More about the Common Oranges...

Major Common Orange Varieties.—The UC Riverside Citrus Variety Collection further classifies its ‘common orange’ holdings into two sub-groups: 


The Valencia Oranges and Other Sweet Oranges:

Listed below, and corresponding to the UCR sub-classifications are some of the varieties referred to as an ‘orange’. Most of the descriptions, as noted above, are from the 1967 compilation of the industry, however, since those descriptions were written, many aspects of the world and the citrus industry have changed. New varieties with greater consumer appeal have been proliferated while other varieties have faded in demand. In addition the ‘doors’ to observe and obtain the many citrus varieties grown in China have been opened, plus the citrus industries of South Africa, Australia, and Central America have developed globally increasing the number of varieties. The following highlights some of the vast selection of oranges from around the world and demonstrates the difficulty in establishing origin and genus:




The Valencia orange has been and remains the most important of all citrus produced in the world. Hodgson writes, “Presumably associated with its very high total heat requirement and the relatively high acid content of the fruit is the fact that the Valencia orange exhibits the widest range of climatic adaptation of any orange variety of commercial importance. It is suitable for the heat-deficient, mild, subtropical climate of coastal southern California, the hot, low elevation desert regions of California and Arizona, the humid, semitropical climate of Florida, and tropical climates in general.


As might be expected, Valencia is therefore much the most important variety of the common sweet orange group and seems likely to remain so. It is of major importance in both Florida and California and currently accounts for about half the total orange production of the United States. It is also of major importance in South Africa, Australia, and Mexico and of considerable importance in Israel, Algeria, Morocco, and Brazil…In Florida, approximately 80 per cent of the crop is processed for juice products, whereas in California about two-thirds is shipped fresh.”


The UCR Citrus Variety Collection holds the following Valencia oranges in their collection:


Burris blood Valencia orange


Campbell nucellar Valencia orange –

Source: Received as seed from Earl Campbell, Orange, Ca, 1942.

Parentage/origins: Parents unknown

Description: “The parent tree came to light about 1942 in the Early Campbell orchard near Santa Ana, which was planted in 1871 (Bitters, Batchelor, and Foote, 1956).  Almost certainly it was a seedling, for budded trees were little used at that time, which was five years before the introduction of the Valencia variety in California.”


Campbell old budline Valencia orange

Chapman nucellar Valencia orange

Coarse Valencia orange


Cutter Valencia orange –

Source: Received as seed from Riverside, Ca, and date unknown.

Parentage/origins: Seed obtained from orchard on 8th Street & Iowa Avenue

Description: “This California nucellar seedling was derived about 1935 by H. S. Fawcett of the Citrus Research Center, Riverside, from an outstanding old Valencia tree in the J. C. Cutter orchard at Riverside. This seedling budline was released in 1957 and is currently popular. Cutter is exceptionally vigorous and thorny and somewhat slow to come into bearing.”


Delta Valencia orange –

Source: Received as budwood from South Africa, 1985.

Parentage/origins: Parents unknown.

Notes and observations- A.T.C. Lee: Original selection made in South Africa in 1952. Similar in vigor to other Valencias but slightly more erect in shape. Bears very good yields of popular size fruit for our markets… Acid levels drop early and the Delta can be picked 2 to 3 weeks earlier than most other Valencias. The Delta is completely seedless and has an attractive, smooth rind.


Dom João Valencia orange

Frost nucellar Valencia orange

Fuzzy Valencia orange

Hart’s Late Valencia orange


Hart’s Tardiff Valencia orange –

Source: Received as budwood from J.W. Mills, Pomona, Ca, buds from tree #1199, 1914.

Parentage/origins: Parents unknown. Buds selected by J.W. Mills, at Pomona, Ca, 1908 and put in seedlings at Riverside Station nursery.

