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New “Pineapple” Orange Coming for Florida Growers

By Doris Stanley
April 3, 1997

Citrus is sometimes in short supply in stores in January and February. But a new pineapple orange--so new it hasn’t been named--could change that.

Scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service say they expect to release the new citrus variety to nurseries in about three years. The new orange will be the eighth variety to emerge from the citrus breeding program carried out over the past 20 years at the agency’s U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory at Orlando, Fla.

The scientists say the new pineapple orange ripens in time to fill the market void that now occurs in January and February. It’s suitable for the fresh market or processing.

Of special interest to growers: The new variety is seedless and stays on the tree until picked. Growers have been reluctant to plant pineapple orange varieties in the past because the fruit has too many seeds and tends to fall off the trees before it is mature.

Other citrus varieties from the Orlando breeding program have included Ambersweet, Sunstar, Midsweet and Gardner oranges, Sunburst and Fallglo tangerines and Flame grapefruit. Florida growers have planted about 15 million trees of these varieties, which have superior traits for both the fresh and processing markets. In nursery sales alone, this totals about $60 million. Fruit production and value-added processing from these citrus varieties represent an annual retail value of about $334 million to the U.S. economy.

Scientific contact: Richard Mayer, USDA-ARS Horticultural Research Laboratory, Orlando, Fla.; phone (407) 897-7300, fax (407) 897-7309,