What is a tangelo

Minneola Tangelo

What makes a tangelo different from a tangerine, mandarin, or an orange? They are a hybrid fruit, made from the natural genetic crossing of two different fruits by a horticulturalist. Tangelos are a cross between a Dancy tangerine and an ancestral variety of grapefruit called pomelo. Their name borrows a little from each, tang-elo. The sweet, intense flavor of tangerines comes through in a tangelo but is tempered by the tart and tangy, flowery taste of grapefruit. This results in a fruit that is sweet-tart, exotic in flavor and extremely juicy.

There are several popular varieties of tangelo, including the Honeybell, Orlando, and Minneola. The Minneola tangelo specifically is a cross between a Dancy tangerine and a Duncan grapefruit, making their grapefruit characteristics stronger than other varieties. Hybridized and released by the USDA Horticultural Research Station in Orlando, Florida in 1931, the fruit is named after the small nearby town of Minneola, Florida. It remains a common fruit in that region of the U.S. and has grown in popularity to the point where it can be found seasonally all over the country.

Minneola’s nutritional profile is similar to that of other citrus. Like oranges, they are an excellent source of vitamin C, folate and potassium. Although all citrus is seasonal and generally abundant from late fall to spring, tangelos are highly seasonal and typically available from December through March. For those in the know, this makes them a sought-after item similar to clementine mandarins or Ruby Red grapefruits.

Seedless and easy to peel, Minneolas make a good choice for lunchboxes or snacks on-the-go; eating them fresh out-of-hand is the best way to appreciate their unique flavor. In the kitchen, their sweet and tangy profile substitutes well in recipes that call for oranges, grapefruits, even lemons (as in baked goods or vinaigrettes). Add peeled sections of Minneola to green, leafy salads for a tender, juicy bite. Combine slices of different varieties of in-season citrus like pink grapefruits, orange tangelos, and crimson blood oranges to make a beautiful citrus plate or fruit salad. Minneola tangelos can be used to make a delicious salsa for fish and seafood in place of pineapple or mango.

You can also juice tangelos and use their unique flavor to add a sophisticated twist to beverages and cocktails where you might normally use orange juice. Make an easy party-worthy Tangelo-Ginger punch by mixing tangelo juice in equal parts with non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider, grated, pressed fresh ginger juice (or bottled ginger juice), and lots of sliced tangelo rings. When cooking, don’t forget the zest: just a pinch of Minneola zest will add an exotic element to simple orange juice-based sauces for chicken, fish, or tofu. Tangelo zest and juice make a delicious contribution to this Tangelo Chicken Pasta Salad.

When shopping for Minneolas, look for a bright reddish-orange fruit about the size of a baseball or slightly larger, with a small, characteristic bulb protruding on the stem end. Select fruit that is heavy for its size, with soft, pliable skin. Citrus fruits with a stiff or firm peel are sometimes less juicy, or “dry,” inside. A fresh Minneola should last in your fruit bowl for a week to ten days, but should be refrigerated if kept longer (up to 3-4 weeks). As with all citrus, the fresher it is the sweeter and more lively the flavor, so purchase just what you can use, and purchase often! These seasonal gems are here and gone.

Tangelo Tree Information: Learn About Tangelo Tree Care & Cultivation

Neither a tangerine or a pummelo (or grapefruit), tangelo tree information classifies the tangelo as being in a class all its own. Tangelo trees grow to the size of the standard orange tree and are more cold hardy than grapefruit but less so than the tangerine. Delicious and sweet smelling, the question is, “Can you grow a tangelo tree?”

About Tangelo Trees

Additional tangelo tree information tells us that technically, or rather botanically, tangelos are a hybrid of Citrus paradisi and Citrus reticulata and named thus by W.T. Swingle and H. J. Webber. Further information about tangelo trees indicates that the fruit is a cross between the Duncan grapefruit and the Dancy tangerine of the family Rutaceae.

An evergreen with fragrant white flowers, the tangelo tree produces fruit looking much like an orange but with a bulbous stem end, smooth to slightly bumpy rind and an easily removable peel. The fruit is prized for its extremely juicy flesh, slightly acidic to sweet and aromatic.

