What are Orange Blossoms?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Orange blossoms are the flowers of the orange tree, also known as Citrus sinensis. These incredibly aromatic flowers have had an important cultural significance in many communities around the world for centuries, and they are also used in the preparation of some foods. Many florists sell these blossoms when they are in season, and various food products like orange blossom honey can often be purchased in various markets and specialty stores.

Beehives are often established near orange groves to create orange blossom honey.
Beehives are often established near orange groves to create orange blossom honey.

The flowers of the orange tree are pure white, with five slightly fleshy petals and an intoxicating smell. They grow in clusters which stand out starkly against the lush greenery of the orange tree, and when left on the tree, they will develop into oranges, popular food fruits which are consumed around the world.

The scent of orange blossoms is often used in incense.
The scent of orange blossoms is often used in incense.

In many cultures, orange blossoms symbolize good fortune, and they are often used in ceremonies like weddings. Brides around the world have historically worn orange blossom wreaths or carried these blossoms in their bouquets, and in the Victorian era, brides also used fake ones in their weddings, sometimes passing on their artificial bouquets and wreaths to their children. These flowers have also traditionally been used in the coffins of young women and girls in some regions of the world, symbolizing purity.

Orange blossoms develop into oranges.
Orange blossoms develop into oranges.

These aromatic flowers are also used to create perfumes and incense, and in the Middle East they are distilled to make orange water, a popular fragrant water which is used in the preparation of food. Orange water is often used in the preparation of baklava, for example, lending a rich orangey scent and flavor to the food. In regions where oranges grow, some beekeepers take advantage of rich orange blossom nectar by parking their beehives in orange groves. The blooms may also be candied for use in sweets, or dried and used in tea blends and herbal tisanes.

If you have ever been around oranges in bloom, you are probably already familiar with the heady scent of orange blossoms. This scent is so distinctive that orange blossoms were named the state flower of Florida in 1909, commemorating the “land of flowers” with a flower everyone would know and have positive associations with.

Orange blossoms cover orange trees before the fruit develops.
Orange blossoms cover orange trees before the fruit develops.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon292674

@anon72292: Perhaps because nights often have less wind, the fragrance is more noticeable?

anon267578

I need the info on moisture needs.

anon72292

Why do orange blossoms smell more at night than during the day?

anon59309

what time of the year are there orange blossoms in florida?

anon41933

I am looking for Orange Blossoms - where can I find them?

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