Botanist's Glossary

Orange Tree - Citrus sinensis

  • Description
    • The sweet orange tree (Rutaceae family) is an evergreen shrub that grows to a height of 4 to 5 meters. It has ovate leaves and small, white, very fragrant flowers. The sweet orange is one of the most common winter fruits and is a variety that originated in ancient Southern China, from the bitter orange. It was spread by the Arabs at the end of the Middle Ages and does not appear to have been known in France before the 15th century. Orange trees are very sensitive to the cold, and although they are acclimatized in the French Riviera, they are greatly outnumbered by their relative - the bitter orange.
  • Traditions
    • The benefits of the orange, which has become a very common fruit, no longer need to be proved (Vitamins A and C, sugars, etc.). Orange blossom water is a byproduct (the hydrolat: the aqueous distillate that remains after steam distillation) obtained when the floral essence is extracted. It has long been reputed as a sedative and is used to help children sleep. It is also a popular cooking ingredient (in cakes, drinks, etc.) in Southern Europe and Northern Africa.
  • Properties
    • Sweet orange peel extract has toning properties. It may be combined with a pulp extract, rich in AHA fruit acids and polysaccharides, with hydrating properties. The essential oil, obtained by cold pressing the peel, is used for its energizing properties and its fresh and invigorating scent.