Which came first?

Amateur Gardening - - A Gardener’s Miscellany -

Rather like the age-old ‘chicken or egg?’ co­nun­drum, the ques­tion has of­ten been asked: which came first, the colour called orange or the fruit by the same name?

Ac­tu­ally, this is easy: the colour was named af­ter the fruit. Or­anges came first — by around 300 years!

In an An­glo man­u­script of the 13th cen­tury, the old French words pomme dÕorenge, re­fer­ring to the fruit, are found. The use of the word to de­scribe the colour is not noted un­til the 16th cen­tury. ■ The typ­i­cal yel­low of lemons and orange colour of or­anges ap­pears when the nights be­come cooler. In fact, the pig­ment used in each is a kind of ‘an­tifreeze’ that pro­tects the fruits from suf­fer­ing frost dam­age.

How­ever, frost is not al­ways needed for the coloura­tion to start – this will hap­pen any­way if the temperatures are around 5°C (41°F).

or Which came first – the fruit or the colour?

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