“Bamboo shoots are eaten in the morning due to the spring rain, and oranges are plump due to the autumn frost.” (Yu Collection of Yuan Dynasty, “The Master Spends Summer in the White Clouds”) Speaking of autumn fruits, how can we miss out on oranges?
Oranges are plump, juicy and deeply loved by people. When it comes to oranges, everyone’s mouth will probably water with saliva. In “Journey to the West”, where are the places where oranges are produced? Let’s go and see it together.
Huaguo Mountain is probably the most orange-producing fruit base in “Journey to the West”. As early as the first chapter, it was mentioned that Huaguo Mountain is “full of oranges, canes, and oranges.” Teacher Wu Chengen separated tangerines and mandarins and juxtaposed them. It can be seen that these two fruits are somewhat different.
Indeed, mandarins and tangerines both belong to the broad-skinned citrus species of the genus Citrus in the family Rutaceae. But there are still some differences. Li Shizhen, a medical scientist in the Ming Dynasty, provided us with the identification method of oranges and tangerines in “Compendium of Materia Medica·Fruit Part”:
“The orange fruit is small, its petals taste slightly vinegary (i.e. sour), its skin is thin and red, and it tastes pungent and bitter; tangerines are larger than tangerines, their petals taste bitter, their skin is slightly thick and yellow, and the leaves are pungent and sweet.”
Generally speaking, orange fruits are small, the fruit petals are slightly sour, the peel is thin and red, and the taste is spicy and bitter. In comparison, mandarin oranges have larger fruits than oranges, with tart petals, thicker yellow skin, and spicy and sweet leaves. Some scholars believe that tangerines are actually hybrids of tangerines and oranges. However, because tangerines and tangerines look very similar, people often confuse the two fruits or use their names interchangeably in daily life.
In addition, oranges are often written as “oranges”. Returning to the world of “Journey to the West”, there is also an “orange-green, orange-yellow” scene at the boundary of the nine lions in the Jiujie Panhuan Cave in Zhujie Mountain, and the book indicates that it was “late autumn” at that time, but see: “orange Green, orange and yellow, the willows are declining and the valley is beautiful. The wild geese are dropping broken reed flowers in the deserted village, and the chickens are harvesting beans in the wild shop.” It is an autumn pastoral scene. “Orange” and “tangerine” are not only the representative fruits of autumn, but “orange” and “orange-green” have become synonymous with the pleasant scenery of autumn.
In the Kingdom of Tianzhu, the king wanted to recruit Tang Monk as his consort and held a banquet in the Huayi Pavilion in the imperial garden. There are four golden screens hanging on the walls of the pavilion. On the screens are pictures of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Each scenery picture is accompanied by an inscription by a famous Hanlin scholar. Tang Monk saw it and wrote four poems. Among them, “Autumn Scenery Poems” wrote: “The fragrance is floating in orange green and orange yellow, the pines and cypresses are green and welcome the frost. The hedges and chrysanthemums are half-open, and the beauty is beautiful, and the sound of Sheng songs permeates Shuiyun Township.” Tang Monk inscribed it This “Autumn Scenery Poetry” is cheerful and full of vitality, vitality and joy. Green, orange, and orange are the symbols of harvest!
Ripe oranges are usually orange-yellow. So, in the “orange-green-orange-yellow” autumn scenery seen by Tang Monk and his disciples, are the oranges green? In fact, “orange-green” is not the green we usually see. It is the color formed by mixing the green when the orange is immature and the yellow when it is ripe, that is, “orange-green”.
my country has many varieties of oranges and a long history of cultivation. It is one of the important origins of oranges. Sima Qian recorded in “Historical Records”: “There are thousands of orange trees in Shu, Han, and Jiangling.” It can be seen that as early as the pre-Qin period more than 2,000 years ago, oranges were widely distributed in southern my country.
There is a particularly famous story about oranges. “Yanzi Chunqiu” records a fable about “Yanzi envoys to Chu”. It is said that Yan Zi, the minister of Qi State, was on a mission to Chu State. The king of Chu hosted a banquet in honor of Yan Zi. At the banquet, everyone exchanged glasses and drank wine, and the atmosphere was very harmonious. But in fact, King Chu had already arranged a show behind his back, hoping to see Yan Zi make a fool of himself. So, when everyone was in high spirits, two petty officials suddenly appeared in front of His Highness with a man tied up. The king of Chu asked: “Who is the person who was kidnapped? What crime did he commit?” The clerk replied: “He is from Qi. He committed the crime of stealing.” The king of Chu looked at Yan Zi and said, “Are the people of Qi good at stealing?” Have the people of Qi always been good at stealing?
Yanzi knew that King Qi was making things difficult for him, so he said: “Orange trees grow as orange trees in the south of Huainan, and as orange trees in the north of Huaihe. Although the leaves are similar, the taste of the fruits is completely different. Why is this? Because the water and soil are different. Ah. The people did not steal in Qi, but they stole when they arrived in Chu. Could it be that the water and soil in Chu are not good?” The reason why Yanzi used oranges as a metaphor is because he believed that oranges can only bear fruit if they grow in the south. It is a sweet fruit, but if you move it to the north, you will only get bitter and astringent citrus fruits. This lofty argument made the King of Chu look down upon himself.
During the Warring States Period, Qu Yuan, a patriotic poet from Chu State, also greatly appreciated oranges. Chu State is located in the south and is rich in oranges. Therefore, Qu Yuan sang in his poem “Nine Chapters: Ode to Oranges” that oranges “will not move when ordered to live in the south.” If you move the orange trees to the north, they will turn into orange trees. Therefore, he praised the perseverance of the orange tree and used the quality of the orange tree to express his firm will to pursue noble character.
However, scientists have discovered that although tangerines and tangerines both belong to the genus Citrus and have similar appearances, they are independent species and not the same species. Therefore, even if an orange tree grows in the north, it will not turn into a tangerine tree. Oranges are fruits that can be eaten directly, while citrus aurantium is sour and astringent. Its fruits and husks are mostly used as medicinal materials. “Oranges turn into tangerines” is just a misunderstanding of orange trees by the ancients in an era when productivity and scientific levels were not high.
Since ancient times, there have been many foodies who love oranges. Song Xiaozong of the Song Dynasty also loved to eat oranges: “It is said that the wind and moon are good on this day, and the orange-flavored wine is ripe for you.” The autumn time is beautiful, why not taste oranges together.