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These grow on members of the Rutaceae family - trees and shrubs found in warm parts of the world, particularly South-East Asia. The most popular varieties are grapefuit, lemon, lime, orange and tangarine; but there are many variants and science has produced many hybrids. They are all rich in vitamin C.
Most strains of citrus tree have been produced by budding and grafting rather than by cross-pollination, as trees growing from seed take about 15 years before they bear fruit, and tey are thorny. Budded trees have practically no thorns and start bearing fruit after 5 years.
Most Florida orange trees have lemon-tree roots, and almost all Californian lemon trees have orange-tree roots. One citrus tree, in fact, can with a botanist"s help have lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, kumquats and grapefruit growing on its branches at the same time.
While only 2% of Spain"s oranges are Valencias, almost all California oranges and half of Florida"s are of this variety.
About 85% of Florida"s juicy orange crop today is processed, more than two-thirds into concentrate. Many connoisseurs say that oranges grown from Sour Orange root-stocks taste better than oranges from Rough Lemon rootstocks, which are less susceptable to virus diseases and produce faster-growing oranges. The critics blame the swing to Rough Lemon rootstocks on the burgeoning of orange concentrate. See "Citrus Red No. 2"; "Citrus Wax"; "Clementine"; "Cross-pollination and root-grafting"; "Grapefruit"; "Kumquat"; "Lemon"; "Orange"; "Ortanique"; "Tangerine"; "Ugli"
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