Title: Utilization of Murcott oranges
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072347/00001
 Material Information
Title: Utilization of Murcott oranges
Series Title: Citrus Station mimeo series
Alternate Title: Fruit
Florida coldpressed Murcott oil
Processed products
Physical Description: 3, 3, 2 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Deszyck, E. J
Ting, S. V., 1918-
Kesterson, J. W
Hendrickson, Rudolph
Olsen, R. W
Barron, R. W
Wenzel, F. W
Citrus Experiment Station (Lake Alfred, Fla.)
Florida Citrus Commission
Publisher: Florida Citrus Experiment Station :
Florida Citrus Commission
Place of Publication: Lake Alfred FL
Publication Date: 1960
Subject: Oranges -- Varieties -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Orange oil -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Orange products -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Caption title.
General Note: "September 21, 1960."
Funding: Citrus Station mimeo report ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00072347
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 75268554

Full Text

Citrus Station Mimeo Series 61-3
September 21, 1960
Utilization of Murcott Oranges

I. The Fruit
E. J. Deszyck and S. V. Ting

The Murcott honey orange, also called the Smith tangerine or the Murcott,
is the name used for this fruit in the Florida Citrus Code (8). Its genetic
history is unknown, but is believed to be a tangor hybrid of Citrus reticulata
X C. sinensis, similar to the Temple orange. At present several stories exist
regarding the origin of the Murcott, one being that Charles Murcott Smith had
planted the first trees in the early 1920's at Bayview, Florida (3, 7). Some of
the original Murcott trees still stand there today.

The Murcott fruit has been in great demand as fresh fruit. This orange has
eye-appeal, peels easily, and is of exceptionally good eating quality, being very
sweet, juicy and tasty to most consumers. The Murcott reaches prime eating qual-
ity after most of the tangerines and mandarin hybrid fruit have been harvested.
Some shippers claim that this fruit has also excellent shipping and keeping

As yet there are no separate regulations for the internal quality of the
Murcott honey orange. However, since 1957, P. L. Harding and W. G. Long of the
United States Department of Agriculture, Orlando, have been conducting a state-
wide study on the seasonal changes of the juice characteristics in order to
suggest adequate standards for this variety.

The purpose of this paper is to present information concerning fruit and
juice characteristics and the availability of the fruit.

Fruit characteristics. The Murcott unlike tangerines is firm, tight-skinned
and without puffiness. The fruit is flat, heavy and sinks in water; field boxes
of this fruit grown on sour orange rootstock averaged 105 pounds, while that on
rough lemon weighed 97 pounds. The rind is smooth with color varying from yellow
to deep orange. Because of the thin rind, the fruit "plugs" easily on picking
and therefore is usually clipped for fresh fruit use. In heavy crops small fruit
seems to predominate. The variety is considered seedy.

Juice characteristics. The outstanding features of the juice of the Murcott
honey orange are the deep reddish-orange color, high soluble solids, and high
ratio. The juice characteristics of this fruit grown on two rootstocks during
four seasons appear in Table 1. Information on juice color is presented in Part
III of this report. The soluble solids content in the juice from fruit on sour
orange stock was exceptionally high ranging from 12.5 percent on January 25, 1960,
to 15.8 percent in 1958. The amount of solids in a 90-pound box of fruit, re-
fleeting both the solids and juice contents, amounted to 7 pounds or more. Even
on rough lemon stock the solids content was quite high, but the pounds of solids
in 90 pounds of fruit was less than on sour orange stock. On both rootstocks
ratios were fairly high.

