Popular Citrus Varieties
Australian Finger Lime
Ripens from March to May
The Finger Lime is native to Australia where they grow in the rain forests of Southeast Queensland and Northern New Wales, located on the eastern seaboard of Australia. The finger Lime has been eaten by the native Aboriginal tribes and people of Australia since the pre-colonial times. Only in the last 100 years have they become of interest to the commercial growers and only since the 1980’s have they become popular. The plant is known as an under-story plant because it grows under the shade of the forest canopy. Primarily recognized by chefs and bar tenders first, the Finger Lime has now become a regular recommendation for the home garden. This is additionally supported by the fact that it is one of the few edible plants that will tolerate a partial day of shade. More recent adaptations show that it takes well to pruning making it easy to control its size.
Ripens from March to June
The Bearss Limes popularity is due to its wide range of adaptability. Known by several different names, Persian Lime, Tahiti or Tahitian Lime, USDA No.1 or 2, or the Bearss Lime, most today agree that they are in fact quite similar if not all the same variety. The Persian Lime (Citrus x latifolia) traces its lineage to Asia, most likely spread through the old Persian Empire. The Bearrs Lime is thought to be either a cross between a Citrus aurtantifolia (the Key Lime) and Citrus medica (the Citron). Still others believe that the cross is the Key lime with an unknown lemon selection. Seedlings were grown during ancient times and plants were selected after fruiting. The Persian Lime is partly seedless. The few seeds produced quite often do not come true to type. The cross may have changed many times through its history. Because of the Bearss limes wide adaptability it is the most common variety planted in the home garden.
Calamondin or Calamansi
Ripens November to January
The fruit of this unique citrus variety remains important for many cultures cuisines around the world. A member of the complex group of citruses called X Citrofortunella, the Calamondin is thought to be a cross between an unknown variety of sour Mandarin and an unknown Kumquat variety. Most likely a native fruit from China, Calamondins are commonly grown in the Philippines. Some other unique selections in the Citrofortunella family are, Limequat’s and Orangequat’s. The Calamondin is also known as a Calamansi in the Philippines where it is a traditional part of Filipino cooking. Considered one of the hardiest of the citruses, the Calamondin has become a popular ornamental throughout the world. Introduced into Florida around 1899 it became popular in both Florida and Texas mostly as an ornamental plant or root stock. In the early 1960’s, Florida greenhouse growers began marketing the Calamondin as a houseplant and spread the variety around the United States.
Ripens November to February
It is hard to believe that the Cara Cara orange has only been around since the late 1980’s. Even with its fast introduction, this ultra-modern fruit selection would not impact the market until the late 1990’s. With the rise of health-conscious consumers, the Cara Cara’s market rose with the popularity of foods high in antioxidants and those desiring healthier eating. As with all red pigmented fruits, the Cara Cara is considered very healthy due to its high concentration of Lycopene, a well know carotenoid, in the family of Beta Carotene. It is high in fiber like all oranges, high in vitamin C, which make this fruit a must for the modern-day health conscious food shopper. The flavor is very complex almost berrylike with a sub-acid finish. Being seedless adds to the many qualities of the Cara Cara. Finally, being one of the first of the oranges to market each season makes it a great choice for the commercial grower
Clementine de Nules
The Clementine de Nules is considered one of the sweetest of the Clementines. This selection is also known as Clemenules, Nulesina, Clementina Reina, Clementina Victoria, and Reina y Gorda de Nules. A mutation of Fina found in Nules Castellon de Plana in 1953, it is larger and earlier than the Fina. This selection is seedless when grown away from other citrus. Because it ripens well on the tree, the harvest can take place over an extended period of time. The Clementine de Nules matures in October and maintains it high quality through December. The fruit does separate from the skin when held too long. A very popular variety in the bagged mandarin market for many years and one of the most popular early season home garden selections. This is the most widely grown Clementine in Spain.
