Does the Orange Tree have Thorns? (& Should you remove them?)

Share & go green

Does the Orange Tree have Thorns? The aromatic orange trees are mostly with thorns. Do you know not all orange trees have thorns? Many of them are thornless like ornamental oranges. The base of the leaves of orange trees is covered in small, blunt thorns of various sizes. Although some other varieties of this citrus tree may have hard thorns and sour fruits, this one has delicious, sweet-flavored fruits. Additionally, some orange tree varieties produce bitter fruits that are unfit for human consumption.

What are thorns?

Thorns are actually a part of modifications of the stem that are made pointed as a part of the defense mechanism of the plants. These are modified axillary buds of plants that get to the pointed tips so that the plant stays protected from predators or grazing animals.

Thorns are not mostly toxic; they are simply the structural modifications that keep the grazers away from the plants. Mostly the attractive, fragrant plants with delicious juicy fruits are with the thorns, I mean in most cases.

Does the Orange Tree have Thorns? – What types of orange trees have thorns?

Many animals love to enjoy the juicy oranges and trees that are more prone to getting attacked by the animals develop thorns to protect against predators. Though having thorns doesn’t make the fruit or leave toxic. Though the thorns can prick into the skin about 2-3 inches and cause injury leading to skin problems in some cases. The thorns don’t have any toxins in themselves.

READ :   Why are Lemon Tree Leaves falling off? (5 Ways to save the Tree)

The oranges that have thorns are as follows:

The navel orange trees, mandarin trees, valencia trees, and tangerine trees have thorns. Though many varieties in these types of orange trees might. It has thorns on the surface of the trees.

Trifoliate oranges also known as hardy orange trees also have thorns though the size of the trees might be small.

The sweet oranges scientifically known as Citrus sinensis also have thorns present all over the branches. The mandarin orange trees’ thorns are also sharp enough though the sharpness gets more prominent during the fruiting time or before the fruits are about to produce.

To know more about the plant world, you may also read related articles, Which Citrus Trees Have Thorns? (& Should they be removed?)

The thorns are high in number in the orange trees that are planted from seed. The orange trees have fewer thorns that are prepared from the grating. Even the pruning can in some cases reduce the number of thorns, many growers say. But scientifically it is proven that the number of thorns stays the same. It is also important to be cautious while pruning the orange trees.

Are orange tree thorns poisonous?

The simple answer is no! The thorns are part of the citrus trees’ defensive mechanism to protect the fruits and leaves from herbivores. The thorns contain no toxins or potentially poisonous compounds. They have simply pointed protrusions formed from plant skin tissue that serves as a barrier for animals.

These thorns can prick nearby fruit skins due to agitation or cut your skin while harvesting. The thorns when coming in contact with the blood and skin tissue can irritate the skin and bring out rashes. The orange trees otherwise don’t have any harmful compounds in the thorns but just the stems outer get hard. 

READ :   Best Blooming Weeping Trees with Flowers - Colorful Flower Weeping Trees List

Should you prune thorns on orange trees?

Many times while removing the fruits from the trees, these thorns can prick your skin and create cuts. So to make the task much easier you can remove the thorns first. Use sharp pruning shears that are clean and dry and cut the thorns away. Though these thorns will keep your plant safe from voracious eaters like deers, and other herbivores.

The pruning of thorns actually doesn’t cause any damage to the lemon trees. It just makes the process of picking orange fruits. Usually, you will see more thorns on the young plants as they have more tender plants and are prone to get grazed. The adult orange trees have little hard parts that get little ignored by the animals. The orange trees that have thorns are mostly delicious ones and stay protected from the animals. Trust me!

Pros and cons of thorns on the orange  trees


The thorns deter predators from attacking the citrus trees, which have soft leaves and juicy fruits.

The thorns are also thought to store some water during drought stress, preventing the plant from dying of thirst.

The two main functions of thorns in citrus trees are to provide clear defense and to reduce water loss.


Though this is not true for all thorny plants, thorns are also thought to withdraw or use plant energy. Some gardeners prune the thorns to save the plants’ energy and contribute the majority of it to getting good and high fruit yields. This can help in some citrus tree

READ :   10 Best Citrus Tree Fertilizers - How & When to use them?

Final thoughts on the context

The orange trees are a great addition to the fruit garden. The orange trees having thorns is not a bad thing at all. They simply protect the oranges and the leaves from deer, many grazing birds that like prick with their beaks. Into the fruits. We hope you like the article and find it useful. We are happy to help you. Happy planting! 


Do orange trees with thorns produce fruit? 

Yes, the orange trees with thorns produce a little tart, full of juice, and many seeds inside fruits. The thorns help in protecting these fruits and the leaves from the grazing animals. 

What‘s the lifespan of an orange tree? 

The orange trees, if properly cared for, can stay alive for about 40-60 years and even more. 

Leave a Comment