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Morton, J. 1987. Tangor. p. 145–146. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.


Citrus reticulata × Citrus sinensis

Tangors are deliberate or accidental hybrids of the mandarin (Citrus reticulata) and the sweet orange (C. sinensis). The following are among the better known:


'King' ('King of Siam'); formerly identified as Citrus nobilis Lour.; is believed to have originated in Malaya and to have traveled from there to Japan and then to Florida; oblate to rounded; large, 2 1/2-3 3/4 in (6.25-9.5 cm) wide, 2 1/4-3 1/2 in (5.7-9 cm) high; peel deep orange-yellow to orange, thick, rough, lumpy; pulp dark-orange, with 10 to 12 segments, very little rag, melting, of fine quality and flavor; 5-15 or more seeds, white within. Late in season. Tree of medium size, erect, thorny to almost thornless, large-leaved, with narrowly-winged petioles; cold-resistant, very productive; may overbear and break branches. Formerly popular in Florida; of limited cultivation in California. No longer grown commercially in the United States. Does very well at cool elevations in Peru.

'Murcott' (Honey Murcott'; 'Murcott Honey Orange'; 'Red'; 'Big Red'; 'Honey Bell' tangelo)–believed to have resulted from breeding work by Dr. Walter Swingle and associates at the United States Department of Agriculture nursery in the Little River district of northeast Miami. The original tree was sent to R.D. Hoyt, in Safety Harbor, about 1913 for trial. Budwood was given to his nephew, Charles Murcott Smith, who propagated several trees about 1922. This led to propagation by several nurseries beginning in 1928 under the name, 'Honey Murcott'. Large-scale production began in 1952. The fruit is oblate, of medium size, 2 3/4-3 3/16 in (7.0-8.0 cm) wide, 1 4/5-2 1/16 in (4.7-5.2 cm) high; peel yellow to deep-orange, glossy, smooth, faintly ribbed, thin, clings to pulp but easily removed when fresh; pulp orange, 11-12 segments, with little rag; tender, having an abundance of reddish-orange juice, with high soluble solids; flavor rich, sweet-subacid; seeds 18-24, small, white inside. Because of the thin peel, the fruit is clipped from the tree, not pulled. It stores and ships well; is in high demand as a fresh fruit, not desirable for canned juice or frozen juice concentrate because of poor processed flavor. Tree is bushy with slender branches bearing fruits near the tips where they are subject to wind and cold damage. Very productive on rough lemon rootstock. Tends to alternate bearing. In heavy-fruiting years, crop may be so heavy as to break the limbs, or the tree may collapse ('Murcott Decline'), or many branches may die back. This cultivar is subject to a virus disease known as fovea.

'Temple' (believed identical to the 'Magnet' of Japan)–a seedling discovered by a fruit buyer named Boyce who went to Jamaica in 1896 to purchase oranges after a severe freeze in Florida. He sent budwood to several friends in Winter Park, Florida, who later shared budwood with others. One budded tree fruiting in the grove of L.A. Hakes was brought to the attention of W.C. Temple who recommended it to H.E. Gillett, owner of Buckeye Nurseries. The latter named and propagated it and offered it for sale in 1919. It was not extensively planted until after 1940. The fruit is oblate to round, medium to large, 2 5/8-3 1/4 in (6.6-8.25 cm) wide, 2 1/4-2 1/2 in (5.7-6.25 cm) high; peel is deep-orange to red-orange, glossy, slightly rough, loose, thick, leathery; pulp orange, melting, of rich, sprightly flavor and superb quality; about 20 seeds of medium size, 25% being under-developed; green inside. Midseason. Tree not very cold-hardy, moderately thorny, bushy; most satisfactory on sour orange rootstock, and succeeds better in Florida than in California or Texas. Excessive applications of nitrogen and potassium increase acidity of the juice. For low-acid juice, low rates of nitrogen and potassium and high rates of phosphorus are necessary. Florida produced 3.3 million boxes in 1984-85 despite severe freezes.