Ripening time: March to May
The cocktail grapefruit is an outstanding hybrid pummelo that was never officially introduced, but mysteriously entered the Nursery trade some years ago. Named the Cocktail Grapefruit, most likely by some unknown nurseryperson, the size and the flavor of this unusual fruit could not be denied. Medium to large grapefruit shaped, orange fruit with dark orange yellow flesh. Was considered to seedy for commercial but the flavor is so unique and the fruit so full of juice that one can hardly not want to at least try it. That is all it will take to be sold. The sub acid flavor is deceiving for a citrus, sweet and orange juice flavor without the acid. Trees are large and vigorous, fruit is ripe in early winter and hangs on the tree for up to 4 months, without losing flavor or juice.
Ripening time: December to March
The Eureka Lemon has been a popular commercially grown variety in California since it is introduction around 1877. The Eureka produces large crops of lemons year-round with the main crop coming in the late winter to early spring. Long apical shape with a short neck at the stem end hang in clusters to the outside of the canopy. Eureka has a true lemon flavor with very few to no seeds. The fruit is known primarily for the juice, which can be used to flavor both sweet and savory dishes and drinks. The Eureka Lemon prefers the consistency of the hotter inland climates. The Eureka Lemon has fewer thorns than other traditional lemons with the ones they have being much smaller. The Eureka is medium size growing to about 20 feet with an upright spreading habit. The variety is both vigorous and productive.
It does not adapt well to the wind and fluctuating temperatures of coastal regions. For a coastal conventional style lemon choose a Lisbon which does well in the milder climates.
Ripens : Mid October
The Fukumoto Orange was brought to California from Japan in 1983. This early ripening navel orange, has both great color with its deep reddish rind and outstanding flavor, for an early maturing orange.
Harvest begins as early as mid-October in California. The Fukumoto is smaller than most navel orange trees with medium vigor.
Ripens: January to May
The Genoa Lemon is one of the best choices of lemons for the home garden. An Italian Lemon, the Genoa was introduced to the United States in 1875.The fruit is similar to the Eureka Lemon, but it is cold hardy, has a dense compact growth habit and exceptional vigor all making this an outstanding plant.
The Genoa lemon tree grows with a compact canopy giving it a fuller appearance than other lemon varieties. A shorter more robust plant makes for easy harvest of the abundant high-quality lemons it produces.
After over one hundred years in the United States, it remains a popular home garden variety because of how well suited this Lemon is to a wide range of climates.
Once established the Genoa lemon will ripen year-round with the main crop coming in late fall to early winter. Far less thorns than other lemon varieties make for painless picking. Indistinguishable from the Eureka lemon means real lemon is a perfect choice for use for cooking, baking, and seasoning. The juice is perfect for marinades and drinks and fresh squeezed lemonade.
Gold Nugget Mandarin
Ripens February to June
The Gold Nugget Mandarin is easy to peel and has a rich sweet flavor with a long hang time making it one the most desirable varieties of mandarins. The fruit is seedless, medium to large size and slightly flattened. The skins texture is bumpy almost nugget like with a bright light orange color. This late season citrus typically ripens in mid-February and stays ready for harvest through May, typically with a very heavy crop. In less idea citrus locations, such as zone 9a, Gold Nugget can be alternate bearing. But regular pruning can help to reduce from occurring.
$2.00 per tree royalty
Lane Late Orange
Ripens January to April
The demand for navel oranges year-round in the United States drove the Australian export market for many years. Not just the fact that their winters were our summers but also the interesting late season varieties that were being introduced from Australia. One such imported orange was the Lane Late.
The Lane Late is a sport of the Washington Navel Orange that was discovered in Australia around 1950. A bud sport the fruit was almost identical to the Parent Washington but for a few distinguishing traits such as the ripening time was 6 to 8 weeks later that the Parent Washington, the fruit was much larger, and the skin was smooth. Making the Lane Late easy to identify. Excellent flavor and a long hang time make this variety a great choice for both commercial and retail.
