Looks like a grapefruit, but tastes like an orange

dimitrig(SoCal z10a/21)January 30, 2012

My dad recently bought a house that was built in the 1920's. There is a large citrus tree on the property. The tree is 20 feet tall at least. Right now it is covered in dozens of large yellow fruits that look like a typical yellow grapefruit. However, the skin is fairly thin and despite the yellow color of the flesh, the taste is very similar to that of an orange. In fact, one would mistake the fruit for an orange if tasting blind. It is very sweet and aromatic, not at all sour or bitter. I am guessing the tree is at least 35 years old or older, so it's not any new variety.

Any ideas on what exactly it might be?

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Sounds link you're describing a Cocktail grapefruit. Which is not actually a grapefruit but really is a hybrid of Siamese Sweet pummelo and Frua mandarin developed by UCR. It was developed back in the 1950's. They do have a hint of grapefruit, but are not bitter in the least and have a very distinctive orange flavor. I absolutely LOVE them to pieces. My favorite of all my grapefruit or pummelos and hybrids of. Here's a link to them at UC Riverside's Citrus Collection website. Your parents are lucky to have such a lovely, mature tree. And, they're ripe right now, too!! Yummm.

Here is a link that might be useful: UC Riverside Citrus Collection: Cocktail Pummelo Hybrid

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 10:43PM
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If those are Cocktail grapefruit they should be quite seedy, an unfortunate property of an otherwise great fruit.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 11:24PM
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dimitrig(SoCal z10a/21)

Wow! That looks like the right fruit! I am impressed!

I did find some pages about 'Cocktail' which show pictures where the flesh and rind have an orange color, but the ones may dad has (and those in the link you posted) do not. Not sure why the discrepancy.

I am pretty sure you identified the mystery tree!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 11:37PM
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I am duly impressed by your knowledge of obscure information. Makes me wonder why it was never officially released. Sounds like something I would like to add to my arboretum of obscure species.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 11:54PM
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It sounds like it is similar to the "Golden GF". Golden is usually yellowish green outside but is more mandarin orange inside and really seedy. Of course if one cuts it along the equator, and eats it with a GF spoon, the seeds are easily flicked away. It is just too soft and juicy to peal and eat by sections with out getting all sticky. Golden too is a little sweet and very low in delayed bitterness.

It was found as a chance seedling near Monte Alto, Texas. Few are grown commercially but it is a boon to door yard growers.

I have one growing on Swingle (#4475 if you want to be technical.) It is delicious. The blossoms are the most pleasingly fragrant of all citrus I have ever observed.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 1:15AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

John, HAH! It is truly terrifying the amount of worthless information I know! My husband continually bugs me to try out for Jeopardy, lol (which really is code for discovering just how truly stupid you are)! I only know this little fact because I happen to love, love, love the Cocktail pummelo hybrid. I like my citrus on the sweet side, but with perfect acid to sugar ratio. Cocktail does that. It never made it to the commercial marketplace due to it's high seed content, and also that it is a little more tender-skinned that other citrus. Plus, it's just not really "anything" - it's not a grapefruit, it's not an orange. Sort of all the same reasons (except the seediness) that Meyer lemons face, in fact. What has happened for both varieties is a fascinating grassroots campaign that has caused both of this very wonderful varieties to develop a bit of a cult-following amoungst citrus lovers. You would love them, John. If you can find a marketplace for all your lovely Meyer's, I'm betting those same clients would scramble for the Cocktail. It is most definitely worthy of a place in everyone's collection, imho. Try squeezing the juice and combining it with some Moro orange juice. To die for.

And tantanman, I wonder if your "Golden" GF is another name for the Cocktail? Sounds exactly the same. I've not heard of that particular variety, but by description, is sounds identical to our Cocktail.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 11:49AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

dimitrig, my Cocktail fruit do not have orangish skins. They're yellow. Deeper yellow than say, a Melogold or Oro Blanco, but definitely not orangish. Kind of like my Meyer lemons that get a very strong yellow color, as opposed to the paler yellow of the Eureka. But, the pulp to me does have an orangish tint. Here's a couple of photos comparing my smaller Cocktail to the slightly larger Oro Blanco:

The comparison makes the Cocktail look orange on the outside, but I don't have an orange to compare it to right now. I'll see if I can snag some Valencias tomorrow and do a 3-way photo. That would really be much more helpful in showing the colorations of the 3 fruits.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 9:10PM
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dimitrig(SoCal z10a/21)

I am almost 100% it is 'Cocktail.' The fruit is very seedy and looks like the photos you posted.

It does not sound the same as 'Golden GF' in that the rind is not green at all and I am able to eat the fruit in sections like an orange.

In this photo the rind is very clearly greenish, which is not the case for the fruit in question:


    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 1:12AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

I agree, dimitrig, sure doesn't sound like a 'Golden', plus the inside of the 'Golden' looks even more orange than the Cocktail. My Cocktails are actually easier to eat like an orange, segmented, too. Plus, what I really, really like about the Cocktail is that the membranes are not in the least bit bitter, like the Oro Blanco's can be (I end up spitting out the membranes most of the time, but still worth eating as it's a very sweet grapefruit.) Plus, I don't think we have any Golden grapefruit here in California. I have never, ever heard of this variety. I think it's really more a Texas and Florida citrus. I'd love to try one, though, and maybe even grow one if I can find it here in California! If anyone has any seeds they can mail me (those of you in Texas, Louisiana and Florida cannot mail seeds out of state as you are under a HLB quarantine), I'd venture a try. California can accept seeds still, since we're just under ACP quarantine, but not HLB quarantine.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 11:21AM
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