The Valencia orange is a sweet orange.
William Wolfskill, an American who became a Mexican citizen in the 1820s while working in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a fur trapper, migrated to California. He was given a land grant as a naturalized Mexican citizen under Mexican government rules. An American born in Kentucky and reared in Missouri, he cultivated numerous vineyards and grape varietals, and was the largest wine producer in the region. He continued to buy land, and later had sheep ranches, as well as developing extensive citrus orchards.
Before his death in 1866, Wolfskill sold his patented Valencia hybrid to the Irvine Ranch owners, who planted nearly half their lands to its cultivation. The success of this crop in Southern California led to the naming of Valencia, California. It became the most popular juice orange in the United States.
Major improvements to the Valencia orange came in the mid 20th century when Florida botanist Lena B. Smithers Hughes developed virus-free strains for budwood production. These were so successful that by 1983, the Hughes Valencia bud line made up some 60 percent of all Valencia oranges propagated for cultivation in Florida.
Primarily grown for processing and orange juice production, Valencia oranges have seeds, varying in number from zero to nine per fruit. Its excellent taste and internal color make it desirable for the fresh fruit markets, too. The fruit has an average diameter of 2.7 to 3 inches (70–76 mm), also a piece of this fruit which weighs 96 grams has 45 calories and 9 grams of sugar. After bloom, it usually carries two crops on the tree, the old and the new. The commercial harvest season in Florida runs from March to June. Worldwide, Valencia oranges are prized as the only variety of orange in season during summer. Furthermore, Valencia oranges bring benefits because of the vitamin C and flavonoids contained.
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- Jean, Charlie. "Lena Hughes, Orange Tree Researcher, Dies". Orlando Sentinel, December 21, 1987.
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- HOME FRUIT PRODUCTION-ORANGES at Texas Cooperative Extension Texas A&M Horticulture program
- Sweet Oranges (including Valencia Oranges: Campbell Valencia orange, Cutter Valencia orange, Delta Valencia orange, Midknight Valencia orange, Olinda Valencia orange at University of California Riverside Citrus Variety Collection
- Budget Plants: Valencia Orange Tree Information