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Get to Know Florida's State Flower - The Orange Blossom



The blossom of the orange tree (Citrus sinensis) is one of the most fragrant flowers in Florida. Millions of these white flowers perfume the atmosphere throughout central and south Florida during orange blossom time. The orange blossom was selected as the state flower by the 1909 legislature.


The orange fruit is an important agricultural product, used for both the juicy fruit pulp and the aromatic peel (rind). Orange blossoms (the flowers) are used in several different ways, as are the leaves and wood of the tree.


Flowers

  • The orange blossom, which is the state flower of Florida, is highly fragrant and traditionally associated with good fortune. It has long been popular in bridal bouquets and head wreaths.

  • Orange blossom essence is an important component in the making of perfume.

  • Orange blossom petals can also be made into a delicately citrus-scented version of rosewater, known as "orange blossom water" or "orange flower water". It is a common ingredient in French and Middle Eastern cuisines, especially in desserts and baked goods. In some Middle Eastern countries, drops of orange flower water are added to disguise the unpleasant taste of hard water drawn from wells or stored in qullahs (traditional Egyptian water pitchers made of porous clay). In the United States, orange flower water is used to make orange blossom scones and marshmallows.

  • In Spain, fallen blossoms are dried and used to make orange tea.

  • Orange blossom honey (or citrus honey) is obtained by putting beehives in the citrus groves while trees bloom. By this method, bees also pollinate seeded citrus varieties. This type of honey has an orangey taste and is highly prized.

Leaves

  • Orange leaves can be boiled to make orange tea.

Wood

  • Orangewood sticks are used as cuticle pushers in manicures and pedicures, and as spudgers for manipulating slender electronic wires.

  • Orangewood is used in the same way as mesquite, oak, and hickory for seasoning grilled meat.

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