Orange is one of the best known trees in the world, due to the fact that its fruits, better known as oranges, have the particular characteristic of being remarkably widespread in the kitchens of the entire planet.

Orange is nothing more than a fruit tree that is part, like many other plants, of the large Rutaceae family.

It is a plant that can easily reach ten meters in height: as regards the leaves, it is important to underline that they have a typically elongated shape and are extremely fleshy.

Among the main characteristics of this fruit tree, we find evergreen shoots, with a typical color that in no case tends to reddish.

For lovers of curiosities, the period in which this fruit tree rests corresponds to only three months during the year: this explains the reason why the orange has the ability to provide for flowering and fruiting in the same period.


The orange plant is characterized by coming essentially from the Asian continent, or from two nations such as China and Japan, although nowadays it can be found with enormous ease in almost the entire Mediterranean basin, such as in Spain, for example. Italy and Greece.

Precisely in Italy, this fruit tree was brought by the Arabs and then the introduction took place by the merchants of Genoese origin, who had frequent contacts with the Asian coasts.

In particular, it seems that the orange has had a notable diffusion in the Italian peninsula in the period corresponding to the fourteenth century, especially in the region of Sicily, where for centuries the orange groves have been integrally part of the wonderful landscape that distinguishes those places.

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Currently, we can easily recognize orange as the most widespread citrus title in the whole planet, given that dozens and dozens of varieties of this fruit tree are cultivated.

Oranges are a typically winter fruit and, for this reason, the harvest begins during the month of November and an adult fruit tree can reach a production of 500 oranges in a year.

The edible part of oranges is represented by the endocarp, which is none other than the pulp, which is divided into various juicy wedges, while the peel is, in most cases, made up of a certain roughness.


Oranges are a good source of vitamins, since they contain C and A in particular, but they also contain a significant amount of vitamins that are part of the B group.

We must not forget how the daily intake of 2-3 oranges allows us to cover the daily requirement for vitamin C.

It is precisely due to the importance of vitamin C that oranges are very important in restoring enamel and luster to the immune system.

The consumption of a good number of oranges during the winter season can be a good way to avoid being affected by seasonal diseases, such as colds and flu.

Furthermore, the high presence of bioflavonoids also allows it to play an active and stimulating role in the reconstitution of the collagen that forms the connective tissue.

This explains the reason why oranges are also very useful for strengthening bones, teeth, tendons and ligaments.

In any case, the consumption of oranges can also be particularly suitable for combating a large number of diseases that are caused by problems affecting the circulatory system.

Orange: Use

Bitter oranges, which are distinguished from sweet oranges by different characteristics (obviously including the flavor of the pulp) are frequently used in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

As for oranges, referring to whole fruits, they are mainly used for making jams and candied fruit.

The peel of oranges, on the other hand, has the advantage of being exploited for the preparation of numerous compounds in liqueurs (especially bitters).

The pharmaceutical industry also exploits the properties and qualities of oranges, since the peel is used in particular, with which various digestives and tonics are made.

As for the peel of bitter oranges, especially due to the rather marked presence of synephrine, its use is particularly aimed at the food supplement industry.

The infusion of orange peel is particularly suitable due to its digestive and aperitif properties.

The decoction is also interesting, which can be obtained from one or more orange peels, by placing them inside a container of 100 ml of water: the main purpose is to carry out a beneficial action and aid in proper digestion, to the point that it also manages to reduce various pains that affect the stomach.

Orange in the garden, how to grow it

Unlike lemon, which can also be easily grown in pots throughout Northern Italy because it can withstand lower temperatures, orange is more sensitive to cold and, consequently, in Northern Italy it can be bred in pot only in the less cold areas, such as those of the large lakes and, of course, on the Ligurian Riviera and the upper Tyrrhenian coasts.

How orange is made

The Orange (Citrus sinensis) is an evergreen tree up to 10 m tall, with branched trunk in 3-4 main branches. THE branches have a thorn in the axil of the leaves. The leaves they are oval, oblong, leathery, dark green in color. THE flowers ("Zagare") are white, formed by 5 sepals and 5 petals. There flowering it varies from February-March to summer, as does the ripening of the fruit, from autumn to spring of the following year.

The fruit it is a berry called "hesperidium" with a thin orange skin, a spongy and white albedo, a pulp with segments separated by septa. Based on the pulp color we can distinguish blond oranges and red or blood oranges (pigmented). Based onripening period the fruits are also classified as early, medium and late.

The color of the peel of oranges, in addition to the varietal characteristics, is instead influenced by the soil, climate and cultivation conditions: in general, the basically heavy soils, preferably with a good amount of limestone, favor a more accentuated color of the skin, which will result in a beautiful bright orange.

