Oranges are a fruit we are all familiar with. They are great sources of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium.
But, have you ever stopped and thought, “do oranges have seeds?”. Well, the history behind oranges and the fruit’s origins may surprise you.
Oranges are one of those food items that we take for granted.
They are always in grocery stores and supermarkets and help make up that delicious orange juice that is sitting in your refrigerator right now.
But, oranges have not always existed in the form they are now. An orange is actually the result of two citrus fruits – the mandarin, and the pomelo.
So much so, in fact, that the mandarin is responsible for around 75% of an orange’s genetic material, and pomelo contributing up to 25%.
Quick fun fact: Did you also know that oranges are not always orange?
Well, in some climates, they retain their green color, even when ripe due to a retention of chlorophyll.
So, that leads us to the main question – do oranges have seeds or are they seedless?
In today’s post, we will be taking a look at the different types of oranges, and whether they are seeded or seedless.
What Oranges Contain Seeds?
There is no definitive answer to whether oranges have seeds or not. This is because some do and some don’t.
In nature, there are two types of oranges – those that are seedless and those that have seeds.
An example of seedless orange is the Navel, whilst those with seeds include Hamlins, tangerines, blood oranges, and Valencias.
As you can probably guess, Valencia oranges originated in Valencia, Spain.
Here, they grow in large numbers but it has become more challenging to come across these oranges in stores over recent years because of the growing popularity of Navel oranges.
In the U.S., very few farmer’s markets sell Valencia oranges, but they remain popular in many regions of India and Africa.
So, why are Navel oranges seedless?
This is mainly down to the fact that the flowers from which the orange fruit is developed can not be pollinated.
This is because the anthers do not produce any pollen.
Although most species of oranges produce seeds, they are quite different in terms of taste and texture from the seedless kind.
For instance, Mandarin oranges are small and much sweeter than most types of oranges.
Therefore, they are not considered suitable for juicing and are better for snacking on.
How To Propagate Seedless Oranges?
Since seedless oranges contain no seeds, you may be wondering how they can be planted and propagated.
When it comes to Navel oranges, they are cut and grafted.
Grafting is a horticultural technique that joins different parts of one or two or more plants in order for them to grow as if they are one, singular plant.
Small Navel orange tree branches are cut before being grafted or planted onto another orange tree.
Because of this technique, every Navel orange you come across comes from a single tree in Brazil.
Commercially grown throughout the U.S., Brazil, and China, over 65% of Navel oranges are produced in these countries.
Since the fruit was first discovered in the 19th century, Navel orange production has increased rapidly, meaning they are thriving more than ever before.
The cultivation of seedless oranges increased rapidly during the 1800s.
This was due to the increasing popularity of the fruits with people all over the country.
This resulted in many thousands of acres of cattle grazing land being transformed into orange groves throughout Florida and California.
In the last three decades of the 1800s, Los Angeles grew from a population of just 6,000 residents to a staggering 120,000.
Therefore, the need for more food was greater than ever. This included, of course, fruit.
Seedless oranges became more popular than ever, thanks to LA’s very own Luther Tibbets.
He is regarded as the first man to successfully cultivate seedless Navel oranges and transformed the orange industry into the booming market it has been ever since.
Seedless Oranges: Genetically Modified Or Not?
Seedless oranges, such as the Navel, are not genetically modified to be seedless.
The fruit was first discovered thanks to a natural mutation in the Laranja Selecta orange tree.
Although seedless fruits are rare, they can be found under special circumstances.
Nonetheless, the majority of seedless fruits available today were engineered in a laboratory, and are not the result of a natural mutation like Navel oranges.
Other Seedless Oranges
As well as the Navel orange, the Californian Valencia orange is another seedless variety of orange.
Unlike the original Valencia orange, this Californian fruit was cross-bred over one hundred years ago by an American agronomist.
Whilst traditional Valencia oranges contain a few seeds, they are never seedless.
The Californian Valencia orange may not be as easy to peel as its Navel counterpart, or as sweet, but it is still considered a very juicy and tasty seedless fruit.
Therefore, it is ideal for puréeing or juicing. Another species of seedless orange is the Jaffa.
Commercially available, this fruit was first cultivated around the same time as the original Valencia orange.
The Jaffa orange was originally cultivated and made popular in Jaffa, Palestine, the city it is named after.
The Jaffa orange tends to have a thicker rind than the Navel variety and is much harder to peel.
Furthermore, it does not contain as much flesh to be consumed.
As for the Jaffa orange’s taste, it is typically more subtle in flavor than its Navel or Valencia counterparts, but is still quite sweet.
Jaffa oranges are unsuitable when it comes to juicing or puréeing, even though they are seedless.
This is one of the reasons why the fruit is not as popular as Navel or Valencia oranges.
Can You Eat Orange Seeds?
Orange seeds are a fantastic source of fiber, which aids digestion and can give your cells an energy boost.
Antioxidants are also found in orange seeds, which help extend your cell’s lifespans.
Sometimes, orange seeds are pressed so the lipids within them are extracted.
Known as an essential oil, this fluid is used as a flavoring in desserts and even in perfumes worldwide.
Tea can also be made from orange seeds and orange peel. Many believe that this kind of tea is beneficial for your cell’s energy.
Can Orange Seeds Germinate?
Under the right conditions, orange seeds can indeed germinate or sprout on their own.
Got some orange seeds at home? You can try growing a little orange tree yourself with seeds from the store!
It’s important to note, though, that the germination results can vary, depending on the conditions the fruit is grown in.
Another significant factor in whether the orange seeds will sprout is whether the parent fruit was cross-bred or cloned in the first place.
If so, the germination results can be wholly unpredictable.
Because Navel orange trees are seedless, you can not plant your own using one you have bought at the store.
But, it is possible to grow one by cutting off a branch of a Navel tree.
Even then, however, you’ll need to grow the tree in an environment that is catered to orange growth.
Check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to find the best areas to grow certain plants.
The best spots are hardiness zones 9, 10, and 11, which are found in the southern half of the United States, near the coast.
This is where the weather is typically sunnier and warmer, which is ideal for supporting an orange tree’s growth.
The best time to plant a Navel orange tree is around early to mid-Spring.
Therefore, it can grow through Springtime and Summer (the hottest months).
Once the plant has reached its mature stage, it can grow up to 30 feet tall!
And, the fruits themselves can even be as big as 4.5 inches in diameter.
Orange trees come in all shapes and sizes.
Some can even reach 50 feet in height, but, one thing all oranges have in common is that they are loved for their juicy flesh.
Whether you enjoy them as a snack or make them into juice, oranges are a wonderful health food, with the seedless variety growing in popularity.
To sum up – some oranges are seedless, but the majority contain seeds.
Seedless types of oranges exist naturally due to mutations in the Laranja Selecta orange tree.
Named after its resemblance to a human’s navel, the Navel orange is the most popular seedless orange commercially sold in the world.
Try it for yourself and let us know what you think of the Navel orange!