Skip links

Facts about Oranges for Kids


An orange—specifically, the sweet orange—is the citrus Citrus × ​sinensis and its fruit. It was the most commonly grown tree fruit in the world (as of 1987). The orange is a hybrid of ancient cultivated origin, possibly between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and mandarin.

  • Orange trees are widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates for the sweet fruit, which is peeled or cut (to avoid the bitter rind) and eaten whole, or processed to extract orange juice, and for the fragrant peel.
  • In 2008, 68.5 million tons of oranges were grown worldwide, primarily in Brazil and the US states California and Florida.
  • The fruit of Citrus sinensis is called sweet orange to distinguish it from Citrus aurantium, the bitter orange.
  • The name is thought to derive ultimately from the Sanskrit for the orange tree, with its final form developing after passing through numerous intermediate languages.
  • The name “orange” applies primarily to the sweet orange, Citrus sinensis, which accounts for about 70% of world citrus production.
  • In some cultivars the mandarin resembles the sweet orange and is difficult to distinguish from it, but it is generally smaller and/or oblate rather than round in shape, easier to peel, and less acid.
  • It is often used as rootstock for sweet orange trees, especially as a hybrid with other Citrus cultivars.
  • The trifoliate orange is a thorny shrub or small tree grown primarily for its foliage and flowers, or as a barrier hedge; however, it bears a downy fruit resembling a small citrus fruit, from which marmalade is sometimes made.
  • It is a late-season fruit, and therefore a popular variety when the navel oranges are out of season.
  • It thrives in humid subtropical climates and is for that reason found primarily in Florida and Brazil; cooler, more arid climates (such as California) produce edible fruit, but the size is too small for commercial use.
  • On pineland and hammock soil it is budded on sour orange which gives a high solids content.
  • Hamlin (worldwide) Homosassa (Florida) Jaffa orange, also known as Shamouti Jincheng – the most popular orange in China.
  • In 1888, Lue cross-pollinated the “Harts late” Valencia and “Mediterranean Sweet” orange varieties, which produced a fruit both sweet and frost-tolerant.
  • It is still grown because it is the earliest maturing fruit in the United States; it usually matures in early September in the Valley district of Texas, and from early October to January in Florida.
  • Because the mutation left the fruit seedless, and therefore sterile, the only means available to cultivate more of this new variety is to graft cuttings onto other varieties of citrus tree.
  • Cara cara navels Cara cara oranges are a type of navel orange grown primarily in Venezuela, South Africa, and California’s San Joaquin Valley.
  • Some were grown on sweet orange or rough lemon rootstock, but these are poor choices.