Between blonde varieties of oranges we recommend Belladonna, Biondo Comune, Ovale Calabrese and Vanilla (if you like the aftertaste) among the cultivars red, Moro, common Sanguinello and Tarocco.

How to grow it

  • THE rootstocks the most common for orange arebitter orange (Citrus aurantium), on loose, sandy-loamy and slightly clayey soils, with good resistance to frost, for plants with moderate to high vigor Volkamerian lemon (C. volkameriana), on loose or sandy soils, with good resistance to frost, for large fruit, abundant but of modest quality.trifoliate orange(Citrus = Poncirus trifoliata), on medium-textured soils, not calcareous, resistant to freezing, with good production in terms of quantity and quality, perfect for growing in pots.
  • It lives in the open ground all year round only in Liguria, Campania, Calabria and Sicily. North in winter it goes grown in pots to be protected in a special greenhouse, called "orangery", equipped with movable glass that is removed during the summer. Can't stand the cold (winter minimum +5 ° C with dry land), it needs a mild and not very variable climate during the year. THE twenty persistent can cause serious damage. Hopefully you can expect adequate windbreak devices live (prickly pear, maritime pine, bamboo, etc.) or artificial (trellises, absorption nets, etc.).
  • It does not tolerate i soils very clayey or too calcareous. There position it must be sunny.
  • The best time for the plant it is the beginning of spring. The planting hole goes fertilized with manure or other organic fertilizer to which ammonium sulphate, mineral superphosphate and potassium sulphate are added. Keep the graft point above the ground. The plant distances must be at least 4 m in the row and between the rows.
  • Irrigation it is essential, otherwise the plants grow little, do not bloom, the small fruits fall or, if they develop, remain small: in the cultivation areas it begins at the beginning of May and lasts until the end of September-October.
  • There fertilization with organic substance it must be repeated every two-three years annually, a chemical fertilizer with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium must be supplied in autumn-winter.
  • There form of farming traditional is the globe with full crown, low deck at 20-30 cm above the graft starting from a plant already impaled at the base with 3-4 branches, inclined 60 ° with respect to the vertical, symmetrical and with insertion points approximately distant 10-15 cm from each other.
  • There pruning it is carried out in spring-summer every year. The relationship between vegetation and production must not be altered: excessive cuts favor the vegetation to the detriment of fruiting. We are limited to lighten the hair eliminating dry, broken or weakened branches after they have already bloomed or those curved down and yes they eliminate the numerous vertical shoots which develop vigorously and tend to take over the branches.
  • The graft crown is used on large diameter stems or branches, also to re-graft plants whose productivity has decreased or to change the cultivated variety.
  • It is grown in jar in central and northern Italy, to shelter him in a cold greenhouse or on the winter veranda. If grafted on trifoliate orange, the orange plant can live in a container with a minimum diameter of 32 cm per orange 60 cm high. Fertilization must be more abundant than in the open ground to obtain fruit.

Diseases and pests of the orange tree

  • Between the fungal diseases the most frightening are the dry sore, the gummy of the collar, the pedal rot and the rottenness of the roots, the wood decay, the brown rot that affects the fruit.
  • Among insects the citrus thrips, the flaky fly, the cottony-furrowed cochineal, the cotonello, the half-grain peppercorn cochineal and other types of cochineals, the orange blossom moth and the orange blossom celandine should be checked.
  • Parasitosis from mites, like the wonder mite, the rusty mite and the red spider mites.
  • Finally, a harmful one virosis recently imported is the tristeza.


It must be done when the fruits have reached a sufficient degree of ripeness, because the sweet oranges do not ripen after detachment from the plant. The harvest is carried out both from the ground and with ladders and the fruits, collected with the help of special ones scissors in order not to deprive them of the rosette, they are placed in plastic baskets.

There storage housewife can be carried out in cool, dry and dark environments for a variable time and in any case not exceeding two months.

Here is ours video tutorial on lemon pruning, which will also help you for the orange:

General characteristics of the melangolo - Bitter orange - Citrus aurantium

Bitter orange, scientific name Citrus aurantium, is an evergreen plant belonging to the family of Rutaceae native to the areas of Southeast Asia and particularly widespread in China.

It is a fruit tree that in full vegetative development and in pedoclimatic conditions suited to its needs reaches a height of up to 10 meters. particularly rolled up and a height that, in most cases, goes up to ten meters.

It has a robust and deep root system, an erect and variously branched trunk with smooth, gray-brown bark.

The foliage is evergreen, mostly with an expanded shape, similar to a large umbrella with branches,

especially the younger ones, with long sharp thorns.

