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Floridas total citrus production reached a record with more than 300 million boxes harvested in 1997-98; and, despite depressed prices, increased its total value to $1,555,959,000 and its on-tree value to $974,469,000.

Florida also increased its overwhelming lead as the nation No. 1 citrus producing state with 79.9 percent of all U.S. citrus production.

Florida bearing citrus acreage also climbed to a record 845,260 acres, despite a small decline in grapefruit acreage. Florida now has a record 107,110,200 commercial citrus trees.

Citrus originated in the Malay Archipelago and in Southeast Asia, and spread westward to India and the Mediterranean before Columbus brought the first seeds to the New World (Haiti) in 1493.

The exact date of introduction of citrus into Florida is unknown, but Pedro Medendez noted on April 2, 1579, that it was growing in abundance in the St. Augustine area.

Floridas first cultivated grove was planted in Pinellas County sometime between 1803 and 1820.

Florida has more than 14,000 citrus growers cultivating more than 100 million trees on more than 850,000 acres.