Propagating Tangelo Trees

Because tangelos are self-sterile, they reproduce almost completely true to type through seed propagation. Although not commercially grown in California, tangelos require a climate similar to southern California and are indeed cultivated in southern Florida and Arizona.

Propagating tangelo trees is best done through disease resistant root stock, which can be obtained online or through the local nursery depending upon your location. Minneolas and Orlandos are two of the most common varieties, although there are many others to choose from.

Tangelos grow best and are hardy in USDA zones 9-11, although they can also be container grown indoors or in a greenhouse in colder climes.

Tangelo Tree Care

Promote the formation of healthy roots in the young tree by watering 1 inch of water once a week during the growing season. Don’t mulch around the tree or allow grass or weeds to surround the base. Citrus trees do not like wet feet, which fosters root rot and other diseases and fungi. Any of the above around the base of your tangelo will encourage disease.

Feed tangelo trees as soon as new growth appears on the tree with a fertilizer specifically made for citrus trees for optimal production and general tangelo tree care. Early spring (or late winter) is also a good time to prune out any diseased, damaged or problematic branches to improve air circulation and general health. Remove any suckers at the base as well.

The tangelo tree will need to be protected from temps below 20 F. (-7) by covering with a blanket or landscape fabric. Tangelos are also prone to infestation by whiteflies, mites, aphids, fire ants, scale and other insects as well as diseases like greasy spot, citrus scab and melanose. Keep a close eye on your tangelo and take immediate steps to eradicate any pest or disease.

Lastly, tangelos need to be cross pollinated with another variety or citrus to fruit. If you want some of that delicious, extremely juicy fruit, plant a variety of citrus such as Temple orange, Fallgo tangerine or Sunburst tangerine no farther than 60 feet from your tangelo.

Orlando tangelo

Citrus × tangelo

CRC 3874

PI 539711

VI 19

Photos by Toni Siebert and David Karp, CVC. Photo rights.

Source: Received as budwood from USDCS, Indio, CA, via CCPP, 1958.

Parentage/origins: Orlando is a sibling of Minneola tangelo, having Duncan grapefruit and Dancy mandarin as its parents.

Rootstocks of accession: Carrizo citrange, C-35 citrange, Cleopatra mandarin, Swingle citrumelo

Season of ripeness at Riverside: November to January

Notes and observations:

The tree is moderately vigorous and slightly more cold resistant than Minneola. The leaves of Orlando tend to be cupped, and the fruit is almost round or slightly flattened. The rind is orange, thin, slightly textured, and not easily peeled. The flesh is orange, juicy, and sweet. The season of maturity is early. As with Minneola, Orlando’s blossoms are self-incompatible, and must be pollinated by a suitable pollinator to ensure satisfactory fruit set. As with Minneola, cross-pollinated fruits are seedy.

L.K Jackson and S.H. Futch: “Originally this variety was known as “Lake tangelo”, but changed to “Orlando” many years ago. The size and shape are tangerine like with an average diameter of 2 3/4 to 3 inches, with the color and texture more closely the color of an orange. Seed number will vary depending on cross-pollination from a low of zero seeds in solid blocks to as many of 35 seeds per fruit in blocks of high pollination. The rind adheres firmly to the pulp and is not easily peeled by hand. Since this variety produces poorly in solid set blocks, it is recommended that cross-pollination with Temple, Robinson, or Sunburst be used to enhance yields. Commericial harvest season is from November to January. The tree will grow to a large size and the foliage is easily recognized by the characteristic cup-shaped leaves. This variety is recognized as being one of the more cold tolerant varieties.”

