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tangelo seeds

‘Minneola’ –a hybrid of ‘Bowen’ grapefruit and ‘Dancy’ tangerine; oblate, faintly necked; medium-large, 3 1/4 in (8.25 cm) wide, 3 in (7.5 cm) high; peel deep red-orange, thin, firm, not loose; pulp orange, with 10-12 segments, melting, sweet-acid; of fine flavor; 7-12 small seeds, green inside. Late in season. Ships well. If crop is left too long on tree, the next crop will be light. Bears better if honeybees are provided and if ‘Temple’ tangor is interplanted as a pollenizer, but the ‘Temple’ is not as cold-hardy as the ‘Minneola’, and the trees tend to crowd each other. The ‘Minneola’ needs fertile soil, irrigation and adequate nutrition. Effects to increase production of seedless fruits include spraying the blooms with gibberellic acid, or girdling during full bloom. The former reduces fruit size and the latter may induce virus outbreaks causing scaling and flaking of the bark.

Tangelo

Citrus paradisi × Citrus reticulata

Tangelos range from the size of a standard sweet orange to the size of a grapefruit, but are usually somewhat necked at the base. The peel is fairly loose and easily removed. The pulp is often colorful, subacid, of fine flavor and very juicy. The trees are large, more cold-tolerant than the grapefruit but not quite as hardy as the mandarin. Nucellar embryos are not uncommon in these hybrids and most of the cultivars are self-sterile, so a majority come true from seed. Tangelos are not commonly grown in California but are produced commercially and in home gardens in Florida. They are much more satisfactory on limestone in southern Florida than the sweet orange and are prized for their quality.

Among the better-known tangelo cultivars are:

Plate XIX: TANGELO, Citrus × tangelo

‘K–Early’ (‘Sunrise Tangelo’)–a hybrid propagated by growers. It is an early-maturing cultivar of such poor quality that it gave tangelos a bad reputation. The Official Rules Affecting the Florida Citrus Industry require that it be sold only as ‘K-Early Citrus Fruit’.

‘Minneola’ –a hybrid of ‘Bowen’ grapefruit and ‘Dancy’ tangerine; oblate, faintly necked; medium-large, 3 1/4 in (8.25 cm) wide, 3 in (7.5 cm) high; peel deep red-orange, thin, firm, not loose; pulp orange, with 10-12 segments, melting, sweet-acid; of fine flavor; 7-12 small seeds, green inside. Late in season. Ships well. If crop is left too long on tree, the next crop will be light. Bears better if honeybees are provided and if ‘Temple’ tangor is interplanted as a pollenizer, but the ‘Temple’ is not as cold-hardy as the ‘Minneola’, and the trees tend to crowd each other. The ‘Minneola’ needs fertile soil, irrigation and adequate nutrition. Effects to increase production of seedless fruits include spraying the blooms with gibberellic acid, or girdling during full bloom. The former reduces fruit size and the latter may induce virus outbreaks causing scaling and flaking of the bark.

‘Nova’ –a ‘Clementine’ tangerine and ‘Orlando’ tangelo cross made by Dr. Jack Bellows in 1942, first fruited in 1950, and released by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Horticultural Field Station, Orlando, Florida, in 1964. Fruit is oblate to rounded, of medium size, 2 3/4-3 in (7-7.5 cm) wide, 2 1/2-2 3/4 in (6.25-7 cm) high; peel is orange to scarlet, thin, slightly rough, leathery, easy to remove; pulp dark-orange, with about 11 segments, of good, sweet flavor; seeds numerous if cross-pollinated; polyembryonic, green inside. Early in season (mid-September to mid-December). Does very well on ‘Cleopatra’ rootstock. The tree resembles that of the ‘Clementine’ tangerine, its twigs are thornless, and it is more cold-hardy than ‘Orlando’. This cultivar is self-infertile and trials have shown that ‘Temple’ tangor is a good pollenizer.

