Are Astara’s Bitter Orange Trees Depressed?

Are Astara’s Bitter Orange Trees Depressed?Are Astara’s Bitter Orange Trees Depressed?

In a rare phenomenon, concurrent with the last month of autumn, blossoms were in full bloom in the bitter orange trees of Astara National Garden in Gilan Province.

The Astara garden has more than 30 bitter orange trees. The phenomenon of new blossoms along with the citrus fruits has filled the atmosphere of the old garden with the heady scent of orange blossoms, in addition “to freshness and vitality to the garden,” ISNA quoted Iraj Shiarkar, head of Astara agriculture jihad as saying.

Bitter orange or Citrus aurantium blossoms normally appear on the trees usually in early spring. The blossoms are famous for their “magical sweet fragrance.”

In a normal situation, in late autumn and early winter, the blossoms turn into orange fruit; therefore the appearance of the flowers in this season is rare and unusual.

The reasons for the trees flowering out of season are usually because of two reasons: change in climate or due to “depression” or “sadness” disease (caused by Citrus tristeza meaning ‘sadness’ in Portuguese and in Spanish, virus). Laboratory tests are required to be conducted to determine the main reason for the phenomenon, he added.

Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) is the most economically damaging virus for citrus trees. It can spread quickly and causes damage not only by killing trees with sour orange rootstock, but also by stem pitting normal citrus trees. The disease has led to the death of millions of citrus trees all over the world and has rendered million others useless for production.

 Climatic Changes

Further, climate changes can shift seasons, causing mismatches. Higher carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels can affect how plants produce oxygen, and higher temperatures can alter their behavior. Historical records show leafing and flowering will advance on an average of five to six days per degree Celsius. Shifts in natural events such as flowering or leafing, which biologists call “phenology,” are obvious responses to climate change. They can impact human water supply, pollination of crops, the onset of spring (and allergy season), chances of wildfires and the overall health of ecosystems.

Citrus plant is native to tropical Asia but is also found in all tropical and subtropical countries. The blossoms are white, aromatic and fragile and have many health benefits. The blossoms are used in herbal medicine as a stimulant and appetite suppressant and often in traditional Chinese medicine to treat nausea, indigestion and constipation, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The sedative properties of the blooms are also well-known.