Imágenes de páginas

Citrus aurantium,


Citrus aurantium,








Cay Cam,


Derivations. The specific name, aurantium, is derived from the Latin aurum, gold, from the colour of the fruit of this tree;
and, for the same reason, the English name, orange, is derived from the French word, or, gold. The Spanish, Italian, and Por-
Luguese appellations are derived from the Arabic, narunj, or more remotely from the Sanscrit, nagrungan, the name of this

Engravings. Risso et Poiteau, Histoire Naturelle des Orangers ; Poiteau et Turpin, Traité des Arbres fruitiers de Du Hamel; Audubon, Birds of America; Catesby, Natural History of Carolina ; and the figures below. Specific characters. Calyx, quinquefid. Petals white, oblong, and 5 in number. Antheræ, 20-androus, with their filaments grown together, so as to form various pencils. Fruit, a 9 to 12-celled berry, globose, or flattened at the ends, with a thin or rough golden-yellow, or tawny rind, and a sweet, or bittersour pulp. Petioles, winged, sometimes nearly naked. Leaves, oval-oblong, elliptical, acute, or acutecrenulate.


“Kennst du das Land? wo die Citronen blühn,
Im dunkeln laub die Gold-Orangen glühn,
Ein sanfter Wind vom blauen Himmel weht,
Die Myrte still und hoch der Lorber steht."



HE Citrus auran-M

tium, under fa-
vourable circum-

stances, usually attains a height of twenty-five or thirty feet, and is graceful in all its parts. The trunk is upright, and branches into a regular or symmetrical head. The bark of the twigs is of a soft and almost translucent green, while that of the trunk and older branches is of a delicate ash-gray. The leaves are moderately large, beautifully shaped, of a fine healthy green, and shining on the upper sides, while the under sides have a slight appearance of down. The flowers occur in little clusters on the sides of the branches, are pleasing in their form, of a delicate white in the sweet oranges, and in the more acid varieties slightly tinged with pink. In some plants, they have a more powerful odour, and are, for the moment, more rich; but, in the orange-grove,


there is a fragrance in the aroma which never satiates nor offends; and, as the tree is at one and the same time in all stages of its bearing-in flower, in fruit just set, and in golden fruit, inviting the “hand to pull and the palate to taste," -it is hardly possible to conceive or imagine any object more delightful. There is something, too, peculiar in the organization of the fruit of this tree. Its rind, or external covering, is of a spongy texture, containing but little juice or sap of any kind in its substance; but the external surface is covered, or tuberculated with iittle glands, which secrete an acrid, volatile oil, very inflammable, and of a strong, pungent taste. The interior of the fruit is usually divided into from nine to twelve carpels or cells, which contain the pulp, seeds, and juice, and are united by a whitish pellicle or leathery skin, radiating from the centre to the rind, and may easily be separated without wasting the juice. The seeds are solitary or several, and are attached to the inner angle of the carpel, and in some varieties, are entirely wanting.

Varieties. The varieties or races of the orange have been greatly multiplied ; but whether from the proneness to change from some original differences in the species, or from difference of soil and climate, it is difficult to determine. It was the opinion of Galesio, who described forty principal kinds, as cultivated in Italy, that they were all derived from the common orange, although some are more acid, and others more bitter in their flavour. The most important varieties may be described as follows:

1. C. A. UMBILICATA. Navel Golden-fruited Orange-tree; Oranger nombrü. of the French; Nubel Orangenbaum, of the Germans; Melarancio umbilico, of the Italians; Naranjo ombligo, of the Spaniards ; Laranjeira embiga, of the Portuguese and Brazilians. This variety is a curious lusus naturæ, differing from the common orange by having, near the crown, and in some instances, quite outside of the pulp, at the end opposite the stem, an excrescence resembling a small orange when the rind is removed, into which is drawn all the superfluous or objectionable portion of the fruit, leaving the legitimate production free from impurities, and rendering it the most delicious and agreeable of its kind. The fruit is usually round, or slightly oblong, rather larger than that of the common orange, with a rind of about the same colour, surface, and thickness. The pulp is of a yellowish colour, of a delicious flavour, and better filled with juice than oranges generally in the torrid zone. It is chiefly cultivated in the neighbourhood of Bahia, in Brazil, where it is thought to be one of the greatest prodigies of the vegetable kingdom. The author of the present work claims the honour of first introducing this variety into the United States. He brought sey. eral trees from Brazil, in 1835, and caused them to be planted on the estate of the late Z. Kingsley, on Drayton Island, Lake George, East Florida, where they are believed still to exist.

