Orange trees come from China. There are two main routes of entry into Europe; at the time of the Crusades (from the 11th to the 13th centuries), the Mediterranean route was taken by the bitter orange or Seville orange. Passed on by the Persians to the Arabs, the fruit took root in Sicily, from where it spread to the rest of Europe.
Until 1950, oranges were a luxury fruit, and were often given as Christmas presents to children.
Growing them in trays was long a symbol of prestige for aristocrats, who gave over special buildings for the purpose: orangeries.
In the 16th century, the orange, called the golden apple, was a symbol of luxury for the King to his visitors. Moreover, in 17th-century Dutch painting, it replaced the Garden of Eden apple.