Orange varieties for Western Australia

Page last updated: Monday, 19 November 2018 - 8:43am

Mid-season navels

Washington is still the main mid-season variety in WA. The red-fleshed Cara Cara is also widely accepted although it is grown in low volumes relative to Washington at the moment.

Atwood

Available through Auscitrus and local nurseries.

Originating from a limb sport of Washington navel found in California, this variety was released in Australia in 1990. The fruit matures up to two weeks before Washington and is of similar shape, large, with orange skin and good eating qualities. The trees have a similar growth habit to Washington.

Cara Cara

Available through Auscitrus and local nurseries.

This variety was discovered in Venezuela in 1976. It has deeply coloured flesh similar to Star Ruby grapefruit but a more pinkish-orange colour. In South Africa it matures slightly earlier than Washington. In local evaluation it has excellent pink-orange internal colour and similar size and maturity time to Washington. Some reversion of tree limbs that produce fruit with normal orange flesh colour has been observed and these need to be removed or reworked as soon as they are found. Limb sports producing variegated foliage are also known to occur on some trees, reinforcing the unstable nature of this mutation. These limbs should also be removed from the trees.

Cara Cara navel orange cut in half
Cara Cara navel orange cut in half

Washington

Industry standard, available through Auscitrus and local nurseries.

This is the original seedless navel from which all other selections have been derived. Originally called Bahia, it was imported into the USA from Brazil in 1870. Trees are of medium vigour and size. Fruits are round, with a distinctive well-developed navel. Fruit colour and eating qualities are good. Compared to other citrus, maturity is early with ripening beginning in mid-May to June, depending on location, and continuing until September.

Kirkwood Red

Available through Variety Access Pty Ltd.

This variety was discovered in South Africa and is a mutation of the Plamer navel variety. It has pink/red flesh which is very similar to that of  Cara Cara when grown under West Australian conditions. Fruit are similar to Cara Cara but have shown in eastern states trials to reach optimum maturity around two to three weeks later which may be partly due to rind quality being retained for a longer period on the tree. This maturity difference has been less obvious in WA trials.

As with Cara Cara some reversion of limbs to produce fruit with normal orange flesh colour has been observed and these need to be removed as soon as they are found.

Fruit grown in South Africa has been shown to develop a distinctive pink/red coloured button and stem however this has not been evident in fruit on trees trialed in Western Australian locations. No commercial plantings of this variety have been made in WA to date.

Kirkwood Red navel orange
Kirkwood Red fruit cut in the orchard showing distinct pink/red flesh colour

Contact information

Kevin Lacey
+61 (0)8 9368 3546