The History of Citrus in Florida

The History of Citrus in Florida


  • The History of Citrus in Florida

Published Date

  • 1938-1939 Series


Existing records show that every place where citrus fruits were observed the Spanish
explorers had preceded the travelers. The citrus groves that began with Columbus first planting
in the West Indies and spread to Florida, today trail across the Gulf States to Mexico and
extend north into California, following the paths of early Spanish migrations.

During the English occupation of Florida, quantities of oranges, orange wine and preserves
were shipped to England. Considerable delay of shipping was caused by the "orange winds."
These winds were of gale intensity blowing from a northeasterly direction: ships were forced to
remain in port for many days during these winds and huge pile of oranges perished on the docks.
It was then discovered that by a process called "wilting" the fruit could be held over until
conditions were favorable for shipping. The "wilting" was accomplished by spreading the oranges
in the direct sunlight. This caused the evaporation of the excess moisture from the peel and
hardened the inner peel. It is said that fruit treated in this manner reached its destination in sound

Extending a mile along the lagoon on one side and Dummitt Crock and Indian River on
the other, in the north part of Merritt Island, what is said to be the oldest living grove in Florida
is still standing. It bears fruit each season and seems destined to live another hundred years. It
was planted close to the year 1830, according to H. E. Nason, who now resides on the tract, and
gets its name from its founder, Capt. Douglas D. Dummitt, one of the early pioneers of Florida.

Dummitt obtained his bud wood from the Jones' grove (now extinct) situated between
New Smyrna and Port Orange. The Jones' grove was budded from original seedling stock
brought to Florida during the Spanish occupation. Dummitt budded Jones' stock on native sour-
orange trees