Believe It Or Not, Oranges Don't Actually Exist Naturally In Nature

You've probably seen an orange tree over a dozen times in your life — in person, on TV, or a Florida license plate — and never thought twice about it. Never considered how they're grown or how long it takes. By the way, Hunker claims it can take years for an orange tree to bear fruit from seed. It's a far cry from your standard flowering plant that takes fewer than 10 weeks to produce.

But what may come as even a bigger surprise is the fact that oranges don't exist naturally in nature. So if Adam was, in fact, the first human on earth, there probably weren't any orange trees in the Garden of Eden — unless he was a cross-pollination farmer on weekends. Unlikely. So the forbidden fruit that he and Eve disobediently chowed down on was likely not the sweet orange fruit that we eat today.

According to a 2012 study published in Nature Genetics, citrus fruits originated in Asia thousands of years ago, but the orange's exact genetic origin is unknown. However, some scientific sources believe that the sweet orange is a hybrid of two other fruits. 

Oranges are man-made fruits

The Citrus County Chronicle claims the sweet orange we know today is the result of cross-pollination between a pomelo fruit and a mandarin fruit. A 2012 study published in Nature Genetics suggests the possibility that sweet oranges have been around since 314 B.C., based on a reference to them in Chinese literature. @Weird Explorer provides a comical explanation of the hybridization process in his "Citrus Sex" YouTube video and states that "the orange is a natural hybrid between those two fruits."

Never heard of a pomelo fruit? That might be because it primarily grows in Asia and Malaysia, as the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction explains. Pomelos are about the size of a mini basketball and have light green or pale yellow skin and dark pink flesh, but Direct News claims the flesh can also be pale yellow, depending on the variety. Mandarins, on the other hand, you probably have heard of because you eat them. Halos, Cuties, etc. Those are all different brands of mandarins. You can find these cute, handheld, easy-to-peel fruits at practically any grocery store that sells fresh produce. 

So now you know something new. Oranges don't exist naturally in nature. They're the manmade result of the cross-pollination between the pomelo and the mandarin, a hybridization that initially occurred thousands of years ago. Sort of makes you look at citrus fruit a little differently, doesn't it?