Updated: Mar 23

There are many species and hybrids of Citrus trees that are commonly named as Orange trees, due to their fruit being described as an Orange. It comes under the family Rutaceae. There are two main types of oranges- sweet and bitter. The scientific name of sweet orange is Citrus X sinensis and the scientific name of bitter orange is Citrus aurantium. The orange is a hybrid between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and mandarin (Citrus reticulata).

Orange trees originated in the southeast Himalayan foothills of Asia and were transported to the Middle East, north Africa and the Mediterranean in the 10th and 11th centuries. These were sour oranges (Citrus aurantium); it was approximately 500 years later when sweet oranges were first recorded in Italy in 1471. Orange seeds were carried to the Americas and planted in Hispaniola, now Haiti, in 1493 and in Florida between 1535 and 1565.

Table of Contents

Height (Avg)

16 to 50 feet (5 to 15 meters)

Width (Avg)

25 to 30 feet at its widest point.

Approximate pH


Types of Oranges

  • Sweet orange

  • Bitter orange

Sweet orange varieties

Sweet orange is divided into four classes, each with distinct characteristics:

1. Common orange: There are many varieties of common orange and it is widely grown. The most common varieties of common oranges are the Valencia, Hart’s Tardiff Valencia, and the Hamlin, but there are dozens of other types.

2. Blood or pigmented orange: The blood orange consists of two types: the light blood orange and the deep blood orange. Blood oranges are a natural mutation of C. sinensis. High amounts of anthocyanin give the entire fruit its deep red hue. In the blood orange category, varieties of orange fruit include: Maltese, Moro, Sanguinelli, Scarlet Navel, and Tarocco.

3. Navel orange: The navel orange is of great commercial import and we know it well as the most common orange sold at the grocers. Of the navels, the most common types are the Cara cara, Bahia, Dream navel, Late Navel, and Washington or California Navel.

4. Acid-less orange: Acid-less oranges have very little acid, hence little flavor. Acid-less oranges are early season fruit and are also called “sweet” oranges. They contain very little acid, which protects against spoilage, thus rendering them unfit for juicing. They are not generally cultivated in large quantities.

Bitter orange varieties

1. Seville orange (C. aurantium), which is used as rootstock for the sweet orange tree and in the making of marmalade.

2. Bergamot orange (C. bergamia Risso) is grown primarily in Italy for its peel, which in turn is used in perfumes and also to flavor Earl Grey tea.

3. Trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata) is sometimes included here and is also used as rootstock for sweet orange trees. Trifoliate oranges bear downy fruit and are used to make marmalade as well. They are native to northern China and Korea.

List of plants known as orange

Orange identifies various species of trees, some with edible fruit and some not. Citrus sinensis includes many of the cultivated oranges used for their fruit, the common supermarket orange. Other species called oranges include:

  • Aegle marmelos, Japanese bitter orange

  • Citrus × sinensis, sweet oranges, Valencia oranges, Navel oranges, and blood oranges

  • Citrus ampullacea, flask-shaped orange

  • Citrus aurantium, bitter orange, Seville orange, Indian lemon

  • Citrus bergamia, bergamot orange

  • Citrus bigaradia, bigarade orange

  • Citrus clementina, clementine orange

  • Citrus indica, Indian wild orange

  • Citrus leiocarpa, koji orange, smooth-fruited orange

  • Citrus medioglobosa, naruto orange

  • Citrus micrantha, small-flowered bitter orange

  • Citrus myrtifolia, myrtle-leafed orange

  • Citrus natsudaidai, Japanese summer orange

  • Citrus nobilis, mandarin orange

  • Citrus pyriformis, pear-shaped orange

  • Citrus reticulata, mandarin orange

  • Citrus suavissima, pleasant orange

  • Citrus succosa, sappy orange

  • Citrus suhuiensis, suhui orange

  • Poncirus trifoliata, Chinese bitter orange

  • Maclura pomifera, Osage orange

  • Strychnos spinosa, monkey orange

Health Benefits of Eating Orange

  • Cardiovascular Benefits

  • Contains Antioxidants, which fight Cancer

  • Improves Digestion

  • Reduces Blood Pressure

  • Promotes Skin Health

  • Potential Anti-Diabetic action

Planting an orange tree

In mild climates, you can grow the orange tree directly in the ground if the weather permits it: it shouldn’t freeze in winter. If it does freeze, you’ll have to grow your orange tree in a pot so that you can bring it indoors when the temperature drops.

  • The trunk can survive a cold spell as cold as 15°F (-9°C). Leaves, however, show signs of damage when it’s colder than 26°F (-3°).

