This is not to say that no one recognized the color, only that there was no specific name for it. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Nun’s Priest’s Tale,” the rooster Chaunticleer dreams of a threatening fox invading the barnyard, whose “color was betwixe yelow and reed.” The fox was orange, but in the 1390s Chaucer didn’t have a word for it. He had to mix it verbally. He wasn’t the first to do so. In Old English, the form of the language spoken between the 5th and 12th centuries, well before Chaucer’s Middle English, there was a word geoluhread (yellow-red). Orange could be seen, but the compound was the only word there was for it in English for almost 1,000 years.It seems odd to me now that English speakers went so long without a word for orange. But then a large vocabulary of color terms is a relatively recent development. Some languages still have only two, one for bright, hot colors (white, yellow, red) and another for dark, cool, colors (black, blue, green). Many sophisticated languages with large vocabularies make do with one word describing both green and blue; this was true in classical Chinese, so all those Tang Dynasty poets praised both the sky and the fields as lovely shades of qing.
Incidentally some linguists think "pink" referred first to the flower and only later to the color, in the same way as orange, although I gather this is disputed.
Anyway it is really only us moderns who feel the need for dozens of color terms; our ancestors got along fine without them.