‘Orlando’ (formerly Take’)–result of ‘Bowen’ grapefruit pollinated with ‘Dancy’ tangerine, by Dr. Swingle in 1911. The fruit is oblate to rounded, of medium size, 3 in (7.5 cm) wide, 2 3/4 in (7 cm) high; peel deep-orange, slightly rough, not loose; pulp deep-orange, with 12 to 14 segments, melting, very juicy, sweet; seeds 10-12. Early in season but after ‘Nova’. A good commercial fruit in Florida. Needs cross-pollination by ‘Temple’ tangor, or by ‘Dancy’ or ‘Fairchild’ tangerines. The presence of honeybees, even without interplanting with a pollinator tree, has greatly increased yields. ‘Cleopatra’ mandarin is often used as a rootstock on sandy soils, but higher yields have been obtained on sweet lime and rough lemon in Florida. In Texas, ‘Orlando’ is most productive on ‘Swingle citrumelo’, ‘Morton citrange’, ‘Rangpur lime’ and ‘Cleopatra’ mandarin. Fruit quality is best on ‘Morton citrange’, sour orange, ‘Sun Cha Sha Kat’, ‘Keraji’ and ‘Kinokune’ mandarins.

‘Seminole’– a hybrid of ‘Bowen’ grapefruit and ‘Dancy’ tangerine; oblate, not necked; medium-large, 3 1/4 in (8.25 cm) wide, 2 3/4 in (7 cm) high; peel deep red-orange, thin, firm, almost tight but not hard to remove; pulp deep-orange with 11-13 segments, little rag, melting, of fine, subacid flavor; seeds small, 20-25, green inside. Early in season but holds well through March. Tree vigorous and high-yielding, scab-resistant; leaves with faint or no wings, tangerine-scented.

‘Thornton’– a tangerine-grapefruit hybrid created by Dr. Swingle in 1899; oblate to obovate, a little rough and lumpy, puffy with age; medium-large, 3 1/4 -3 3/4 in (8.25-9.5 cm) wide, 2 7/8-3 1/4 in (7.25-8.25 cm) high; peel, light-orange, medium-thick, almost loose, easily removed; pulp pale- to deep-orange, with 10-12 segments, soft, melting, juicy, of rich subacid to sweet flavor; seeds slender, 10-25, green inside. Matures from December to March. Tree vigorous and high-yielding, large-leaved, well adapted to hot, dry regions of California. Fruit is a poor shipper.

Fig. 40: The ‘Ugli’ tangelo of Jamaica is believed to be a chance hybrid between a Mandarin orange and a grapefruit.

‘Ugli’ –believed to be a chance hybrid between a mandarin orange and grapefruit. The discoverer, G. G. R. Sharp, owner of Trout Hall Estate, Jamaica, reported that it was found growing in a pasture around 1917. He took budwood and grafted onto sour orange, and kept on regrafting the progeny with the fewest seeds. Sharp was exporting to England and Canada in 1934 and to markets in New York City in 1942. The fruit is obovoid, compressed to nearly oblate, necked at the base, puffy; large, 4 1/4 to 6 in (10.8-15 cm) wide, 3 1/4-4 1/2 in (8.25-11.5 cm) high; peel is light-yellow with light-green areas at apex, leathery, loose, medium-thin; albedo is thick; pulp light-orange, or apricot, divided into 12 segments with tough membranes, easily skinned; tender, melting, very juicy; of fine flavor, superior to grapefruit, only faintly bitter; seedless or with 3 or a few more medium-sized seeds, white inside. In Jamaica, matures in December and January.