Description: “The English nurseryman, Thomas Rivers of Sawbridgeworth, imported this variety from the Azores Islands and catalogued it in 1865 under the name Excelsior.  About 1870, he provided trees to S. B. Parsons, a Long Island Nurseryman, and in 1876 he sent trees to A. B. Chapman of San Gabriel, California.  In the meantime, Parsons sold trees to E. H. Hart of Federal Point, Florida, where in 1877 the variety received the name Hart’s Tardiff. Randall is known to have been introduced from Florida in 1903 as Hart’s Tardiff, the name given to this variety there in 1877.”


Harward Late Valencia orange

Lue Gim Gong Valencia orange


Midknight Valencia orange –

Source: Received as budwood from South Africa, 1985.

Parentage/origins: Parents unknown.

Notes and observations- A.T.C. Lee: Selection made in South Africa in 1930s. Considerably slower growing than other Valencias & shows marked bud union incompatibility on rough lemon. Bears similar yields to Valencias of same size (not age). At first sight does not appear to carry a good crop but this is the result of the large fruit size. In South Africa the Midknight produces fruit of excellent size (mainly 70-85 mm), good round shape (sometimes very slight shoulder) and very smooth rind texture. Excellent internal quality with high juice percentages.


Olinda nucellar Valencia orange (McEwen)

Olinda nucellar Valencia orange (Mulholland)

Olinda nucellar Valencia orange

Pehrson Valencia #3 orange

Pehrson Valencia #4 orange


Perao Valencia orange –

Source: Received as seed from De Citricos De ICA Tulio, Ospina, Medellin, Colombia, 1967.

Parentage/origins: Imported as seed by Dr. W. Reuther. The source of Perao budwood is unknown, probably Brazil.

Notes and observations – EMN: Fruit compared with Shamouti. Apparently this is not a Shamouti but is quite similar in both fruit and foliage appearance. This accession has slightly lighter orange rind color and may be slightly rougher than Shamouti. Internal appearance similar to Shamouti but may have slightly lighter orange flesh and 10 cut fruit were all seedless whereas 4 of 10 Shamouti fruits had a few seeds; also this fruit is definitely more tart to the taste than Shamouti.


Rhode Red Valencia orange

Rocky Hill old budline Valencia orange

San Marino Valencia orange

Seedless Valencia orange

Valencia Late orange

Valencia orange seedling

Variegated Valencia orange

Werley Valencia orange 



Other Sweet Oranges:

Berna (Bernia, Verna, Vernia, Verda, Bedmar) 

“This distinctive variety is of Spanish origin but is grown also in Morocco and Algeria. It is one of the latest maturing of all Mediterranean varieties and holds on the trees as well as Valencia or better but is smaller and of poorer quality.”


Biondo Comune (Nostrale Liscio)

“Tree vigorous, hardy, large, and productive. One of the oldest Italian varieties and of unknown origin, Biondo Comune has been little planted in recent decades and doubtless will ultimately disappear. It still comprises the bulk of production of common sweet oranges in some of the oldest Italian districts.“


Biondo Riccio

“Another very old Italian variety of unknown origin, Bionao Riccio has not been planted for years but is still important in some of the oldest Italian districts.”


Cadenera (Cadena Fina, Cadena sin Jueso, Orero, Valence san Pepins, Precoce de Valence, Precoce des Canaries)

“Flesh very juicy and flavor and aroma excellent. Holds well on tree and retains quality. Medium-early in maturity (preceded by Salustiana and Hamlin). Tree vigorous, hardy, large, and productive. Of Spanish origin, presumably a chance seedling, Cadenera appears to be the most important variety in Spain, its production being exceeded only by only by comuna, which, as noted earlier, consists of a group of unnamed similar or identical seedling clones. It is important also in Morocco and Algeria and hence ranks high among major orange varieties. Because of its excellent quality, it is well and favorably known in European markets.”



“The Hamlin variety originated as a chance seedling in an orchard near Glenwood, Florida, which was planted in 1879, and was named for the owner, A. G. Hamlin, at the time its value was recognized some years later. It came into prominence following the great Florida freeze of 1894-95 as a rival of Parson, the only other variety of similar early maturity, and has gradually replaced it. Currently, it is a major variety in Florida, of considerable importance as an export variety in Brazil, of limited importance in South Africa and elsewhere, and possibly the world’s principal variety of very early maturing common sweet orange.”



