USA Newspapers Official Florida State Flower

 

Orange Blossom

(Citrus sinensis)
Adopted on November 15, 1909.

 

The orange blossom, Citrus sinensis,  was designated State Flower by Concurrent Resolution November 15, 1909 Legislature. It is one of the most fragant flowers in Florida. Millions of these white flowers perfume the atmosphere throughout central and south Florida during orange blossom time.

 

 

The sweet orange, like most citrus, is native to subtropical Southeast Asia. The Arabians were the first people to mention citrus in their writings, and our word for this fruit is derived from their Sanskirt name. The Moors brought these plants to Spain, where they were used medicinally and in religious services. Although the bitter orange (Citrus aurantium) reached Europe by the 1000s, the sweet orange did not arrive in India until 1330, and was planted in Versailles in 1421. Columbus transported oranges to South America in 1493, and by 1587 Cuba was covered with these beautiful trees. It was the Spanish Missionaries who brought this highly prized fruit to California, establishing the first orange groves in the 1700s. 

  • Leaf: The leaves are shiny and leathery, oblong to elliptic, up to 4" long, and have narrow wings on their petioles (leaf stems).
  • Flower: Orange blossoms are white, very fragrant, and arranged in clusters of 1-6. They bloom in spring and give rise to oranges the following autumn or winter. Last year's oranges often are still on the trees when the new flowers are blooming.
  • Fruit: A large, round multiple of drupes that is 4 to 5 inches in diameter. The fruit is roundish, golden-yellow or tawny, and several-celled, with a fleshy, juicy pulp; the seeds white and several. The cysts in the rind are convex (L.). The fruit has a very distinctive citrus smell.
  • Twig: The twigs on many orange cultivars are thorny.
  • Bark: Bark of a greenish-brown color, having axillary spines on the branches.
  • Form: The sweet orange is a compact evergreen tree 20-30' tall with a rounded, symmetrical crown spreading 15-20' or so. 
Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom Plantae -- Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta -- Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta -- Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida -- Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae –
Order Sapindales –
Family Rutaceae – Rue family
Genus Citrus L. – citrus
Species Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck – sweet orange
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