History

The sweet orange is not a wild fruit, having arisen in domestication from a cross between a non-pure mandarin orange and a hybrid pomelo that had a substantial mandarin component. Since its chloroplast DNA is that of pomelo, it was likely the hybrid pomelo, perhaps a BC1 pomelo backcross, that was the maternal parent of the first orange. Based on genomic analysis, the relative proportions of the ancestral species in the sweet orange is approximately 42% pomelo and 58% mandarin.

All varieties of the sweet orange descend from this original cross, differing only by mutations selected for during agricultural propagation. Sweet oranges have a distinct origin from the bitter orange, which arose independently, perhaps in the wild, from a cross between pure mandarin and pomelo parents. The earliest mention of the sweet orange in Chinese literature dates from 314 B.C. Source

Orange

(Citrus x sinensis)

Oranges are among the world’s most popular fruits. Also called sweet oranges, they grow on orange trees (Citrus x sinensis) and belong to a large group of fruits known as citrus fruits. Their true origin is a mystery, but the cultivation of oranges is thought to have started in eastern Asia thousands of years ago. Oranges are a healthy source of fiber, vitamin C, thiamine, folate, and antioxidants. They have multiple health benefits.

Latin Name

Botanical Family

Eastern Asia

Native Region

Used Part

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Citrus x sinensis

Rutaceae

Fruit

Research and Benefits

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