2. C. A. SINENSIS. Chinese Golden-fruited Orange-tree, with ovate-oblong leaves; round, smooth, and rather flattened fruit, which is much esteemed, and is called by the Portuguese, Laranja da Xina ; by the French, Orange douce; and Porto-gallo or Poma de Sino, by the Italians.

3. C. A. PYRIFORMIS. Pear-shaped Golden-fruited Orange-tree. This variety may be known by its elliptical, acute leaves, and large, top-shaped fruit. It is one of the most hardy kinds, and is well worthy of cultivation.

4. C. A. SANGUINEA. Blood-red-pulped Golden-fruited Orange-tree, distinguished by its ovate-oblong pellucid leaves, and medium-sized, round, rough, and reddish-yellow fruit, with a pulp irregularly mottled with crimson. The Arancio di sugo rosso of the Sicilians, is a sub-variety of it, who call the true blood-red variety, Arancio di Malta sanguigno. There is another sub-variety with small fruit, growing about Nice, called by the Italians, Arancio a foglio stretta.

5. C. A. CORTIDULCICULA. Sweet-skinned Golden-fruited Orange; Pomme

d'Adam, or forbidden fruit of the shops of Paris. This variety may be known by its broad, taper-pointed leaves, roundish, rather ovate, heavy fruit, and a deepyellow, smooth, thick, sweet, soft rind. Its pulp is sub-acid, and pleasant, of a deep-yellow colour, and is soft and melting in the mouth, like the flesh of a clingstone peach.

6. C. A. NOBILIS. Far-famed Golden-fruited, or Mandarin Orange-tree, with flattened, rough, deep-orange-coloured fruit, and a thin rind, which separates spontaneously from the pulp. It is cultivated in China, where the fruit is chiefly consumed in presents to the officers of state, whence its name. Its singularity consists in the rind so completely separating from the pulp, when quite ripe, that the latter may be shaken about within. In quality it is inferior to no other kind.

7. C. A. ASPERMA. Seedless Golden-fruited, or Saint Michael's Orange-tree, known by its small, round, seedless fruit, with a thin rind, and extremely sweet pulp. When in a state of perfection, it is, perhaps, the most delicious of all the varieties, and by far the most productive.

