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

Hey folks! Welcome back!

I hope you are doing great in your gardening field. Do you know about the orange trees? 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.

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.

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.

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

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 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.

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.

The thorns are high in number in them that are planted from seed. They 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 them.

Do Orange Trees With Thorns Produce Fruit?

So, are you worried about the thought that orange trees with thorns produce fruit? Then you should not. It is because the thorns will not affect the growth of the fruits on the orange trees. So, you should be happy to know there are various thorns even on those branches that produce fruit. 

The number of thorns will not affect the growth and fruit production of the plant, all you need is to provide an ideal spot so that they grow well. Location will play a key role in the fruit production. The thorny suckers on the citrus trees will need much water to grow well and reduce the fruit of the tree and its foliage. 

If you will prune this plant on time by removing the thorns suckers from it, then there will be more focus on the plant to grow healthy. 

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. 

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 deer, 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 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!

Is It Okay To Remove The Thorns?

Do you know if you can remove the thorns or not? If you know about it, then it’s great but if not, you should know about it. Guys, the answer is YES. You can easily remove the thorns if you have plenty of time with you as the process takes time. 

You can prune the thorns whenever necessary as they are hurting your orange trees, so the best idea is the removal of the thorns. It will not harm the growth of the plant, so no worries. But one thing that you have to keep in mind is that you have to choose good equipment which will not harm the growth of the plant and also not to you. 

You should be aware of the best techniques for pruning the thorns from the plant. Last but not least, make sure to choose effective tools for removing the thorns from the orange plant. Yes, it is okay to remove the thorns from the orange plant. 

Pros and cons of thorns on the orange  trees


  1. The thorns deter predators from attacking the citrus trees, which have soft leaves and juicy fruits.
  2. The thorns are also thought to store some water during drought stress, preventing the plant from dying of thirst.
  3. The two main functions of thorns in citrus trees are to provide clear defense and to reduce water loss.


  1. Though this is not true for all thorny plants, thorns are also thought to withdraw or use plant energy.
  2. 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 trees.

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! 


1. 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 grazing animals. 

2. 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. 

Becky Decker

Becky Decker, our esteemed Editor-in-Chief, is a passionate gardener with years of experience in the world of horticulture. With her guidance, aims to be your trusted companion on your gardening journey. Featured In   Becky Decker’s expertise and gardening wisdom have been recognized and featured in various prominent publications, including: Yahoonews  Experience & Background   Becky Decker’s love for gardening has been a lifelong journey. She has honed her skills through countless seasons of planting, nurturing, and harvesting a wide variety of plants, flowers, and vegetables. Her deep-rooted knowledge is complemented by her Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from the University of Green Valley.   Prior to leading, Becky worked as a garden consultant, helping countless individuals turn their outdoor spaces into vibrant, thriving gardens. Her experience spans over a decade, making her a trusted authority in the gardening community.   The Birth of   Inspired by her passion for gardening and her desire to share her expertise with a wider audience, Becky Decker launched in 2021. This platform serves as a hub for gardening enthusiasts of all levels, from beginners to seasoned pros.   At, we are committed to providing you with comprehensive guides, expert advice, and hands-on tips to help you achieve success in your gardening endeavors. Whether you have a small balcony garden or a sprawling backyard paradise, we have the information you need to make your garden flourish.   Our Mission is more than just a gardening website; it’s a community of gardeners who share a common love for nurturing the Earth. Our mission is to empower you with the knowledge and resources to create beautiful, sustainable gardens that bring joy and tranquility to your life.   Join Us on This Green Journey   We invite you to explore and embark on your gardening journey with us. Whether you’re seeking advice on planting techniques, pest control, landscaping ideas, or the latest gardening trends, you’ll find it all right here.   Connect with us, ask questions, and share your gardening stories. Together, we’ll cultivate a thriving community of gardeners and help each other make the world a greener, more beautiful place.   Let’s dig in and grow together at, where gardening dreams bloom!

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *