Bitter orange trees of bad reputation

“For centuries, the bitter orange had rather evil associations. Al-Tignari, the agricultural writer, said it was a bad omen. This notoriety became especially marked when, during the Taifa kingdoms of the 11th century, various kings decided to grow bitter oranges and soon after fell victim to the harshest of defeats and misfortunes, all of them attributed to the workings of these poor fruit trees with their fragrant blossoms. And this reputation lasted for centuries. The famous Tunisian sociologist Ibn Jaldún, who lived during the 14th to 15th centuries, wrote:  “Any city in which it is planted will receive a warning of its approaching doom”.

From the book La Cocina de al-Andalus, by Inés Eléxpuru. Alianza Editorial, Madrid 1994

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