Improved Orange Cultivars

Ernie NeffVarieties


Improved sweet orange cultivars for processing and fresh fruit were the topic of a virtual presentation July 14 by plant breeder Jude Grosser. Grosser works at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.  

This new and distinct early-season clone of Hamlin has improved juice color and typical or better soluble solids for processing, Grosser said.

These early-maturing varieties were released in 2016. They have matured during the early part of the Hamlin harvest period over the past three years. They have higher solids, juice color and ratio than Hamlin around Thanksgiving. Grosser said replacing Hamlin with early-maturing Valencia clones will increase juice quality. A slide he showed stated, “Problem: Processors are now opening processing plants later, and believe that EV-1 and EV-2 are now too early! We would need thousands of acres in production to return to November processing.”

Valquarius is an early-maturing Valencia for processing. It can be harvested mid-January through February, with typical Valencia quality. Grosser said Valquarius is amenable to mechanical harvesting and is more attractive than Vernia for the fresh market.

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This early, seedless midsweet orange was described as extremely productive with excellent soluble solids.

A seedless Valencia for fresh or processing, Valenfresh is late maturing and holds quality into June. It has been released for commercial production.

This orange for processing has high yield and high solids with typical Valencia maturity. Grosser called it the best of 30 selections for yield and soluble solids in a trial at Conserv II. He described it as “an excellent choice if you’re going to grow Valencias … I have nothing but good things to say about it.”

OLL-4 has late maturity comparable to Valencia. The fruit holds very well on the tree into the summer. It has excellent internal and external quality and exceptional juice quality, juice content and soluble solids. It is easier to peel than Valencia, so offers better fresh market potential. OLL-4 has been the highest yielding tree among the OLL somaclones. “Juice flavor rated as good or better than Valencia by Tropicana, very high interest in this clone from Tropicana for use in NFC (not-from-concentrate) juice,” stated a slide in Grosser’s presentation.

OLL-20 is newly released based on its exceptional juice flavor.

Grosser also reported on new varieties he expects to be coming soon. They include new clones of Vernia that mature Dec. 1, new clones of OLL oranges that mature Jan. 1, and true sweet orange clones with better HLB tolerance.

Learn more about Grosser.

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large