Why Is Orange Considered A Fruit?

We all love oranges, and we all love fruits. No matter if you don’t like oranges, you will be a fan of orange juice. If you are not a big admirer of one type of orange fruit, you might be in love with another. Oranges are one of the most admired and consumed fruit worldwide.

Orange, which belongs to the citrus family, has a consumption of around 2.19 gallons per capita only in the U.S. We can imagine how much oranges are consumed worldwide.

However, many people wonder if an orange is a fruit or vegetable. Well, the answer will be surprising enough for you. But the common perception about oranges is that they are fruits.

Therefore, the next argument is why orange is considered a fruit.

In this article, we will talk about oranges, why oranges are considered a fruit, the history of oranges, how oranges fit fruit definition, the types of oranges, and the taxonomy of oranges.

So let’s get into it and explore the world of oranges.

History Of Orange

Let’s start with the history of oranges.

Are oranges the fruit of heaven? Humans came first or oranges? Did the orange color come first, or orange fruit?

So if we talk about the origin of oranges, it is not a wild fruit but instead a hybrid one. Sweet oranges that are abundantly found were a cross between a non-pure mandarin orange and a hybrid pomelo.

According to the genomic analysis, the hybrid orange had 42% pomelo specie, and 58% was mandarin.

It is also important to note that all types of sweet oranges we love have been descended from the cross between mandarin and pomelo.

If we talk about the earliest mention of orange, Chinese literature reports about sweet oranges at around 314 B.C.

In European history, bitter orange was the first one introduced to them. The large-scale production of oranges started in the 10th century in Europe. Sweet oranges were introduced to European people not earlier than the 15th century.

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The timeline for the introduction of sweet oranges to American nations is almost the same as that of Europe. The Spanish travelers brought it during the second voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1493.

Different Types Of Oranges

We won’t dive deep into all species and types of oranges. However, let’s quickly look at the popular one with the country name where commercial cultivation is done.

  1. Bahia –Brazil and Uruguay
  2. Bali –Indonesia
  3. Berna –Spain
  4. Bionda –North Africa, Egypt, Greece
  5. Belladonna –Italy
  6. Carvalhal –Portugal
  7. Castellana –Spain
  8. Cherry Orange –China, Japan
  9. Charmute –Brazil
  10. Clanor –South Africa
  11. Fukuhara –Japan
  12. Jaffa orange –Middle East
  13. Kehttmali –Lebanon, Israel
  14. Kona –Hawaii
  15. Lima –Brazil
  16. Joppa –Texas, South Africa
  17. Malta –Pakistan
  18. Maltaise ovale –South Africa, California
  19. Marrs –Texas, California, Iran
  20. Midsweet –Florida
  21. Medan –Indonesia
  22. Moro Tarocco –Italy
  23. Pineapple –America and India
  24. Premier –South Africa
  25. Pera Coroa –Brazil
  26. Queen –South Africa
  27. Sathgudi –Tamil Nadu
  28. Verna –Morroco, Algeria, Spain, Mexico
  29. Tomango –South Africa
  30. Vicieda –Algeria, Spain, Morroco
  31. Xa Doai Orange –Vietnam

Taxonomy Of Oranges

So we already know that oranges belong to the genus Citrus and are usually interfertile. Be it grapefruit, orange, lime, or lemon, the interfertility of the citrus genus results in several hybrids and cultivars.

However, here is the surprise about the oranges. It is commonly believed that oranges are a fruit with fleshy inside bodies and seeds. However, the reality is that oranges are actually a kind of modified berry.

The citrus family is considered a hesperidium, a berry covered by a rind resulting from the thickening of the ovary wall.

The scientific name of the orange is Citrus Sinensis, which characterizes the sweet orange. If we talk about the plant, it is an evergreen flowering tree. On average, an orange tree can grow up to 30 to 33 feet.

The size and shape of sweet orange can vary from round to oblong. There are usually numerous carpels in an orange that are around 10 or more.

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If we talk about the cultivation conditions of oranges, citrus fruits are non-climacteric. Usually, fully ripe fruit can usually be anywhere between bright orange and yellow-orange. However, the fruit might remain entirely green if climate conditions are warm.

Botanical And Culinary Definition Of Fruit

Let’s first look at the botanical and culinary definitions of a fruit.

According to botany,

Fruit can be defined as an ovary that is ripened and matured along with all its contents. It is the edible reproductive body of seed-bearing plants. Fruits are usually pulpy and sweet.

According to the culinary definition of fruits,

The sweet or non-sweet tasting produce of specific plants is called fruits.

The culinary definition of a berry is as follows:

A small, pulpy, edible fruit that is juicy, usually round, has bright colors, and tastes sour or tart is called a berry. A berry doesn’t have a pit or stone. Instead, berries contain numerous seeds or pips.

Is Orange A Fruit?

Whether orange is a fruit or not, there is no doubt that orange is a fruit. However, it is important to note that orange is a berry, which itself is a type of fruit. So next time you are asked about the status of oranges, your answer should be that orange is indeed a fruit, but its further segregation is that of a berry.

Reasons Why Is Orange Considered A Fruit

Here are the main reasons why orange is considered a fruit.

Fleshy Inside

We already discussed the definition of a fruit which states fruits have a pulpy or fleshy inside. If we look at all types and species of oranges, we will find fleshy and pulpy carpels inside the outer covering of the oranges.

Therefore, the first reason we call oranges a fruit is their fleshy appearance.


The botanical definition of fruits states that they contain seeds and are the reproductive part of a seed-bearing plant.

If we look at the oranges, they contain numerous seeds in each carpel inside the fruit. Therefore, it is safe to say that bearing seeds is also one reason for oranges being treated as fruits.

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Produced From Ovary

Fruits are the ripened ovaries of plants that also contain seeds that are further used for reproductive processes.

If we look at the taxonomy of different oranges, they are ripened and mature ovaries of orange trees and contain all the ovary content inside them. The tasty and nutritious oranges rich in Vitamin C are produced from ovaries and, therefore, called fruit.

Satisfies Definition

One reason why to consider a specie fruit or vegetable is the botanical and culinary definition of the terms.

We have stated both definitions in the previous sections. If we look at the definitions and then compare the description of orange fruit, it is obvious that oranges meet culinary and botanical definitions of fruits.

Therefore, we consider oranges as fruits.

What Came First? Orange or Orange Color

Well, if we look back at history, it is obvious that the fruit came first before the color was named. Orange comes from the Sanskrit word Naranga, and it is also mentioned in Arabic and Persian vocabulary.

The color orange was specifically described in English after the 15th century when sweet oranges were introduced to European and American markets.

If we look at the description of the English word orange, it came from a French word used for citrus fruit, pome d’orenge.

Therefore, it is easy to say that the orange color is not the first to come, but it works the other way around.


We have discussed everything about oranges, from their history to taxonomy. We have also covered the main topic of why oranges are considered fruits.

We hope you would have got answers to all questions regarding oranges, their types, varieties, description, and history of orange color.