Description from The Citrus Industry Vol. 1 (1967):

“Fruit medium-large, broadly oblate to subglobose; without neck; seedy. Rind orange-colored; thin, slightly pebbled, and fairly tightly adherent (not free-peeling). Segments numerous (12-14); axis small and hollow. Flesh orange-colored; tender, very juicy; flavor mildly sweet. Season of maturity early.
Tree somewhat similar to Minneola but with distinctively cupped leaves; somewhat more cold resistant; less vigorous; cross pollination recommended for regular and good production. Dancy, Clementine, and Kinnow mandarins and Temple tangor are said to be good pollinators. Minneola tangelo is cross-incompatible.
Orlando is of the same parentage as Minneola and Seminole—a hybrid of Duncan grapefruit and Dancy tangerine. Originally it was named Lake, but it was later renamed to avoid confusion. Its earliness of maturity, good shipping quality, and pleasant flavor made it the outstanding popular tangelo in Florida, where the annual production in 1965 exceeded a million boxes. In the low elevation regions of Arizona and California, there is increasing interest in its culture. Total plantings in 1964 consisted of 610 acres. “

Availability: Commercially available in California through the Citrus Clonal Protection Program. rder budwood.

USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network page for Orlando tangelo


“Facts about specialty citrus characteristics”, L.K. Jackson and S. H. Futch, Citrus Industry, April 1994, pgs. 57 & 66.

Minneola tangelo

Citrus × tangelo

CRC 3340

PI 539709

VI 174 (The CVC does not have VI 20 or VI 208)

Photos by David Karp and Toni Siebert, CVC. Photo rights.

Source: Received as budwood from John Carpenter, USDCS, Indio, CA, 1961. Carpenter received budwood from USDA Station at Weslaco, Texas, 1958-1960.

Parentage/origins: Minneola is a tangelo, a hybrid of Duncan grapefruit and Dancy mandarin, sometimes marketed under the name Honeybell. It was developed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and released in 1931.

Rootstocks of accession: Carrizo citrange, C-35 citrange

Season of ripeness at Riverside: January to March

Notes and observations:

The tree grows vigorously to a large size. The fruit is round with a pronounced neck and smooth red-orange rind that can be peeled. The flavor is rich and juicy, with a touch of its grapefruit parent’s tartness. Minneola should be harvested late in the season to ensure the fruit reaches a desirable sugar to acid ratio. Minneola blossoms are self-incompatible and must be cross-pollinated by a suitable pollinator to assure good fruit set. Most mandarin-types are suitable pollinators, with the exception of Satsumas and Minneola’s siblings, Orlando and Seminole. Unfortunately, when cross-pollinated, Minneola’s fruits tend to be seedy.

Description from The Citrus Industry Vol. 1 (1967):

“Fruit large, oblate to obovate; neck usually fairly prominent; seeds comparatively few, with greenish cotyledons. Rind color deep reddish-orange; medium-thin, with smooth, finely pitted surface, and moderately adherent (not loose-skin). Segments 10 to 12 and axis small and hollow. Flesh orange-colored; tender, juicy, aromatic; flavor rich and tart. Medium late in maturity.
Tree vigorous and productive with large, long-pointed leaves. Less cold-resistant than Orlando. Cross-pollination recommended for regular and heavy production. Dancy, Clementine, and Kinnow mandarins appear to be satisfactory pollinators. Orlando tangelo is cross-incompatible.
Minneola is a hybrid of Duncan grapefruit and Dancy tangerine produced in Florida by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and named and released in 1931. Its attractive color, excellent flavor, and low seed content have popularized it in Florida where it is currently of limited commercial importance. There is increasing interest in its culture in the low elevation desert regions of Arizona and California, where total plantings were reported to be 594 acres in 1964.”

Availability: Commercially available in California through the Citrus Clonal Protection Program. rder budwood.

USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network page for Minneola tangelo


The Minneola is an extraordinarily juicy citrus fruit with a distinct and attractive taste. It can be prone to acidity, depending on the growing regions, but is of excellent quality for those who like a touch of tartness to balance the flavour. It is usually seedless, is very easy to peel, and feels quite soft of touch when mature. The shape is round with a distinctive neck, and the peel is finely pebbled, almost smooth with an attractive deep orange-red colouration.

As they are fairly cold-hardy, Minneola trees can adapt well to a wide range of climates and can cope with the hot conditions of the sub-tropics as well as the cooler Mediterranean climates. It is a mid-season fruit.

Minneola from Peru seem to be less acidic than most, but the harvest timing is also important as the fruit can be visually mature before the internal quality had properly developed.

For consumers, Minneola offers a fine flavour with a good acidic tang and copious amounts of juice in the soft flesh.

Good Fruit Guide Rating: ****

Names: Minneola Tangelo; Minneola; Honeybell

Origin: The Minneola is a tangelo rather than an orange or mandarin, so does not strictly belong in either category. It is the result of a cross between a grapefruit (Duncan) and a mandarin (Dancy tangerine), hence its description as a tangelo. It was originally produced by Swingle, Robinson and Savage at the UDSA, Orlando, Florida, 1931.

Grown in:. Florida, South Africa, Peru, Turkey, Israel

Harvest & Availability:


University of California, Riverside – Minneola

Florida Tangelo May Be the Most Exciting of the Citrus Fruits

By : The Hale Groves Team | On : November 28, 2013 | Category : Fruit Facts

There you are standing in the fruit aisle of the grocery store once again debating what fruit you are more in the mood for this week. After all, with so many delicious options, it is often hard to limit yourself to one citrus fruit craving for the day or the week. So the next time you start feeling torn between the decision to choose one or the other, why not try a Florida tangelo as your citrus choice?

What in the world is a tangelo you ask? A tangelo, commonly referred to as a honeybell, is a combination citrus fruits out of Florida. If you have ever imagined combining the delicious sweetness of a tangerine with the tangy taste of a grapefruit, then the tangelo will make your wishes come true.

Today everyone has heard over and over about the new influx of hybrid cars, but what about a hybrid fruit? Back in the early 1900’s, a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture who was obviously way ahead of the hybrid game, concocted this delicious crossbreed fruit. This tangerine and grapefruit hybrid has the best elements of both citrus fruits, with a powerful fill of luscious juice. Some of the other perks of these citrus fruits are that the skin of the tangelo is slightly looser, thereby making it easier to peel then many other citrus fruits. Many have described the taste of the tangelo as similar to a tangerine, but with a little extra kick and significantly less pulp then its equivalents.

You may be wondering how you can tell the tangelo apart from a sea of orange citrus fruits in the produce aisle at your local grocery store. The tangelo is unique in that it is not entirely round like some of its fruit counterparts, and instead it has a distinguishable bulge at one end that almost gives the appearance of a knob. Some have even compared its odd shape to somewhat of a bell shape.

Orlando tangelos where many of these scrumptious fruits come from, are grown on very large trees that are recognizable by their large, cup-shaped leaves. Tangelos also seem to have a mind of their own, as they are one of the only citrus fruits that engage is self picking. In other words, the tangelo is responsive to when it is perfectly ripe and at its peak for being consumed, and so it releases itself from the tree at the prime harvesting point.

At what time of year can you enjoy these delightful combination citrus fruit? Interestingly enough, the tangelo harvesting period is extremely limited, making it one of the few limited edition fruits available. Citrus fruits are usually harvested and available during the month of January only, so mark your calendars and do not miss out on this special produce luxury.

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Can citrus tree health affect the seed count in the fruit?

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Dwarf Minneola Tangelo Tree, Honeybell Hybrid Citrus (Excludes: CA,TX,LA,AZ)

USDA Prohibits Shipping Citrus to AZ, CA, LA, TX, AK, HI. If you reside in any of the states listed, your order will be cancelled. A Duncan and Dancy hybrid also called with “Honeybell” grafted onto dwarfing rootstock. Fruit is bell shaped, juicy, sweet and seedless. Peel is adherent, making it difficult to peel. Harvested December to February. Tree is susceptible to greasy spot and Alternaria requiring a vigorous spray program in spring and early summer to prevent damage to fruit. But with a little bit of work the end results are worth it. Tree is highly cold tolerant. – – – – – CITRUS: 1 Gallon (4 inch CitraPot) 1.5 – 2 Foot Height, 1 Foot Spread, .25 – .50 inch Caliper. Current age: 1.5 years Typically 3 years to fruit for most citrus. Lemons & limes ~2 years. – – – – – CITRUS: 3 Gallon 2 Foot Height, 2 Foot Spread, .50 – .75 inch Caliper. Current age: 2-3 years Typically 1-2 years to fruit for most citrus. Lemons & limes ~1 year. – – – – – CITRUS: 5 Gallon 2 – 3 Foot Height, 2 Foot Spread, .75 – 1 inch Caliper. Current age: 3-4 years Typically bearing fruit when shipped or within ~1 year. – – – – – HOW TO GROW CITRUS OUTDOORS Dig a hole 2 to 3” wider than the root ball and 4” deeper. Fill the hole half full of water. Remove tree from pot and gently fluff roots. This stimulates the roots and promotes growth. Swish tree in water to allow loose dirt on bottom of root ball to fall in hole. Fill in with soil, and as you do pull up on the tree so tap root is straight. Ensure all air pockets are filled in, by packing the dirt down on mound. Water it in well. CARE FOR YOUR TREE: Water the tree at least 3 times a week for the first two weeks, then gradually back off to twice a week. Water just enough to moisten the ground, you do not want to over saturate the ground. Do not over water the tree as this will promote root rot and damage the roots. FERTILIZE: You will want to use a fertilizer made for Citrus. Follow directions on the package. A good choice for young trees is 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 fertilizer. Always place the fertilizer along the drip line. INSECTICIDES: There are insecticidal soaps that deter insects and keep tree free of sooty mold that will darken leaves. We also recommend fish emulsion sprayed on leaves, this oil prevents insect eggs from attaching to leaves. It is also great foliar feed. You can use it with molasses every 6 weeks to help prevent insects and feed your tree. – – – – – HOW TO GROW PATIO CITRUS A 15-gallon capacity clay pot (17-18” diameter) is a good choice in containers because it adds needed weight closer to the plant’s center of gravity, reducing the risk of upsetting a tree heavily laden with fruit. MEDIA: A simple potting media can be mixed from equal components of Canadian Peat and Pearlite. Mix in 3/4 lb. (1/2 cup) of fine Dolomite so the pH of the soil is around 5.5. Moisten soil until it barely stays in a ball when squeezed in your fist and so no water can be squeezed out. PLANTING: Scrape some of original soil away from the top of plant’s root ball until some of the roots show. Plant the tree in the center of the pot to a height at which the top of the root ball is even with new soil level. Citrus are very susceptible to developing root rot if there is too much soil banked around the trunk of the tree. Allow a little of the root ball to show, to prevent rot. LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Citrus love as much light as you can give them. Place near a window that receives as much light as possible, preferably a south-facing. The more light the trees are given, the better they will grow, and the more fruit they will produce. Supplemental grow lights can help keep the tree healthy. If practical, move plant outdoors during warm months to soak up sunlight and humidity. TEMPERATURE: Citrus actively grow in temperatures between 50 and 100 degrees, with 75-90 degrees being optimum. It will not hurt the plant to keep it cold and allow it to go dormant for the winter; great care should be taken not to let the plant freeze. WATER: Citrus trees love humidity, but hate continuously wet roots, so be careful not to water your tree too much. Allow the root ball to dry well, but not to the point of wilt, then soak heavily. Spritz the foliage daily with a spray bottle or place a humidifier near the tree to help produce sweeter fruit and a healthier plant. A pan filled with gravel and water, placed under the container, is a low cost alternative. Do not place tree in the path of a heater vent. FERTILIZER: Use a water-soluble fertilizer with a 20-20-20 analysis that also has minor elements. Place 2 Tbsp (22g) of fertilizer in a gallon of water and apply to tree’s root ball, then water as normal. Do this once per month. To help your tree take up more minor elements, you can purchase a water soluble minor element solution to be applied to foliage.

Oranges / Tangerines / Tangelo


There are two major varieties of oranges: Navels and Valencias which are primarily grown in Florida and California. Depending on the time of year determines which variety and which origin is best. The main difference between the two is the seeds, Navels are seedless and Valencias have seeds.

Navel oranges are easy to spot they’re the ones with the button on the opposite end of the stem. Considered the world’s finest orange for eating, navels are seedless, and they peel and segment easily. California navels are available from November through May, with peak supplies in January, February and March. The Florida navels are usually available a month earlier and peak in late November and December.

Valencia oranges-often called summer oranges are actually available from February through October, with peak supplies in May, June and July. California valencia oranges are small to medium sized, with a few seeds. They are usually thin-skinned, very sweet and are easy peeling . The Florida valencia are very sweet but are not as easy to peel as the California varieties, which make them a great orange for slicing and making juice.

Additional Varieties

Blood oranges are known for there dark orange to red flesh. Blood oranges have been very popular in Europe for many years but are gaining popularity in the United States. There are several varieties of the blood orange. These are the Tarocco, the Sanguinello, and the Moro. Of these, the Tarocco has the greatest popularity in Europe and is grown primarily in Italy. The Sanguinello is grown in Spain, and is an almost seedless variety. It tends to have a deeper red color. The Moro is most commonly grown in the California and tends to have the darkest flesh. If one is really going for that deep crimson in juices or dishes prepared with the blood orange, the Moro may be the best choice.

Moro oranges which are available from January through mid April. Moros are small to medium sized with a thin skin and few or no seeds. Slice open a Moro and you’ll see a dramatic and beautiful bright red to deep maroon interior. Take a bite and you’ll become a fan of the intense orange taste that hints of fresh raspberry. Moro are part of the blood orange family

Cara Cara oranges, a type of navel grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley, are available January through April. Their outward appearance is similar to other navels, but their interior is a distinctive pinkish red and has an exceptionally sweet flavor with a tangy cranberry-like zing. Cara Caras are a rich source of Vitamins A and C, fiber and Lycopene. A perfect snack served as wedges, they’re also a colorful addition to beverages or squeezed into a vinaigrette salad dressing.

The Tangerine: The Citrus Jewel of the Orient

The tangerine is a small citrus fruit that is actually a variety of Mandarin orange. There are many varieties of tangerines or closely related citrus fruits that are often marketed as tangerines. Most varieties of tangerines have a loose skin and are easier to peel than oranges, and some are seedless. Here is a list of some of the common varieties of tangerines and when they are available:

Clementine – the most popular variety of tangerine, it contains very few seeds and has a glossy, dark orange peel. Clementines are often sold with the leaves attached. They are in season from mid-November to January.

Dancy – they have a dark red-orange thin peel, a fairly large number of seeds, and an excellent tart-sweet flavor. They are in season from mid-December to January.

Fairchild – known for their easy to peel “zipper skin,” Fairchild tangerines are one of the earliest varieties, available from mid-October to January.

Honey – also known as Murcott or Honey Mandarin, this variety has a thin skin, many seeds, and is very sweet and juicy. They are in season from January through April.

Royal Mandarin – also known as Temples, these are tangors, a cross between a tangerine and an orange. They are larger than other varieties of tangerines, and their tart-sweet taste is closer to that of an orange. They have very few or no seeds, and are available from mid-January to mid-March.

Satsuma – Satsumas have a lighter colored orange peel and bright orange flesh. They are less acidic than some of the other varieties, and are often sold in cans as Mandarin oranges. They are available from mid-October to the end of December.


The cousin to the tangerine is a cross between mandarin and a grapefruit or pomelo depending on the variety of tangelo.

Minneola/Honeybell Tangelos – is a citrus fruit hybrid of the ‘Bowen’ grapefruit and the ‘Dancy’ tangerine. This fruit was first released in 1931 by the United States Department of Agriculture Horticultural Research Station in Orlando. The Honeybell Tangelo fruit is extremely juicy and sweet with a slight tartness. Its rind and flesh are both a bright orange in color, a deeper shade than that of an orange. The Honeybell, or Minneola tangelo has a very short (4 week) harvest during January and February. The name “honeybell” comes from the fruit’s pear, or bell shaped appearance.

Orlando tangelo – is an early maturing tangelo is noted for its juiciness, mild and sweet flavor, and flat-round shape with a characteristic knob and large size. California/Arizona tangelos have a slightly pebbled texture, good interior and exterior color, very few seeds, and a tight-fitting rind. Orlando tangelos are available from mid-November to the beginning of February. It originated as a cross between a Duncan grapefruit and a Dancy tangerine.

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