants dive in separate containers.
  4. Seedlings are timely watered and fed. In the summer, they are kept in the air.

From plants planted with seeds, you can get a crop only for the 8-10th year, and sometimes only after 15 years. Therefore, wild seedlings grown from stone are grafted with cuttings of varietal oranges aged 2-3 years to ensure effective fruiting. Vaccinated specimens enter fruiting on the 2nd – 3rd year.

Seedlings grown from seed must be grafted with cuttings of varietal oranges

Video: how to grow an orange from a stone

They start planting orange trees when warm weather sets in with average daily rates not lower than + 12 ° С. Planting scheme for orange seedlings:

  1. Dig a trench 1-1.5 m wide, in which a recess is made at least 100-150 cm.

    The trench for planting an orange must be at least 1 m wide

  2. A fertile soil layer (about 40 cm) is poured into the ditch and trampled a little.
  3. The hole is filled with half-fertile humus.
  4. The tree is installed in the hole without deepening the root neck (it remains 2–3 cm above the surface).
  5. The remaining basal space is filled with peat mixed with fertile soil.
  6. An irrigation furrow with a depth of 15–20 cm is formed on the surface at a distance of 30 cm from the tree. When planting, at least 20-30 liters of warm water are poured under the seedling.
  7. The soil of the upper layers is enriched with ripe humus and mulched with pine bark or sawdust.
  8. A polycarbonate dome is installed above the trench. It will serve as protection against cold winds and spring frosts. In summer, the protection is removed, in the fall (in September) - again installed.

    A frame is installed above the trench on which a polycarbonate dome is attached in the cold season

  9. In winter, the trench is covered with wooden shields and covered with a layer of earth (40-50 cm).

It is necessary to moisten the soil of the orange stem as the surface dries, but not less than 7-10 days later.

During the growing season, an orange tree necessarily requires regular top dressing with organic and mineral fertilizers. At least 3 times for the entire seasonal growth period, the orange is fed with potassium-phosphorus and nitrogen fertilizers for fruit trees, calculating the rate of feeding, depending on the age of the plant.

After 2 years of life, oranges need pruning. In this case, a crown is formed in 3-4 skeletal shoots, branches of the 2nd and 3rd order are shortened by 20–25 cm.

When pruning an orange, ideally you need to get four first-order shoots (indicated by 1 in the figure)

Varieties of oranges and their features

Oranges differ in the type of fruit and the ripening time of the crop. The early and late varieties of hybrids grown under natural conditions differ from the varieties of oranges with the corresponding ripening dates, intended for greenhouses and frame breeding. The fruits of oranges are:

  • oval and round;
  • with red pulp and orange;
  • sweet, sour and bitter;
  • with an outgrowth above the fetus - the navel - and without it.

The most famous varieties of oranges in our country and abroad are presented in the table.

Table: The most famous varieties of oranges

Grade nameRipening periodFruit DescriptionOther characteristics
Washington PointedEarlyThe pulp is orange with a slight acidityFit

for home breeding

NavelinaEarlyThe pulp is bright orange, sweet, the skin is thinUmbilical grade
Kara-KaraMid earlyThe flesh is orange-ruby, sweet and fragrant
SantinaLateFine-skinned, sweet, with a pronounced citron aroma
FirstbornEarly ripeOval bright orange fruits with yellow sweet and sour flesh, contain seedsDomestic grade
SalustianaLateFruits with a pronounced citrus aroma and an oily flavor. SeedlessGrown in Brazil and Morocco

Photo gallery: some varieties of oranges

Washington Navel orange variety can be grown at home

The Navelin orange variety is large enough, with a characteristic navel

Salustian Orange Seedless

Indoor oranges: varieties and characteristics

Varieties of indoor oranges are not too large, mostly dwarf hybrids. They are characterized by continuous fruiting.

Pavlovsky is one of the best domestic varieties for home cultivation with dark green dense leaves and medium-sized yellow fruits. It grows no more than a meter, bears fruit annually starting from the 2nd year. Propagated by cuttings, quickly rooted, resistant to disease, photophilous.

Pavlovsky orange variety is resistant to disease

Gamlin is a small tree with a round, slightly flattened crown and round orange fruits without seeds. The fruits ripen in November - December. This variety is easy to grow from seed. Gamlin - cold-resistant, precocious, has a delicate, juicy, yellowish-orange pulp and thin skin.

Gamlin orange can be grown both at home and on the site

The Trovita variety is considered the most suitable for home conditions. The fruits on it ripen in the spring and can remain on the branches for a month. Oranges grow small (7 cm in diameter), but sweet and juicy.

Trovita orange produces many fruits

It was necessary to grow an orange tree from seeds on the southern window, avoiding airing and drafts. Shoots appeared a month later, and for another whole week it was interesting to watch how the first glossy leaf of “homemade orange” unfolds. It was necessary to water a small sprout every 3 days, as it happened in January, when home heating immediately dries the air. Since the young orange stood on a curtained, dull window, the soil dried instantly. To maintain humidity, sprayed with a spray every other day. But at the same time she made sure that the earth didn’t barred (this often happens due to high humidity, lack of air circulation and constant heat).

My “young orange” grew to three leaves and began to turn yellow. Urgently had to be watered with top dressing for non-blooming domestic plants. Every month until the summer, I poured yeast over the orange and treated it with special chemicals from midges and mold. I didn’t carry out any illumination.

The plant developed, but, apparently, due to increased air dryness and lack of light, the orange grew into a small bush about 40 cm high and began to drop foliage. Perhaps, special feeding was required. It is possible that when transplanting into a pot of a larger diameter, the plant could be saved. Orange lived on my window for only six months and conceived.

Everyone tried a fragrant exotic fruit, but few dare to get a beautiful orange tree in a flower shop. Practice shows that oranges are the most unpretentious among the many varieties of citrus fruits and the most suitable for frame growing at home. The round-sided juicy “foreigner” on our table is not just a delicious dessert reminiscent of the New Year's celebration, but also an incredibly useful product and pantry of vitamin C.


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