  • The orange tree will go dormant between 32° and 50°F (0 to 10°C).

Interestingly, you should know that the orange tree also doesn’t like it when the temperature gets too hot. Over 95°F (35°C), it again goes dormant. Last tip: avoid windy areas because branches are brittle and will break easily, especially when heavy with fruit.

Care of an Orange Tree

Water: Water needed for growing orange trees varies by climate and yearly rainfall totals, but as a rule of thumb, orange tree care involves regular watering in spring to prevent wilting and withholding of irrigation in fall. When taking care of an orange tree, remember that water lowers the solid content of the fruit. Depth of planting also affects how much water you provide during orange tree care. Growing orange trees usually need between 1 and 1 ½ inches (2.5-4 cm.) of water per week.

Fertilization: Fertilization of growing orange trees depends on the use of the fruit. Extra nitrogen fertilizer results in more oil in the peel. Potassium fertilizer decreases oil in the peel. For high productivity of edible oranges, 1 to 2 pounds (0.5-1 kg.) of nitrogen should be applied yearly to each tree. Fertilizer should include potassium and phosphorus as well as a range of micro-nutrients. If your older orange tree does not produce fruit in abundance, take a soil test of the area where growing orange trees reside to determine what fertilizer ratio is needed. Additional fertilization is often applied by spraying the leaves of the tree once or twice a year.

Pruning: Pruning the orange tree for shape is not necessary. However, you should remove any branches that are a foot (31 cm.) or less from the ground. In addition, remove damaged or dying branches once they are noticed.

Orange Tree Diseases and Pests

Orange trees can be heavily affected by insects (mainly aphids) and also by fungal, bacterial and virus diseases.

Aphids (mainly Aphis spiraecola) are small flies that are fed with the underside of leaves, often resulting in the curl of citrus leaves. This by itself is not a great damage, because the yield of a citrus tree is generally not greatly affected by the curling of leaves. However, aphids can also transmit the tristeza virus. Aphids mainly affect young trees with soft leaves, and their population rapidly decreases as the tree matures and the leaves harden.

Major bacterial diseases of citrus

Pseudomonas syringae (Blast): It affects leaves, shoots and fruits. Black spots appear on the petiole and they expand rapidly. A common symptom is that leaves curl or turn black and die, while black spots may also appear on the fruit. After consulting a licensed agronomist, farmers often use a copper fungicide.

Xanthomonas citri: It causes citrus canker. The most common symptom is spots that appear on leaves and fruits. Infected trees suffer from defoliation and premature fruit fall. The pathogen affects young leaves, tender shoots and young fruit. Unfortunately, it can be quickly spread from infected areas of the tree to non-infected areas through rainwater, resulting in the premature fall of leaves and fruits.

Major fungal diseases of citrus

Thielaviopsis basicola: It causes Black Root Rot. Black spots appear on the roots, which may finally turn entirely black.

Penicillium digitatum: It causes Green Rot or Mould. The fruit rots, shrinks and finally collapses.

Diaporthe citri: It causes Melanose. Small dark spots appear in leaves, young stems and fruits. The pathogen causes premature leaf fall and fruit rot.


The orange fruit is an important agricultural product, used for both the juicy fruit pulp and the aromatic peel (rind). Orange blossoms (the flowers) are used in several different ways, as are the leaves and wood of the tree.


  • The orange blossom, which is the state flower of Florida, is highly fragrant and traditionally associated with good fortune. It has long been popular in bridal bouquets and head wreaths.

  • Orange blossom essence is an important component in the making of perfume.

  • Orange blossom petals can also be made into a delicately citrus-scented counterpart to rosewater, known as "orange blossom water" or "orange flower water". It is a common ingredient in French and Middle Eastern cuisines, especially in desserts and baked goods. In some Middle Eastern countries, drops of orange flower water are added to disguise the unpleasant taste of hard water drawn from wells or stored in qullahs (traditional Egyptian water pitchers made of porous clay). In the United States, orange flower water is used to make orange blossom scones and marshmallows.

  • In Spain, fallen blossoms are dried and used to make orange tea.

  • Orange blossom honey (or citrus honey) is obtained by putting beehives in the citrus groves while trees bloom. By this method, bees also pollinate seeded citrus varieties. This type of honey has an orangey taste and is highly prized.


  • Orange leaves can be boiled to make orange juice.


  • Orangewood sticks are used as cuticle pushers in manicures and pedicures, and as spudgers for manipulating slender electronic wires.

  • Orangewood is used in the same way as mesquite, oak, and hickory for seasoning grilled meat.

Chemical composition

Orange fruit and leaf both are reported to contain indole alkaloids including N,N-DMT.

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