Why on Earth Can Oranges Spray Fire!?

Oranges are fruits that grow on trees. They are made up of almost 90% water by weight. This should pretty clearly mean that they are not flammable. However, there is something going on. Take a look:

Orange fire montage big cropped

Inside of the peel is a special oil called D-Limonene that is quite flammable. What reason could an orange have for harboring a fiery fluid in its skin? Well, it has to do with where baby oranges come from.

orange_PNG806That’s actually a tad misleading. Oranges contain the seeds of orange trees. The orange itself is another orange tree ready to grow, but the original tree doesn’t want to get too crowded. This orange needs to go off and grow somewhere else. To do that, it simply has to be delicious. If the orange is eaten and then pooped out elsewhere, it can grow into a nice successful orange tree and produce oranges of its own. The problem, of course, is that oranges are too tasty!

It’s not just the desired animals that will nicely eat the oranges and carry their seeds to a new home, it’s also pests like bugs, which are… less qualified for this important task. As a defense, oranges contain the previously mentioned D-limonene, which drives away insects and mold. This makes the orange more likely to be devoured by its target audience, which leads to more orange trees and then to more oranges!

K-Mega Farms

Interesting side note: most oranges in grocery stores are seedless! In fact, the one in the video is seedless. Instead they are grown through a bizarre process called grafting, where a piece of seedless orange plant is stuck to another and they grow together. Image from K-Mega Farms.


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