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Fruit Science Report Washington Navel Oranges Research Paper

Related Topics: Diseases Florida California Fruit

Pages:8 (2282 words)



Topic:Navel Orange

Document Type:Research Paper


Fruit Science Report

Washington Navel Oranges


In as far as appearances are concerned, the Washington Navel orange happens to have a rounded shape and is small to medium in size. One of the many distinguishing features of this particular tree are the white flowers which are scented. The canopy of the tree also appears droopy. In mid winder, the tree supplies seedless oranges that are rather tasty – making this particular variety ideal as either a commercial venture or as a past-time activity in a home orchid setting. It is important to note that the flesh of the fruit is firm and has a distinguishing deep color. The taste of the fruit could also be described as tangy and distinctly sweet. The Washington Navel orange, according to Ramsey and Markell (1920) “originated at Bahia, Brazil, apparently as a bud variation from the Portuguese orange variety, Laranja Selecta” (22). As the authors further point out, it is the early Portuguese settlers and explorers who are believed to have introduced the said Portuguese orange variety to Brazil. It was, however, not until the 1870 that William O. Saunder received the Washington Navel orange from Australia for prompt propagation and distribution. This particular tree had been introduced to Australia 11 years earlier. The propagating of the tree and the subsequent distribution to two pilot states, i.e. Florida and California took place upon its receipt at the United States Department of Agriculture. At the time, Saunder was the U.S. Agriculture Department’s gardens superintendent. In the words of Ramsey and Markell (1920), some of the Washington Navel orange cuttings “were transplanted to Riverside, California in 1873 and started producing sweet, juicy, seedless fruit that had crisp texture and an easy to peel skin” (89).

The history of the Washington Navel orange would largely be incomplete without the mention of Eliza Tibbets. Tibbets was a recipient of the trees sent to California. Those sent to Florida failed to flourish. To a large extent, as it has been pointed out elsewhere in this text, the climate of California was ideal for the tree’s culture. In the words of Ferguson and Grafton-Cardwell (2014), “it is believed that Tibbets received and planted three trees in his dooryard, located near the present junction of Central and Palm Avenues, two of which survived and became sources of budwood a few years later” (113). In that regard, therefore, it is these trees in the dooryard that ended up feeding the navel-orange industry in California.

In essence, the Washington Navel orange comes from the Rutaceae family and the Citrus genus. On the other hand, in as far as species is concerned, the Washington Navel orange happens to be a Sinensis. The tree grows to a height of approximately 6 to 30 feet – but with the dwarf variety reaching a maximum height of only 8 feet. Commercially, Washington Navel oranges could be found in California, Florida, and Arizona states of the U.S. Outside of the U.S., the tree is found in relative abundance in Egypt and Brazil where it is also grown commercially. In California, the San Joaquin Valley regions happens to be the primary Washington Navel orange growing area. El-Boray, Mostafa, Salem, and Sawwah (2015) point out that although the tree happens to be a key income source among commercial growers in various locations across the world, yield happens to be quite erratic. In the words of the authors, Washington Navel orange “yield is erratic and usually low in many areas due to lack functional pollen, rarely produce viable ovules and in addition, it is weakly parthenocarpic” (El-Boray, Mostafa, Salem, and Sawwah, 2015, p. 1320).


Production Quantity

It should be noted, from the onset, that subtropical climates happen to be optimal for the growth of Washington Navel orange trees. Although there are some significant variations in fruit production from tree to tree, from a general perspective, Washington Navel orange trees, according to Ferguson and Grafton-Cardwell (2014) “produce 10 to 15 pounds of fruit during their third year but can produce up to 150 pounds when they reach full maturity... early and mid-season varieties can produce up to 250 pounds of fruit at maturity” (112). In California, the quantity of Washington Navel orange trees grown is enormous. Indeed, as Boule (2017), observes, during…

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…said fruit to “produce enough rind to hold the substances... the excess fluids cause the skin to burst” (95). One effective strategy in seeking to reign in this abiotic disorder is the adoption of effective watering practices and ensuring that the fruit does not suffer sunburn.

Other factors Impacting Production

Apart from the age of the tree, as has been highlighted elsewhere in this text, there are various other factors that have an impact on Washington Navel orange tree production. These include, but they are not limited to, time of year and application of fertilizer. It is also important to note that there are various approaches that have been embraced in an attempt to improve the fruit quality as well as yield of the Washington Navel orange. One such approach, according to El-Boray, Mostafa, Salem, and Sawwah (2015) is the utilization of certain foliar applications of some natural biostimulants. In a study seeking to assess the impact of biostimulant treatment on the Washington Navel orange fruit quality and yield, the authors found out that “all biostimulants treatments increased fruit set, yield and fruit quality and decreased fruit drop as compared with control treatment (El-Boray, Mostafa, Salem, and Sawwah, 2015, p. 1320).


In the final analysis, it should be noted that this particular tree also happens to be ideal for the backyard orchid. This is more so the case given that it supplies oranges that are not only seedless, but also tasty. Today, the tree is largely considered to be of great significance to California’s citrus industry. Many find it delicious to eat. There are also others who like the fruit due to its lack of pesky seeds. The fact that it is relatively easy to grow also makes it an ideal plant for both commercial and domestic purposes. However, it should be noted that there is need to embrace evidence-based practices in the planting as well as cultivation of the Washington Navel Orange. This would help protect the tree from some of the problems affecting its growth and wellbeing – as has been highlighted elsewhere in this text. Given its rich history in California, it is highly…

Sample Source(s) Used


Boule, D. (2017). A Brief History of the Navel Orange in California – From the Sacramento Bee. Retrieved from

Considine, D.M. & Considine, G.D. (2012). Foods and Food Production Encyclopedia. New York, NY: VNR.

El-Boray, M.S., Mostafa, M., Salem, E. & Sawwah, O. (2015). Improving Yield and Fruit Quality of Washington Navel Orange Using Foliar Applications of Some Natural Biostimulants. J. Plant Production, 6(8), 1317-1332.

Ferguson, L. & Grafton-Cardwell, E.E. (2014). Citrus Production Manual. Richmond, CA: UCANR Publications.

Geiger, P. & Dunkan, S. (2007). Farmers' Almanac. Mason, OH: Almanac Publishing Company.

Ramsey, H.J. & Markell, E.L. (1920). The Handling and Precooling of Florida Lettuce and Celery. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

Susser, A. (1997). The Great Citrus Book. New York, NY: Ten Speed Press.

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