Lee X Nova Mandarin
Ripens January to April
A newly released mandarin in 2019 from the USDA Station in Orlando, Florida. This is the best of the best. A large tree with a spreading canopy produces ripe fruit in late fall, Seedless, the fruit has a very rich mandarin flavor, unique to this variety. The fruit is round and somewhat flattened on the blossom end. Moderately easy to peel, hangs on the tree for up to 3 months. High sugar content that continues to build while still hanging. A cross between the Lee mandarin and the Nova mandarin.
Ripens March – May
The Lisbon Lemon is one of the most popular of the true Lemons grown commercially in California. The fruit is very similar to the Eureka but there are some very notable differences. The Lisbon is more resistant to cold, heat, and wind than the Eureka. The fruit is smoother with fewer ribs than Eureka. The Lisbon is more suited to coastal climates than most other lemons. The Lisbon Lemon tree is a large upright, spreading tree with thorny densely foliated limbs. The tree produces ample amounts of fruits that are typically set inside the canopy. The main crop comes in winter and early spring, The variety remains popular due to its vigor, productivity, and wide range of adaptation
Mexican Key Lime
Ripens November to January
The Mexican Lime (Citrus aurantifolia) is known by several different names, either Mexican or Key Lime. The Mexican Lime is most commonly associated with the Key Lime Pie. It is also known as the Bartenders Lime, due to its popularity in mixed drinks and a flavor enhancement to certain beer varieties. With great flavor and high juice content it is no wonder this valuable Lime first identified as the West Indian Lime, remains popular today. These distinct thin skinned limes are sweeter and juicier than the larger Persian you commonly see at the market.
Much less hardy than most citrus, they are best planted in a frost-free location. Plants are productive, bushy, and have a lot of thorns. The blooms and leaves are quite fragrant. The fruit is 1 to 2 inches in diameter and round, ripening in fall to early winter.
Improved Meyer Lemon
Ripens October to February.
The Meyer Lemon is sometimes called the perfect lemon tree. Brought to the United States in 1908, it is believed to be a Lemon x Orange Hybrid through natural selection. The Meyer has become the favorite home garden citrus planted. It is very much a lemon when yellow but turns orange when fully ripe. When fully ripe it is sweeter with much less acid. The flesh, juice and rind are all highly prized by chefs. The #1 citrus planted in the world!
Tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, naturally dwarf, very cold hardy and producing outstanding fruit. It is no wonder it is considered the perfect Citrus
Ripens March to June
The Minneola Tangelo is a cross between white grapefruit and a sweet tangerine. The Minneola is also called honey bell, with beautiful orange-red fruit is a perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavor.
A winter ripening variety harvest begins in January and continues through March. The minneola is classically identified by its pronounced tall neck. The fruit has a juicy rich citrus flavor with just a hint of grapefruit It is easy to peel and has a dependable large crop. For the largest yield include a pollinator such as a Clementine mandarin.
Moro Blood Orange
Ripens January to February
First discovered as a mutation of the Sanguinelli Blood orange in Sicily, Italy in the Mid-20th Century the Moro is one of the newest Blood Oranges varieties. First thought to be not as favorable as Sanguinello and Torroco, the dependable dark red colored flesh and wonderful flavor made it an immediate hit. Today it is the most popular of the commercially grown Blood oranges.
Citrus sinensis ‘Moro’, originated in Sicily, Italy and is considered an Italian Blood orange, while, the Sanguinello and Torroco are both varieties from Spain. The name Moro comes from the Moorish culture which in the 8th century dominated the Mediterranean region. Being a much earlier ripening variety than the Sanguinello or Torroco helped the Moro become an immediate success in California. Moro ripens in January putting it at least a month sooner than other varieties. Though found to not always get the deep rich red coloring it would in ideal conditions, the Moro unlike the other two popular selections would get a decent red color and develop its great flavor in less than ideal conditions.
Ripens January to March
The Nagami Kumquat is perhaps the most popular Kumquat variety grown in the United States. There is nothing that eats or tastes quite like it. The Nagami is a small, oval, orange-colored fruit about an inch in diameter and eaten whole. The fun of eating the fruit comes with the first bite, but don’t stop there, as the sweetness is in the skin. Chewing blends, the wonderfully sweet skin with the tart flesh making for a tart explosion of flavor that is followed by a mellowing sweetness to your taste buds. The Nagami Kumquat is a naturally dwarf tree growing to about 10 feet tall with a shrub-like appearance. The Nagami is cold hardy and able to tolerate temperatures as low as 25 degrees for short periods of time.