The leaves of the bitter orange are fleshy, shiny, leathery, with an elliptical-lanceolate shape, smooth edge and slightly pointed apex. The upper page of the leaves is deep green while the lower one is pale green. The petiole is short and has large wings laterally.

THE flowers bitter orange similar to those of other citrus species, they have a corolla made up of 5 intensely scented white ligulate petals. Some flowers are hermaphroditic and contain both the female ovary with pistil and the male stamens, while others contain only the male stamens.

THE fruits they are globose but with slightly flattened poles. The peel is much more wrinkled than classic sweet oranges and when fully ripe it takes on a warm orange hue and an intense aroma due to the high content of essential oils. The fruits of the melangolo resist on the branches for months.

There pulp it has a decidedly bitter and acid taste and is divided into segments that can be easily separated from each other thanks to the thin hyaline skin that covers them. easily separable from each other.

THE seeds, enclosed within the wedges, are numerous, small and creamy-white in color.


The bitter orange tree blooms in the spring - summer period.

Where the orange is grown

It comes from China, but is now considered one of the typical fruits of the Mediterranean. In this area he has indeed found the climate that he likes: mild and without excessive temperature changes. Maybe a little too dry.

Before planting the sprig you have selected, therefore, make sure that the place is suitable for hosting the future tree. It must be a sheltered place from wind and direct sunlight, both in winter and in summer. Even because its roots they do not go very deep and may not withstand a strong current.

And always for the same reason, you'll have to make sure that when the temperature drops below 4 degrees, plant and soil around are well sheltered, coated with sheets and straw. They are trees that need a blanket, like many of us on the other hand.

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Variety of Citrus aurantium

There are several varieties of bitter orange that differ in size, leaf size, fruit size, resistance to cold and the absence of thorns on the branches.

Citrus Foliis variegatis

Known as bitter orange Variegato di Corsica, it is a variety that comes from Corsica characterized by having a thick, not very thorny crown made up of green leaves and yellow variegations along the edges. In spring it produces white and fragrant flowers.

The fruits, despite having medium-small size, are very decorative due to the presence of evident green streaks on the skin which, however, disappear as soon as it turns orange. This bitter orange has a high resistance to cold. The fruits of the variegated bitter orange are used to make excellent jams while the peels are candied. New specimens of this cultivar are obtained by grafting and cutting.

Citrus aurantium Bouquet de Fleurs

A cultivar with thick foliage made up of little thorny branches and rounded dark green leaves. It produces white flowers, simple or double, very fragrant and medium-small round fruits of orange color when ripe with aromatic peel of medium thickness. It blooms in spring and fruiting is in winter. Due to its low vigor it is suitable for growing in pots and in small gardens. has greater resistance to cold.

Citrus aurantium Seville

The Seville or Seville Bitter Orange is a tree native to southern Spain that is very vigorous and resistant to cold. It has a little thorny and very thick foliage with dark green leaves produces very fragrant flowers. The medium-sized fruits are globose with flattened apexes with bitter and acid pulp used to make bitter orange jams. This cultivar is easily cultivated even in gardens with colder climates, in fact it resists temperatures of -18 °, -20 ° and frosts.

Citrus myrtifolia

Known by the common name of Chinotto, Citrus myrtifolia is a citrus fruit about 3 meters high with a compact crown formed by branches without thorns covered with small leathery leaves, similar to those of myrtle, hence the specific term derived from the Latin. The flowers are small and white. The fruits, small and flattened at the poles, have a very bitter and acidic juice. Normally the fruits ripen in mid-June and persist on the branches for up to 2 years. The plant can stand the cold and is often grown in pots as an ornamental plant.

Today the bitter orange is grown as a fruit plant, as an ornamental in pots and in the garden and above all as the best rootstock for the reproduction of other citrus fruits.

The fruits are used instead in the confectionery industry to prepare jams and candied fruit. In liqueur, the peel is used for the production of bitter distillates and in the pharmaceutical industry for the preparation of digestive and tonic syrups.

In perfumery, the essential oil of bitter oranges is used to produce perfumes, detergents, soaps, while in aromatherapy, mixed with other oils, it is used for its excellent relaxing function.

A pleasant and refreshing essence, called Néroli, is also obtained from flowers.

Properties of bitter orange

The essential oil of the straw-yellow bitter orange also has beneficial properties for our health. In fact, it has disinfectant and anti-inflammatory properties. It tones the digestive system, the nervous system. It is indicated for insomnia, nervous exhaustion in the treatment of acne, dandruff and as an excellent adjuvant in slimming diets. It also increases the immune system and stimulates the regularity of the intestinal tract.


The bitter orange plant was imported to Sicily in the early years of the second millennium.

Citrus aurantium has various common names and is also known as pomarancio, strong orange and especially melangolo, the latter name of Genoese origin.