8. C. A. BIGARADIA. Bigarade or Bitter Golden-fruited Orange-tree. The branches of this variety are spiny; leaves elliptical, acute, with a winged stalk; flowers very white; fruit medium-sized, uneven, more or less globose, with an acid and bitter pulp. This tree is somewhat smaller than those of the preceding varieties, having broader leaves, and larger and sweeter scented flowers. It is called bigaradier by the French, and melangolo by the Italians. There are several sub-varieties of it cultivated, principally on account of their flowers, among which, the following are deserving of notice :-1st. Melangolo a frutto cornuto of the Italians, or Horned-fruited Bigarade, with a large, pale-yellow, ribbed fruit, the sides of which project into horns. It is much esteemed on account of the powerful and delicious perfume of its flowers. 2nd. The Female Bigarade, with a deepyellow, large, coarse fruit, containing orange within orange, which latter circumstance is not at all uncommon in the genus citrus, but exists, in the present instance, in perhaps the most striking manner. An orange, in its natural state, consists of one whorl of carpels, which are consolidated into a round fruit, each lobe being a carpel. It sometimes happens, however, that two whorls of carpels combine to form the same fruit, in which case, the inner whorl is consolidated into a central orange, and the outer whorl grows over it. Or, it may happen, that three whorls of carpels constitute the fruit, in which case, the innermost whorl will combine into an orange in the centre; the second whorl will form a coating over it, and the most exterior one will enclose the whole. Finally, the carpels may separate wholly, or in part, and then the fruit consists of a number of lobes more or less distinct. 3rd. Curled-leaved Bigarade, called by the French gardeners, Le Bouquetier, and Bigaradier riche dépouillé ; and by the Italians, Melangolo riccio. The leaves of this sort are very compact, blunt, small, and curled, and its flowers grow in thick clusters at the ends of the branches. The fruit is coarse, very light, and uneven, having a large, conspicuous scar at the point. The tree itself is rather small, and is one of the most hardy of its race, being a common object of cultivation throughout the south of Europe. 4th. Double-flowered Bigarade, with rather thick leaves, double flowers, round, granulated fruit, and a thick rind. It is much esteemed on account of the profusion of fragrant double flowers it produces, which do not fall in pieces so quickly as the single ones. If the soil in which it grows is not kept in a very rich condition, it loses the property of producing double flowers. 5th. The Seville Bigarade, or Bitter Orange-tree; Naranjo amargo, Naranjo agrio, or Naranjo de Sevilla of the Spaniards, distinguished by its winged petioles, acute, crenulate, elliptical leaves, round, dark fruit, with an uneven, rugged, and extremely bitter pind, filled with a bitter, or bitter-sour pulp. It grows sponta

neously in East Florida, and on the Island of Cuba. 6th. Myrtle-leaved Bigarade, with small, very compact, ovate, sharp-pointed leaves, and small, round fruit. If well cultivated, it is generally both in flower and fruit at the same time. On this account, and its dwarfy habit, it is a very common object in houses and gardens. It is said to be employed by the Chinese gardeners as an edging of flower-beds, in the same manner as the dwarf box in Europe and America.*

Geography and History. The orange is believed to have been originally a native of the warmer parts of Asia, and has long since been acclimated to the shores of the Red and Mediterranean Seas, to the temperate and tropical isles of the oceans and seas, and to the warmer portions of Africa and America. It is especially cultivated with a view to profit, and abounds in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, northern Africa, and many of the islands adjacent to those countries; also in the Azores, Brazil, the island of Cuba, and East Florida.

At the time of the crusades for the recovery of Syria from the dominion of the Saracens, oranges were found abundant in that country. Though they were, in reality, cultivated trees, the beauty and excellence of their fruit, by the aid of romance and credulity, naturally led the infatuated adventurers to believe and state that they were indigenous, and formed a part of the glories of the “Holy Land." The fables of the profane writers, and the ambiguity of the descriptions of vegetables in Holy Writ, helped further to confirm this opinion. As the oranges were in the form of apples, and the colour of gold, it was easy to make them the “golden apples of the garden of the Hesperides ;” and the only point that remained to be settled, was to fix the locality of that enchanting and imaginary abode. The authority of Moses was brought into requisition to confirm the existence of the Syrian fruit, even at the time when the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness; and the boughs of the “goodly trees” borne in the procession commanded in the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus, were considered no less than those of the orange. The mala medica of the Romans, which is mentioned by Virgil, and afterwards by Palladio and others; the kitron of the Greeks; and the citrus of Josephus, were all understood to mean the şame fruit. Although there was much written upon the subject, there was no attempt to examine the authorities with that minuteness which the search of truth demanded. This opinion prevailed until the XIXth century, when the history of this fruit was carefully investigated by Galesio. He maintains that the orange, instead of being found in the north of Africa, in Syria, or even in Media, whence the Romans must have obtained their “mala medica," was not in that part of India, watered by the Indus, at the time of Alexander the Great's expedition, as it is not mentioned by Nearchus, the commander of the fleet, among the fruits and productions of that country. It is not noticed either by Arrian, Diodorus, or by Pliny; and even so late as the year 1300, Pietro di Cuescenga, a senator of Bologna, who wrote on agriculture and vegetable productions, does not make the least mention of the orange.