Florida Citrus Lcxperiment Station
and Florida Citrus Commission,
Lake Alfred, Florida.
988 c 9/21/60 EJD

Table 1. Juice characteristics of Muroott honey oranges on two
rootstocks during four seasons

Weight Juice Soluble Acid Ratio Solids per
Sampling date per fruit % solids % 90-lb. box
g lb.
Sour Orange Rootstock
1/22/57 158 58.5 14.0 .98 14.3 7.4
2/14/58 145 51.6 15.8 .90 17.6 7.3
2/6/59 135 57.9 14.3 .91 15.9 7.5
2/13/592 -- 13.6 .85 16.0 -
1/20/60 193 59.0 13.4 .69 19.4 7.1
1/25/602 - 12.5 .86 14.5

Rough Lemon Rootstock
2/ 9/57 138 47.0 12.6 .78 16.2 5.3
3/28/57 12.0 .87 13.8 -
2/ 3/602 -48.0 11.5 .63 18.5 5.0

1 Fruit on sour orange was grown in one grove at Ft. Pierce; fruit on
rough lemon was grown in three groves in Polk and Lake Counties.
2 Results obtained by R. W. Barron on juice from not less than ten boxes
of fruit used for processing.

Florida Citrus Experiment Station
and Florida Citrus Commission,
Lake Alfred, Florida.
988 g 9/21/60 EJD


Juice characteristics as affected by fruit size are shown in Table 2. In
general, as in other citrus fruit, the solids and acid content tended to be
lower but ratio tended to be higher with increasing size of the fruit.

Fruit availability. At the present time only incomplete records exist on
the volume of Murcotts grown in the state. The amount of Murcott oranges sold
at auction is known, but express shipments, that sold at road-side stands and to
canneries are unknown. In view of this, information is presented which may be
useful in evaluating the Murcott potential for the fresh fruit and processing
industries. This information covers commercial plantings, movement of nursery
trees to Florida destinations, fresh fruit shipments to auctions, tree yield and
other factors.

According to the latest information,over one-quarter million Murcott trees,
equivalent to nearly 4000 acres, have been planted in commercial groves in
Florida (5, 6, 9). This number of Murcott trees represented one-sixth the number
of Temple trees in 1956 (9). Most of the Murcott trees were located in Lake.
Orange, and Polk counties. Over 90 percent of these trees were non-bearing during
1954-55 (3). Undoubtedly some trees were lost during the 1957-58 freezes, and
therefore, these figures may be in error.

Movement of Murcott nursery stock to Florida destinations appears in Table
3. Over one-third million of these trees have been used since 1941, representing
nearly 5000 acres (4). Nearly all the trees have been moved since 1953-54. This
does not include stock in private or non-commercial nurseries, and trees top-
worked to this variety in commercial groves since 1957. In the past five years
Murcott trees have been planted extensively, and it is believed this trend will
continue during the next five years.

Nearly all Murcott oranges at northern markets were sold at auctions. The
volume sold during seven seasons is shown in Table 4 (10). The largest amount
sold was approximately 73,000 half-boxes during 1958-59, representing about one-
sixtieth of the amount of Temples sold that season. Most of the fruit moved
during January and February (Table 5).

Besides the size of Murcott plantings, other factors may influence the
availability of fruit both for fresh fruit and processing. Yield of fruit on a
per tree or acre basis seems to be less than for other orange varieties and
tangerines (3). The Murcott also tends to bear on alternate years with larger
yields of small fruit in "on years," and smaller yields of large fruit during
"off years". During the "on years" the weight of the fruit may cause considerable
breaking of the limbs. Rootstock is another factor affecting the yield of Murcott;
rough lemon results in higher yields. However, a high percentage of Murcott trees
are planted to rootstocks other than rough lemon. For example, during 1953-56,
nearly two-thirds of the trees moved from nurseries were on rootstocks other than
rough lemon (4). Finally yields may be seriously affected by a virus disease,
fovea (1, 2), affecting the growth and consequently reducing yields. The extent
of this disease is unknown at the present time although it is serious in a few
groves inspected by L. C. Knorr (1).

Florida Citruv Experiment Station
and Florida Citrus Commission,
Lake Alfred, Florida.
988 d 9/21/60 EJD

Table 2. Effect of size on juice characteristics of Murcott
honey orange on sour orange harvested on February
7, 19591
Fruit Weight Soluble Acid Ratio
size per fruit solids %
No./box g %

294 80 14.7 .98 15.0
246 88 14.6 .98 14.9
210 98 14.9 1.07 13.9
176 115 14.2 .98 14.5
150 135 14.0 .91 15.3
120 158 13.6 .83 16.4

Thirty fruit in each sample.

