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History Of Citrus
The pleasant nature of lemon trees and fruits was noted by many ancient travelers, although the fruit of lemon trees did not develop as an important food, the fragrance of all parts of lemon trees, including flowers and fruit, were desirable room perfumers and believed to repel insects.
Citrus native trees and shrubs were thought to have originated naturally in Europe and the Middle East, but historians today believe that the ancestor of citrus trees, Citrus medica L., was brought from India to Greece, Turkey, by Alexander the Great. and North Africa in the late 4th century BC. The oldest citrus is called ‘citrus’.
Paintings on the walls of the Egyptian temple at Karnak provide ancient indications that lemon trees were growing there. There are other suggestions that citrus trees may have been familiar to the Jews during the Babylonian exile and slavery in the 6th century BC. Although speculation suggests that citrus trees were known and grown by the Hebrews, there is no direct mention of citrus in the Bible.
The first recording in European history of the citrus, Citrus medica L., was made by Theophrastus in 350 BC, after Alexander the Great introduced the fruit.
In early European history, writers wrote of the Persian lemon, that it had a wonderful aroma and was believed to be a remedy for poisoning, sweetening the breath, and warding off moths.
Citrus was well known by the ancient cultures of the Greeks and later the Romans. A beautiful ceramic tile was discovered in the ruins of Pompeii after the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroyed the city in AD 79. Another mosaic tile in the ruins of a Roman villa at Carthage in North Africa, dating to the 2nd century AD, clearly shows citrus fruit and lemon fruits growing on the branches of a tree.
A pre-300 AD Christian tile mosaic of both oranges and lemons was shown in lime-yellow and orange surrounded by bright green leaves and freshly cut tree branches; The remains can still be seen in the mosques that once housed the church of Emperor Constantine in Istanbul, Turkey.
It is not known how, where or when today’s exceptional varieties of citrus trees such as the sweet orange, lemon, kumquat, lime, grapefruit or pumelo developed, but there seems to be a general consensus of opinion. Citrus development and improvement were achieved through natural and artificial selection and natural evolution. It is well known that the Romans cultivated the sour orange, Citrus aurantium L. and was familiar with the lemon tree, Citrus limon. After the barbarian invasions and the fall of Rome to the Muslims, Arab states rapidly spread naturally improving varieties of citrus fruit and trees to North Africa, Spain, and Syria. Propagation of sour orange, Citrus aurantium L. And the growth and cultivation of lemons, citrus, lemons, lemons, grew worldwide by planting seeds, creating lemon trees similar to native trees. The conquests of the Arab Crusades later spread the cultivation and growing of citrus throughout Europe.
The sweet orange, Citrus sinensis, appeared in the late 1400s, around the time of Christopher Columbus, who discovered America. After the trade route was closed when the Turks, centered in Constantinople (Istanbul), defeated the Eastern Roman Empire in 1453, many European monarchs began to look for alternative, trade, sea routes to trade with China and India by ship. The introduction of the sweet orange tree to Europe changed the importance of citrus fruits in the world. The voyage of the Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, in 1498 reported that there were many orange trees in India and that all the fruits had a sweet taste. A new sweet orange variety known as the “Portugal Orange” led to a dramatic increase in citrus cultivation, as did the introduction of the “Washington Naval Orange” tree in California.
The lemon, Citrus latifolia, was first mentioned in European history by Sir Thomas Herbert in his book Travels, who reported growing “oranges, lemons and limes” on the island of Mozambique in the mid-1600s. Lemon trees are available in many varieties today.
In 1707, Spanish expeditions were growing oranges, figs, fruit trees, pomegranates, peaches, apricots, apples, pear trees, mulberries, pecans, and other trees, according to horticultural documents.
The mandarin orange, Citrus reticulata, was described in Chinese chronicles in the late 1100s, but was unknown in Europe until it was brought to England from the Mandarin province of China in 1805, where it spread rapidly throughout Europe.
Pumello, Citrus grandis, also called shaddock, and ‘Adam’s apple’ were growing in Palestine in the early 1200s and were planted and cultivated by the Arabs. Pumelo is believed to be of Asian origin and was cultivated as a seed in the New World.
The grape, Citrus paradisi, is believed to have originated as a mutation from the pumelo tree. Grapes were so named because they grew in bunches like grapes, but were considered inedible by most gardeners until an excellent seedling grape, the Duncan Grapefruit, was discovered in 1892; The original tree is still alive and growing in Florida.
Christopher Columbus brought the citrus plant to the island of Haiti in 1493. It is believed that he brought citrus seeds for planting and growing sour orange, sweet orange, citrus, lemon, lime and pumelo fruits. Records show that these citrus trees were established in the American colonies in 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida, and coastal South Carolina.
William Bartram noted in his famous botanical book Travels in 1773 that Henry Lawrence of Charleston, South Carolina, who served as president of the Continental Congress, introduced “olives, lemons, ginger, evergreen strawberries, red raspberries, and blue grapes.” After 1755 in the colonies of the United States.
William Bartram, in his book Travels, states that near Savannah, Georgia, “it is interesting to note that in the late 1790s, some oranges were being cultivated on the coast, and that year about 3000 gallons of orange juice were exported.”
Many of these wild orange groves were seen by the early American explorer, William Bartram, while traveling down the St. Johns River in Florida in 1773, according to his book Travels. Bartram mistakenly thought these orange trees were native to Florida; However, they were founded centuries ago by Spanish explorers.
The citrus industry began to develop rapidly in 1821 when the Spanish ceded their territory and many of its orange groves to the United States. Great work had been done with improved varieties in groves of wild orange trees, and residents traveling to Florida learned how refreshing orange juice was; Thus began shipments of oranges, grapes, lemons, and limes by rail and ship to Philadelphia and New York in the 1880s.
Mosambi was widely cultivated in California by Spanish missionaries; However, with the boom of the Gold Rush of 1849, the commercial industry began to grow, and efforts to supply citrus fruits to miners in San Francisco were successful. The completion of the transcontinental railroad further boosted the citrus industry, as citrus could be shipped more quickly to eastern markets. Later refrigeration improvements helped to increase the growth and cultivation of citrus throughout the world in 1889, primarily oranges, lemons, and limes.
Florida first dominated citrus production in the United States, but due to some devastating freezes in 1894 and 1899, Satsuma orange trees were virtually wiped out in the Gulf states. Thousands of acres of satsuma orange trees in Alabama, Texas, and Louisiana were wiped out in the hard freeze of 1916; Thus United States citrus production began to migrate from Florida to California.
Citrus is marketed worldwide as a beneficial health fruit with vitamin C and numerous other vitamins and minerals in orange and citrus products such as lemon marmalade, fresh fruit, and frozen and hot-packed citrus juices.
Copyright 2006 Patrick Malcolm
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