Plant World

Flowers and Unusual Plants

How did the navel orange originate?

It is very big! Found only on the Amazon River, this water lily has leaves that can reach up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) in diameter. In a single season, a plant will produce 40 to 50 leaves. The leaves are very buoyant, capable of supporting the weight of a small child. Mature leaves may be able to support 100 pounds (45 kilograms) if evenly distributed on the leaf. The flowers of Victoria amazonica reach up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) in height. The flowers open at dusk and are only open on two successive nights. During the first evening, the flower is white. They close during the day and the next evening the flower has changed its color to a pink or purplish-red. Each plant only has one flower at a time, and after the second evening the flower closes up and sinks below the surface of the water.

Navel oranges are oranges without seeds. In the early nineteenth century an orange tree in a Brazilian orchard produced seedless fruit although the rest of the trees in the orchard produced seeded oranges. This naturally occurring mutation gave rise to what we now refer to as the navel orange. A bud from the mutant tree was grafted onto another orange tree; branches that resulted were then grafted onto other trees, soon creating orchards of navel orange trees.


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