The first distinct notice of this fruit on record, is by Avicenna, an Arabian phy. sician, who flourished in the Xth century. He not only describes oleum de citrangula, (oil of oranges, and oleum de citrangulorum seminibus, (oil of orangeseeds, but speaks of citric acid (acid of citrons.) According to Galesio, the Arabs, when they entered India, found the orange tribes there, further inland than Alexander had penetrated; and they brought them to Europe by two routes, the sweet ones through Persia to Syria, and thence to the shores of Italy and the south of France, and the bitter ones, by Arabia, Egypt, and the north of Africa, to Spain and Portugal.

[ocr errors]

It does not appear that the orange was of Chinese origin, as it is not mentioned by Marco Polo, who is so minute in describing all the other wonders of the “Celestial Empire.” It is said to have been found by the Portuguese upon the east coast of Africa; but it is not known whether it had been indigenous there, or disseminated by the Arabs. When the Portuguese reached India, in the early part of the XVIth century, they found the orange there, and also in China, which was then visited by them for the first time by sea.

At the Azores, nothing can exceed the rich luxuriance of the orange groves, from November to March, when the emerald tints of the unripe, and the golden hue of the mature fruit, mingle their beauties with the thick, dark foliage of the trees. Although the oranges of the Azores are among the best that are to be met with, they are not indigenous productions of those islands; but were introduced there by the Portuguese, as the same fruit was originally sent, by the Spaniards, to the West Indies, and the continent of America. In the midst of a forest, on the banks of the Cedeno, Baron Humboldt, in 1800, found wild orangetrees, laden with large and sweet fruit. These were probably not indigenous, however, but the remains of some old Indian plantations.

The orange plantations of the Azores are usually of large extent, always encircled by walls fifteen or twenty feet in height, and within thick' belts of other trees, to protect them from the breezes of the sea. The trees are commonly propagated by cuttings or layers, arriving, in seven years after planting, to good bearing, and in time, spread out with the majestic luxuriance of chesnut trees. Each tree, a few years after, upon an average, annually produces from twelve thousand to sixteen thousand oranges, and one instance is recorded of a single tree producing twenty-six thousand fruits in a year !

The amount of oranges and lemons usually exported from the Azores in a year, is upwards of one hundred and twenty thousand boxes, and seventy or eighty vessels are sometimes seen lying in the roads, waiting to take their cargoes. Besides these, a large quantity of the sweet lemon is cultivated, for home consumption, which are produced by grafting the sour lemon on the orange. This fruit is tasteless and vapid, though esteemed salutary and refreshing.

In Algarve in Portugal, and in Andalusia in Spain, there are trees of great size; and extensive orchards of oranges have formed the principal revenue of the monks for several centuries. In Cordova, the seat of Moorish grandeur and luxury, there are orange-trees still remaining, which are supposed to have been planted as early as the XIth century; and in the craggy mountains of that province, which are covered with gardens and vineyards, and forests abounding in fruit, the air is perfumed with the flowers of the orange, and carries back the imagination to the days of the Moorish poets and historians, when the land they conquered was adorned with all the refinements of their taste and intelligence, and the luxuries of the east were fully realized.

The orange is said to have been introduced into Portugal by Camoens. In apostrophizing on a little grove that waved upon an open casement, that poet was heard to say, “Yes, I have made a bower for the honey-bee, hung with golden lamps."

In France, the orange country is chiefly Provence, or that part which lies to the eastward of the Rhone; and plantations or groves of oranges are the most abundant, and the most beautiful, on the banks of the Var, and especially in the environs of Nice, where the varieties are very numerous, and come to great perfection. According to Risso, there was a tree in that neighbourhood, in 1789, which generally bore upwards of five thousand oranges, and was more than fifty feet in height, with a trunk so large that it required two men to embrace it. Here,

« AnteriorContinuar »