'Umatilla' (incorrectly 'Umatilla Tangelo')–arose from pollination of the flowers of a 'Ruby' orange by 'Owari' Satsuma at Eustis, Florida, in 1911. The progeny was propagated in 1931. Much like 'King'; oblate to rounded; large, 3 1/4-4 3/4 in (8.25-12 cm) wide, 2 1/2-2 3/4 in (6.25-7 cm) high; peel red-orange, smooth, glossy, medium-thick, not very loose; pulp orange, with usually 10 segments, melting, very juicy, of rich sweet-acid flavor and fine quality; 10 or more large seeds or occasionally none. Late in season; holds well on tree. Tree is slow-growing, high-yielding; leaves thick and leathery without wings. Not extensively grown but prized for gift-boxes in Florida.

'Ortanique'–believed to be a chance cross of sweet orange and tangerine; discovered in the Christiana market, Jamaica, by a Manchester man named Swaby who bought 6 fruits. Of resulting seedlings, 2 bore fruit true to type which were exhibited at an agricultural show in the early 1900's. A man named C. P. Jackson, from Mandeville, bought 2 fruits, planted 130 seeds. Some of the seedlings were very thorny. Jackson selected the least thorny, least seedy, and named the fruit–a contraction of orange, tangerine, and unique. The Citrus Growers Association took charge of the marketing for export in 1944. Fruit closely resembles 'Temple'; oblate; peel deep-orange, thin, adherent; pulp divided into 16 segments with scant rag, very juicy, of distinctive acid-sweet flavor; seedless or with few seeds; subject to bruising when freshly picked; needs special handling by harvesters and packers. Grown commercially only in Jamaica but planted to some extent on other Caribbean islands. Fresh fruits and hot-pack concentrate have been shipped to the United Kingdom and New Zealand for many years. Citrus Growers Association took charge of marketing for export in 1944. The fruit is in demand domestically and abroad and brings a premium price. The tree is budded onto pummelo rootstock; cannot tolerate excessive moisture; optimum rainfall is 55-60 in (140-150 cm) annually, half in spring, half in fall. Ideal day temperature is 70º-80º or up to 90º F (21.11º-26.67º or up to 35º C), with 55º F (12.7º C) at night. The 'Ortanique' does well in hot, dry weather on shallow bauxite soil between 2,000 and 3,000 ft (600-900 m) elevation. There is less flavor in fruits from trees grown on clay or alluvial soils or at lower elevations. On clay, the 'Ortanique' is budded on sour orange rootstock. Rough lemon rootstock produces very inferior fruit. The tree begins to bear regularly at 3 years, and a 5-year-old tree will yield 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 90-lb (40.8 kg) field boxes; a 10-year-old tree, 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 boxes; and trees 15 to 20 years old, 4 to 5 1/2 boxes.

The 'Ortanique' has not performed well in Florida. In South Africa, fruiting has been somewhat irregular. Horticulturists at the Citrus and Subtropical Fruit Research Institute, Nelspruit, found it to be self-incompatible. Cross-pollination with the 'Valencia' orange, 'Minneola' and 'Orlando' tangelos and 'Marsh' grapefruit greatly increases fruit-set and elevates the seed count.

Pests and Diseases

In Jamaica, the 'Ortanique' is attacked by aphids (Aphis gossypii), rust mite (Phyllocoptruta oleivora), Florida red scale (Chrysomphalus aonidum), purple scale (Lepidosaphes beckii), and occasionally the West Indian red scale (Selanaspidus articulatus). Frequently seen are the fruit-piercing moth (Gonodonta spp.) and moths of the genus Tortrix.

The fungus, Sphaeropsis tumefaciens, sometimes causes large galls or knots around new twigs. Thread blight (Corticium stevensii) may occur in some localities.