Table 3. Movement of Murcott
stock by season-

honey orange nursery

Season Trees moved i~uivaent
1938-59 92,501 1,341
1957-58 41,083 595
1956-57 38,300 555
1955-56 60,016 870
1954-55 63,595 922
1953-54 34,604 502
1952-53 6,320 92
1951-52 203 3
1950-51 2,741 40
1941-50 1,859 27
Total 341,222 4,947

1 Data copied from Zach Savage (4).

Florida Citrus E:periLent Station
and Florida Citrus Cointrssion,
Lake Alfred, Florida.
988 h 9/21/60 EJD

Table 4. Auction movement of Murcott honey
oranges during seven seasons

No. boxes

1953-54 743
1954-55 5,508
1955-56 4,357
1956-57 23,896
1957-58 2,541
1958-59 72,785
1959-60 38,809

1 Data listed as 4/5 bushel boxes from
"The Florida Fruit Digest," Jacksonville,
Florida (10).

Table 5. Monthly auction movement of Murcott honey
orange during three seasons1

Month 1957-58 1958-59 1959-60

December 168 - -
January 192 28,695 12,994
February 1,748 31,460 20,511
March 412 12,165 5,091
April 21 465 213

Data listed as 4/5 bushel boxes from "The
Digest," Jacksonville, Florida (10).

Florida Fruit

Florida Citrus Excperiment Station
and Florida Citrus Commission,
Lake Alfred, Florida.
988 i 9/21/60 EJD



The availability of Murcott honey oranges for processing will be limited as
long as a strong demand exists for the fruit in fresh fruit channels. For
example, during 1956-57 the price of Murcotts at the auctions averaged about
$4.50 per 4/5 bushel box, while that of oranges averaged approximately the same
amount for 1 3/5 bushel box, or half the price of the Murcotts (10). Since
Murcott oranges for fresh fruit are clipped, the cost of harvest tends to be
higher than for other oranges but similar to tangerines. The packout of Murcott
has been extremely high because external grade standards are lower than for
oranges. Only eliminations consisting of very small fruit and that from very
young trees will be available to the processor for several years.

In summary, the Murcott honey orange has exceptional fruit and juice
characteristics as fresh fruit, and also has a pleasing taste to most consumers.
This fruit is smooth, firm, heavy, and has a thin rind which varies in color from
yellow to deep orange. The juice contains high soluble solids, high ratio, and
a deep reddish-orange color. Approximately 4000-5000 acres are now planted in
commercial groves with most of the trees being of non-bearing ages. The Murcott
orange is in great demand as fresh fruit and consequently only limited amounts
are used in processing.


The authors express their sincere appreciation to Mr. R. C. Wooten and
Mr. W. D. Randall, Jr. for providing fruit; also, to Mr. C. F. Fawsett, Jr. and
Mr. C. A. Root for cooperation in obtaining the fruit used in these investigations.

Literature Cited

1. Knorr, L, C. Fovea...A disease of concern to Murcott growers. Citrus
Industry 40 (6): 5-7, 16. 1959.

2. Knorr, L. C. and W. C. Price. Fovea...A disease of the Murcott. Citrus
Magazine 22 (1): 16-19, 26. 1959.

3. Morse, P. C. Jr. History, propagation and distribution of the Murcott (Smith
Tangerine). Florida Tangerine Cooperative, Lakeland, Florida, 1957.

4. Savage, Zach. Murcott honey nursery stock movement. Citrus Magazine 20
(2): 18, 34, 1957.
5. Savage, Zach. Hybrid type citrus in Florida. Citrus Magazine 21 (8):
12, 33, 1959.
6. Savage, Zach. Mandarin type citrus trees in Florida. Citrus Magazine 21
(9): 14-15, 1959.

7. Sites, J. W. Notes on Murcott orange. Unpublished data, 1954.

Florida Citrus Ea-periment Station
anrl Florida Citrus Commission,
Lak:e Alfred, Florida.
988 e 9/21/60 EJD

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