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Any of several species of small trees or shrubs in the genus Citrus of the rue (or citrus) family and their fruits. Grown in tropical and subtropical regions, the nearly round fruits have leathery, oily rinds and edible, juicy inner flesh rich in vitamin C. Key commercial species include the China (sweet, or common) orange; the mandarin orange (including tangerines); and seedless navel oranges. The tree has broad, glossy, medium-size evergreen leaves, leafstalks with narrow wings, and very fragrant flowers. It bears fruit abundantly for 50–80 years. Oranges do not improve in quality off the tree, so they are picked when fully ripe. A sizeable portion of the U.S. crop is processed for frozen concentrated juice. By-products include essential oils, pectin, candied peel, orange marmalade, and stock feed.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on orange, visit Britannica.com.