Orange trees are not native to the Hawaiian Islands as one might think. They were in fact, a gift, brought to a Kona chief in the late 1700s. A ship’s logbook from that time period records the captain’s delivery. It notes “some vines and orange plants” along with other unnamed plants and seeds being left on Kona. The ship had sailed from Tahiti, lending to the theory that Hawaii’s orange trees originated there.
Growing conditions in Hawaii are close to ideal for citrus crops. The loose, moist soil is rich in minerals. When combined with the bright sunshine, it makes it a perfect location for oranges, lemons, limes and such.
With trees averaging around 25 feet tall, orange trees are easy to maintain. They can be found in most backyards of the islands. Leathery green leaves provide a sharp contrast to the bright white blossoms. Bees and pollinators are drawn in by the dozens by the heavy fragrance along with most people. The smell of an orange tree in bloom is a most magical experience.
Consumed primarily as fresh fruit or juice, oranges are one of the most recognizable fruits in the world. Orange juice is second only to coffee as a morning or breakfast drink. Orange flavored anything is one of the top choices in candies, sodas, and desserts. It is used in preserves and jams and other confectionary delights.
Improved bone health, reduced inflammation, and boosted weight loss are just a few of the things that consuming oranges can help with. New studies are showing that there is progress being made with prostate problems and kidney stone reduction as well as the fight against high cholesterol.
Flavonoids in the peel of the orange are also said to have some arthritis and cancer-fighting properties. More studies are being done on their effectiveness.
We mentioned the alluring scent of orange blossoms above, but there is evidence that the scent of the orange fruit is also beneficial. Smelling this delicious fruit can help boost your mood as well as calm your anxiety.
Oranges, lemons, and other citrus have long been used for their antibacterial properties. The essential oil derived from oranges is used for cleaning and scenting soaps, perfumes, and lotions. It has also been found to be toxic to many insects such as ants and flies. Any citrus oil should be used with caution in skin preparations as they can be photosensitizing or phototoxic. Serious burns can occur due to sunlight mixing with the oils on your skin.