“According to Webber (1943), Homosassa is one of the oldest Florida varieties, having originated as a seedling selection in the orchard of a Mr. Yulee at Homosassa. The selection must have been planted not later than 1865, for in 1877 the Variety Committee of the American Pomological Society recommended it as a first class variety. It was extensively planted for some decades, and there are old orchards still in existence. Like certain other Florida varieties, however, Homosassa is of indifferent quality in arid climates and has not achieved commercial importance elsewhere. “


Jaffa (Florida Jaffa)

“In the literature and otherwise, this variety has sometimes been confused with Shamouti or Palestine Jaffa, the principal variety of Palestine and Israel, which it resembles only slightly…Jaffa was introduced into Florida by H. S. Sanford about 1883,… Joppa was named about 1877 in California as a seedling from seeds obtained in Joppa, Palestine. Because of its comparatively low seed content, cold resistance, and good quality, Jaffa early became popular in Florida and attained the status of a major midseason variety. The greater productivity and superior quality of Pineapple, however, soon caused it to lose favor, although Jaffa still remains important there and to some extent elsewhere. 



Tree vigorous, upright, with rather stiff thornless branches and stout branchlets; precocious, and prolific. This variety, not to be confused with the Jaffa above, originated in 1877 from seed imported from Joppa, Palestine, by A. B. Chapman of San Gabriel, California. It never attained commercial importance in California or in Florida, where it was early introduced, but it was popular for some decades in South Africa and still has limited importance in Texas.



Rind very thin, smooth, and finely pebbled. Color pale. Flesh tender, juicy, and with special flavor and fragrance. Fruit holds well on tree, but sensitive to frost. Midseason in maturity. Tree robust, large-sized, and somewhat thorny. A regular and good bearer. This high-quality, old Spanish variety is said to be increasing in importance, especially in Alicante Province, but its thin rind and juiciness make it a poor shipper and keeper. It is considered excellent for processing.


Maltaise Ovale (Maltese Oval, Garey’s or California Mediterranean Sweet)

“This is an old Mediterranean variety of unknown origin which was introduced into California about 1870 by T. A. Garey, a pioneer citrus nurseryman of Los Angeles, and distributed under the name Mediterranean Sweet. At about the same time, it was brought to Florida and distributed under the name Maltese Oval.  Under its California name, this variety soon became important as a midseason variety, maturing between the superior Washington navel and Valencia oranges. With the expansion of the California industry into areas of different periods of maturity, overlapping production of these two varieties resulted. As a consequence, Mediterranean Sweet rapidly lost favor and was replaced. In the meantime, it was introduced into South Africa where it still retains some importance as a midseason variety, although it is no longer planted.”


Marrs (Marrs Early)

“Earliest in legal maturity because of low acidity, but for better juice content and quality should be left on tree somewhat later. Tree moderately vigorous, precocious, and prolific. Marked tendency to bear fruit in clusters. Smaller than most other varieties, presumably because of early and heavy bearing. According to Waibel (1953), this variety was found in 1927 on the place of O. F. Marrs, Donna, Texas, where it is said to have occurred as a limb sport in a group of navel orange trees obtained from California. Although propagated to a limited extent earlier, trees were not available for commercial planting until 1940. Because of its early and heavy bearing and good fruit size, Marrs is currently a popular early maturing variety in Texas. Its principal fault for processing is the low acidity of the juice. “


Mosambi (Mosambique)

“This very distinctive variety is of unknown origin, but the name, of which there are numerous spellings, suggests that it was taken from Mozambique, East Africa, to India, presumably by the Portuguese. The brown color of the chalazal spot indicates that it does not belong to the sugar orange group, as some have assumed, but that it is a low acid orange, the acidity of which is further reduced by the Indian climate and the rough lemon rootstock on which it is grown. Mosambi is highly popular in central India and is probably the most important orange variety of that country. According to Gandhi (1956), it is grown principally in the Bombay Deccan where total plantings were reported to be about 20,000 acres.”


