Bitter orange

Arab traders brought it to the Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula in the 10th century, which is centuries before the sweet orange was known there. It was later spread to the Americas and the rest of the world. The bitter orange tree, in different cultures, was considered a symbol of fertility, wealth and prosperity, and the fruit a symbol of summer and sun. In Croatia, bitter or sour orange, especially cultivated in the Republic of Dubrovnik, has become an unavoidable tree, synonymous with landscaped gardens and gardens of the villas of nobles, landowners, sailors and merchants, but also the gardens of the monasteries. There are many records in history testifying that the bitter orange was a plant that enriched the space of Dubrovnik gardens. Today, bitter orange, due to its significant decorative value, dense green canopy and bright fruit color, is planted in parks and tree allées in the southern part of Croatia and, in addition to the wider area of Dubrovnik, is significantly present on the islands of Korcula, Mljet, Hvar and Vis. Bitter orange has long been used as a food or a spice in cooking (due to its characteristic smell and taste). Today it is used in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.