In January 1942, Kendal Morton purchased fruits on the New York market, sent 2 to Dr. H. Harold Hume of the University of Florida, and 4 to Dr. H J. Webber of the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Webber was able to examine them only at the Quarantine Station but he wrote up the description for the first edition of the book, The Citrus Industry, by Batchelor and Webber. He planted the seeds and reported that, of 13 seedlings, 6 had strongly mandarin-scented leaves, 3 had weak-mandarin scent, and 4 had leaf-scent reminiscent of grapefruit or sweet orange leaves. Dr. Webber passed on in 1943 before he could carry out his plans to bud 2 trees from each seedling. Dr. W. P. Betters, Associate Horticulturist, reported that in 1947 the 4 seedlings still in the nursery were bearing fruit, mostly in May-June; the fruits averaged 6 in (15 cm) in diameter, the peel was orange-yellow with a slight tendency to regreen in the spring, the albedo was very thick and fibrous, the flavor of the orange, juicy pulp was good but with a grapefruit tang, and there was, on the average, one seed in each segment. These trees were destroyed in 1951 because they were in the path of campus development, but budwood was taken for propagation and the new trees were beginning to bear in 1954. The ‘Ugli’ was considered a good fruit for home dooryards in California and was being tried as a rootstock for lemon. The ‘Ugli’ is little known in Florida. James McClure of Lake Placid has a few trees that bear in February. There are small groves of ‘Ugli’ in South Africa. In New Zealand a similar fruit has been grown since 1861 as “Poor-man’s orange”, or “Poorman grapefruit”.

Tangelo seeds
Fill the cells of a seed flat with the propagation medium. Use one 2-inch cell for each seed. Insert each seed 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep in the center of the medium in each cell. Cover the seed with propagation medium until the soil line is level.

How to Germinate Minneola Tangelo Seeds

Tangelos have a characteristic bell shape and measure about 3 inches in diameter.

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Botanists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Horticultural Research Station in Orlando crossbred “Duncan” grapefruits (Citrus paradisi “Duncan”), which grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, with “Dancy” tangerines (C. reticulata “Dancy”), which grow in USDA zones 8 through 11, in 1931. This cross resulted in the “Minneola” tangelo (C. paradisi “Duncan” x C. reticulata “Dancy”), hardy in in USDA zones 8 through 10. “Minneola” tangelos often grow true from seed, so you can propagate the trees at home by first germinating the seeds at around 85 degrees Fahrenheit in a sterile potting medium.

Extract the largest, most-robust, seeds from several mature tangelos, either by collecting them when you use the fruit or by cutting the fruit open and pricking them out with a wood skewer. Place the seeds in a sieve.

Run cool water over the seeds for one or two minutes to rinse off residual sugar and place them in a bowl. Cover the tangelo seeds with cool water and allow them to soak for eight hours in aerated or carbonated water. Soaking the seeds decreases germination time.

Soak 1/2-gallon of sphagnum peat moss in warm water for one hour. Remove the peat moss and squeeze the water from it. Place a heat mat in an area that receives full sunlight and with a temperature as close to 85 degrees Fahrenheit as possible.

Mix the peat moss with 1/4-gallon each of sterilized horticultural perlite and sterilized horticultural vermiculite by hand in a container. Moisten the propagation medium with a bit of water to make mixing easier.

Fill the cells of a seed flat with the propagation medium. Use one 2-inch cell for each seed. Insert each seed 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep in the center of the medium in each cell. Cover the seed with propagation medium until the soil line is level.

Gently tamp the medium down with a pestle or the flat end of a clean glass to make sure it covers the entirety of the seed. Water the medium with distilled water from a watering can until water drains from the flat.

Cover the seed flat with its plastic cover and place it on the heat mat. Adjust the temperature of the mat to as close to 85 degrees F as possible.

Mist the seeds each day with a few spray of distilled water from a spray bottle to maintain humidity in the enclosure.

Insert a toothpick in the medium every two days to determine if it needs watered. If you pull the toothpick out and it isn’t moist all the way, water the medium until water drains from the tray. Allow two weeks for the seeds to germinate. Green growth emerges from the seeds seven to 10 days after planting, and you can transplant them two weeks after planting.