Parson (Parson Brown)

Parson originated as a chance seedling in the dooryard of Rev. N. L. Brown near Webster, Florida, and is said to have been planted in 1856 (Ziegler and Wolfe, 1961). The propagation rights were purchased about 1875 by J. L. Carney, who named it Parson Brown. Its outstanding earliness soon popularized this variety and it quickly became the leading early orange, a position held until about 1920. Parson still remains a major variety in Florida, however, though it has never achieved prominence elsewhere, principally because of seediness.



“Late in maturity. Holds well on tree without deterioration in quality, and stores and ships well…Tree vigorous, upright; foliage dense, with many leaves of which the petioles are unevenly winged; very productive. Introduced into Brazil at an early date, Pera has long been the principal variety as well as the most important late export variety. It constitutes nearly three-fourths of the commercial acreage in the region of Rio de Janeiro and slightly more than a third of the commercial acreage in São Paulo State.



“Well-colored (one of the best in Florida). Midseason in maturity. Does not hold on tree as well as some, but excellent for processing. The Pineapple originated as a seedling on the place of J. B. Owens at Sparr, near Citra, Florida, and is said to have come from seed planted soon after 1860 (Ziegler and Wolfe, 1961). It was first propagated by P. P. Bishop at Citra about 1873 under the name of Hickory and some ten years later was renamed Pineapple because of its delicate fragrance. Its attractiveness, fine flavor, and good market reception brought about some increase in use, but it was not until after the 1894-95 freeze, which necessitated extensive replanting, that its popularity developed. It soon became the principal midseason variety and has remained so ever since. It is a major variety in Florida and of considerable though decreasing importance in Brazil and South Africa.”


Salustiana (Salus) 

This comparatively new Spanish variety is believed to have originated as a limb sport on a comuna tree in the garden of a convent. It was called to the attention of Don Salustiano Pallas of nearby Enova, Valencia, and propagated and introduced by him about 1950 (Gonzalez-Sicilia, 1963). Because of its early maturity, seedlessness, and quality, it is regarded as highly promising and has been planted to a considerable extent in Spain in recent years and somewhat in Algeria and Morocco.


Seleta (Selecta, Siletta)

The origin of Seleta is unknown, but it seems likely that it is an old Portuguese variety, for in 1925 it was listed among those currently grown there (Bobone, 1938) and the synonym employed, Lusitana, referred to the ancient Roman provincial name for Portugal. Presumably taken to Brazil at an early date, it is the variety from which the Bahia or Washington navel orange is supposed to have originated (Dorsett, Shamel, and Popenoe, 1917), although to the writer this seems improbable. 


Shamouti (Chamouti, Palestine Jaffa, Jaffa, Jaffaoui, Iaffaoui)

“While Shamouti, of which there are various other spellings, is the preferred name for this distinctive and highly important variety, it is so well and favorably known in Europe under the name Jaffa that it is now impracticable, as well as undesirable, to undertake to change this usage. According to Oppenheim (1927, 1929), Shamouti originated some time prior to 1844 in an orchard near Jaffa, Palestine (now Israel), presumably as a limb sport in a tree of the local or beledi variety. Its qualities were so outstanding that within a few decades it became the leading variety in Palestine and has maintained this position ever since. It spread to nearby countries and attained importance, notably in Lebanon, Turkey, and Cyprus. It was early exported to Europe, principally England, where it soon established a reputation for its size, quality, and seedlessness. Its distinctive shape provided a natural trademark. Currently, Shamouti is by far the principal variety of the Near East and one of the major varieties of the world. In addition to the countries already mentioned, it is the leading variety in Syria and is grown to some extent in Greece and Egypt. The 1965 production of this variety was estimated at not less than 20 million boxes.”