Popular as a part of the Chinese New Year celebration, the fruit comes ripe in mid to late January and hangs for 2 to 3 months. Kumquats are low in calories as well as a rich source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
Oro Blanco Grapefruit
Ripens January to March
Oro Blanco is Spanish for White Gold, and this grapefruit variety is very worthy of its name. Originally a cross done in 1958 at UC Riverside, this grapefruit was not introduced until 1980. Oro Blanco was immediately recognized for its fine grapefruit flavor and incredibly sweet flesh without any added sugar. Due to its unique high sugar content and lack of bitterness, the Oro Blanco Grapefruit was an immediate hit with both the commercial and home garden markets.
Adapted to a wide range of climates, this variety will produce in colder climates where other Grapefruit selections are not successful. The tree is a large vigorous grower with a spreading form. The large sized fruit is white with a yellow blush skin and a light-yellow flesh and juice. Ripening in late fall to early winter, this grapefruit is great for commercial growers. Consistently a heavy producer with a long hang time, it is not uncommon to pick over a 3-to-4-month period. Easy to peel and separate, the skin is thin in milder climates and thick in colder climates.
Owari Satsuma Mandarin
Ripens December to January
The Owari Satsuma Mandarin, Citrus unshiu, is one of the most popular and widely planted Mandarin varieties in the world. Thought to have originated from Satsuma, a former province in Japan now known as Kagoshima Prefecture, it is an ancient selection with unknown parentage. Today many different selections of the Satsuma exist, representing both early (Wase), ripening as early as September with the most common varieties ripening in November. This still makes the Owari Satsuma one of the first Citrus fruits to be harvested each year. The Owari is one of the most adaptable of all sweet Citrus selections, able to withstand temperatures in the low 20’s. Because of the Owari’s outdoor growing range going to zone 9a, the Owari does well in the cold foothills of California at elevations of 400 to 1000 feet. The famous Placer County Mountain Mandarins are a perfect example of the Owari’s cold tolerance. To tolerate the cold, a location must have both good soil drainage and air circulation, preferably good early morning sun and air movement.
Ripens January to March
The Page Mandarin was first introduced in 1963 as an orange. The fact is Page is a complex hybrid with Orange, Mandarin, Tangelo and Grapefruit in its parentage which was unknown at the time.
When the first cross was made in 1942 by Gardener and Bellows of the USDA in Orlando Florida, they crossed a Clementine Mandarin with a Minneola Tangelo. The Minneola Tangelo is a cross between a Duncan Grapefruit and a Dancy Mandarin. Meaning the Page has a 25% grapefruit in its lineage more recent genetic research suggests that the Clementine Mandarin is in fact a cross between the Mediterranean mandarin and an unknown Sweet Orange variety making the Page Mandarin 25% Orange. This fact was unknown to P.C. Reece and F.E. Gardener when they released the Page in 1963 as an orange.
Its early ripening and long hang time along with the small to medium size make it easy to enjoy. The tree is moderately vigorous with an upright spreading habit. The fruit is deep orange, with a rich flavor unique to the Page mandarin. Few seeds are found in this very special piece of fruit.
Parent Washington Navel
Ripens January to March
Since the introduction of the Parent Washington Navel in the 1870’s, it has become the most popular orange grown in the United States. The Washington Navel Orange is deliciously sweet with just the right amount of juice making it the perfect fresh eating orange. Unlike the later ripening Valencia Orange that is well known for its juice, the Washington Navel is a large meaty piece of fruit that peels easily and readily separates into tasty sections. This seedless orange matures early each winter making it one of the first fruits ready for the harvest each year. Only a few varieties of oranges, like the pink fleshed Cara Cara, ripen earlier. Washington Navel Orange Trees are high producers, putting out large crops of orange-fleshed seedless fruits that can be left on the tree for up to three months without sacrificing their quality or integrity. The Washington Navel Orange Tree is a medium-sized tree.
