Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Citrus aurantium L., Sp. Pl. 782. 1753; Hook. f., Fl. Brit. India 1: 515. 1875, excl. var. 3, bergamia; Swingle in Citrus Ind. 1: 375. 1967. C. madraspatana Hort. ex Tanaka in J. Indian Bot. Soc. 16: 238. 1937.

Asm.: Chakla-tenga, Dewa-tenga. Karun-jamir, Tita-karuna; Hindi: Khatta; Kan.: Herlay; Kh.: Soh-thang; Tam.: Kitchili Narengam, Narattai; Tel.: Mallika narangi. The sour orange.

Small trees. Leaves unifoliolate; petioles ca 2 cm long, winged; wings spathulate to oblong-obovate, ca 15 mm broad; leaflets ovate or ovate-elliptic, cuneate or rounded at base, tapering at apex with emarginate tip, undulate or slightly crenulate along margins. Inflorescences axillary, few-flowered. Flowers bisexual and staminate. Sepals 4 or 5, deltoid, acute, ciliate along margins. Petals oblong, attenuate at apex, coriaceous, glandular, pure white. Stamens 22 - 27, polyadelphous or, 1 or 2 sometimes free; filaments white; anthers oblong, ca 3 mm long, yellow. Ovary barrel-shaped; style cylindric, white; stigma capitate. Fruits subglobose or oblate, depressed at base and apex, 4 - 8 cm across, rather rough, surface pitted, deep orange to scarlet red; pericarp closely adherent; mesocarp white, scanty, fibrous; endocarp segments 9 - 12; pulp-vesicles orange coloured with scanty or abundant sour juice; seeds numerous, ovoid, smooth end rugose, chalazal and red; cotyledons white.

Distrib. Probably a native of S. China and Indochina. Frequently cultivated in India, perhaps becoming naturalized in Assam.

Notes. Fruits are esteemed for their medicinal properties and increasingly used in the preparation of confections, marmalades, liquors and other soft drinks. The fruit juice, although bitterly sour, is medicinal due to the presence of provitamin A and vitamin B1. The outer peel of fruits is medicinal and also a flavouring agent. Fresh flowers yield two high quality fragrant oils. Known commercially as oil of Neroli Bigarade and orange flower water. Oil of petit grain is another product obtained by steam-distillation of leaves and young shoots.

Wood is hard and used in cabinet works. The seedling is used as a rootstock for grafting sweet oranges and lemons.

The seville or sour oranges in India are known to have a number of varieties and forms, some of them with a supposed hybrid origin.


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