Ripens January to March
The Pixie Mandarin is now included as one of the finest of the modern Mandarins. This was not always the case. For years this variety was only known to the backyard grower. With the surge of in interest in the mandarin, the Pixie has risen to the top.
The Pixie was developed by Howard Brett Frost at the University of California, Riverside Citrus Research Center in 1927. The fruit is small to medium in size and slightly heart shape to round. The skin is yellow/orange and medium to thin thickness. It is easy to peel and the segments separate easily. Occasional seed but mostly seedless. The flavor is outstanding. Rich mandarin flavor, very sweet and juicy. Harvests over a long period of time 3 to 4 months. The tree is upright with a slight spread. There is a tendency to alternate bear.
Rio Red Grapefruit
Ripens January to March
The Rio Red Grapefruits of Texas are the leading citrus grown producing medium to large fruit. In 1993, Texas named its official state fruit the Red Grapefruit. The reds are climate proven in Texas and the Rio Red is the best. Rio Red is a mid to late season ripening variety with a pink blushed orange rind. The flesh is juicy and great color
Sanguinelli Blood Orange
Ripens December to February
The Sanguinelli Blood Orange is a unique orange originating from Spain. The fruit has the most color of all blood oranges, with flesh that is almost purple and juice that is deep red and tart. The peel is smooth and thin with a red blush. It is considered a gourmet citrus with fruit that has a distinctive sweet and spicy flavor. The fruit can be elongated because of the high juice content. The tree is small and productive with light green leaves.
The Sanguinelli Blood Orange is a “Sweet Orange” cultivar that produces medium sized oranges with few seeds. Ripening in late fall and early winter.
Star Ruby Grapefruit
The darkest pink flesh of all grapefruit varieties. Produces red blushed over yellow skinned fruit. Requires warn winter climates and attention to nutrient deficiencies. The flesh is very dark with a high juice content and few to no seeds. Winter to late spring ripening with the fruit holding well on the tree with some color loss as it matures
Tango Seedless Mandarin (PP#17,863)
Ripens January to March
Tango was introduced in 2008 and became a popular commercial mandarin selection. Tango has a deep orange colored skin, oval shaped, and very productive. These are all qualities that a commercial growers is looking for and it tastes great too!
The Tango is a midseason, large, seedless, juicy, deep orange flesh and easy to peel mandarin. To ensure the best fruit production, it is best to harvest the fruit just before the flowering is in full swing. Excellent production with a great hang time of up to 3 months. Fruit matures from February to April. You can have white fragrant flowers and round orange fruit at the same time. This vigorously growing tree with leathery, dark green leaves can be pruned to any size!
$2.50 per tree royalty
Ripens March to June
The story of the Trovita Orange, as with so many great fruit varieties, is partially the story of the person or persons responsible for creating or discovering it.
Howard B. Frost worked at the University of California’s Citrus Experimental Station at Riverside California from 1913 to the late 1950’s. Trovita, thought to be a seedling of the Washington Navel orange, proved to be flavorful and juicer than it parent. Unlike its parent, it lacks the navel and can have a few seeds. Found to be very productive in desert conditions, the Trovita has become one of the Arizona citrus varieties known as the ‘Arizona Sweets’ Over time it has proven to be one of the most widely adapted Sweet Orange varieties, setting well in mild coastal climates to the hot interior.
Today the Trovita remains popular for its great taste and wide range of adaptation. Currently it is recommended for those wishing to experiment with indoor/outdoor growing of sweet oranges for cold climate growers.
Ripens July to September
The Valencia orange traces its roots to the beginning of citrus grown in the United States. Even with the late 1800’s challenge by the Navel Orange, the Valencia has proven to be the select orange for juicing which remains the most important usages of Citrus today. Valencia is a late season ripening fruit, ready in the mid to late summer. Ripening color varies with where it is grown with some fruit remaining somewhat green and still be ripe.
Ripening dates shown are approximate for Fresno and will vary with season and location.