From Blood Orange to Valencia, we’re covering the most popular types of oranges from A to Z in this helpful guide to oranges!
There are over 400 different types of oranges worldwide, and many of these were developed in just the last 100 years. Oranges are actually a hybrid of the Pomelo and Mandarin, and are sometimes referred to as the Sweet Orange. They are native to Southern China, Northeast India, and Myanmar, and have been cultivated for over 2,000 years.
Today sweet oranges makeup about 70% of all citrus produced worldwide, and are the most cultivated tree in the world! Kudos to the humble orange. We are just going to look at some of the most common orange varieties (plus a few that aren’t so common). Have you heard of them all?
Types Of Oranges
- Belladonna Orange
- Biondo Comune Orange
- Blood Orange
- Byeonggyul Orange
- Cherry Orange
- Chinotto Orange
- Cleopatra Mandarin
- Daidai Bitter Orange
- Dream Navel
- Hamlin Orange
- Homosassa Orange
- Jaffa Orange
- Jincheng Orange
- Lima Orange
- Maltaise Ovale Orange
- Mandarin Orange
- Midsweet Orange
- Moro Orange
- Murcott Orange
- Narinj Orange
- Navel Orange
- Navelina Orange
- Ovale Orange
- Parson Brown Orange
- Pineapple Orange
- Rhode Red Valencia Orange
- Salustiana Orange
- Satsuma Orange
- Scarlet Navel Orange
- Seville Orange
- Sicilian Red Orange
- Tarocco Orange
- Trifoliate Orange
- Valencia Orange
- Washington Navel Orange
The Belladonna is a variety of Italian Tarocco Sweet Orange. They are blonde oranges prized for being extremely juicy, and are thus the ideal orange for juicing or eating out of hand. Belladonna are fragrant oranges, so display them in a bowl on your table until you are ready to use them. This is a mostly seedless sweet orange from Southern Italy that is today also grown in the USA.
Biondo Comune Orange
This orange was created in Italy in 1961 and is known for its sweetness, but unfortunately also for being overly seedy. This may be why the variety has fallen from favor and may soon no longer be grown. For now it is available in some areas of Italy.
Blood Oranges are simply an orange mutation provided to us by nature (vs a human induced hybrid). They contain anthocyanins which gives them their blood red pulp, but also a beneficial antioxidant component. The anthocyanins develop due to a combination of warm days and cool nights. Besides their extra health benefits, blood oranges are typically easier to peel than other types of oranges, have fewer or no seeds, and are generally quite sweet. Their distinct colors make them great in fruit salads, cheese boards (combine them with other orange or mandarin varieties for a nice color presentation), or just eat them raw.
Byeonggyul Oranges are native to Jeju Island in South Korea where these small oranges are revered. A tree there believed to be around 250 years old was designated a national treasure. Byeonggyul are known for their sweet flavor and for being cold and insect resistant. Byeonggyul are eaten raw, dried, candied and as cooking flavoring normally through zesting.
The Cherry Orange certainly has a promising name combining two great fruits, but the origin of the name is unclear. Sadly, they do not taste like cherries. They are also known as the West African Orange as they grow in Uganda, Angola, Mozambique, and the DRC. They are a small & sweet orange mostly eaten out of hand. As an aside, their roots are locally believed to treat impotence which has led to the loss of many trees due to illicit destruction and theft. The little blue pill would be easier.
This is a sour orange grown primarily in Italy, but popular around the Mediterranean and Middle East. They are used primarily as a zest, in liqueurs, and candied. You can find them candied in some Italian cafes as a condiment.
Clementines are a hybrid between mandarin and sweet orange, but probably most closely resemble mandarins. You may know them more by the trademark names Cuties or Halos. Like mandarins they are small, very sweet, easy to peel, and make great snacks. We think their best uses are eating out of hand, in fruit salad, on charcuterie trays, or just sitting on the table in a bowl looking tempting and adorable.
These mandarins often present with a bright orange color, but don’t be deceived, they are said to be very bitter.
Daidai Bitter Orange
The Daidai is an Asian variety of bitter orange. It appears to have come from the Himalayas then spread to China and Japan. It is so bitter and acidic that it is not often eaten raw, but rather used in essential oils and some regional medicinal purposes.
Dream Navels are the smallest of navel oranges, but some argue also the sweetest and most delicious. Like other navel oranges they are seedless and juicy. The variety was developed by a Florida grower, D.J. Nicholson, in 1939 and released upon patent approval in 1944. You may have noticed in this post that there are a large number of varieties developed in the last 100 years. This is the case with many fruits with literally hundreds of new apple varieties appearing in just the last 50 years.
The Hamlin Orange originated in Florida in 1879 produced by Mr. A.G. Hamlin. This is a round, sweet, juicy, and thin skinned orange with very few seeds making it great juiced or eaten fresh. Its sweetness is accelerated in mildly cold weather giving the Hamlin a wider range of potential cultivation. The development of new orange varieties with so many superior characteristics has over time pushed some of the older varieties out of production, but that has been good for both consumers and growers.
The Homosassa Orange was found growing in the orchard of Mr. Yulee of Homosassa Florida around 1865. This was a popular orange in the 19th Century with many orchards growing it. Today it is in much more limited production only in select, mostly older, orchards. While the Homosassa is a sweet orange, it is generally seen as a run of the mill orange which is likely why it fell out of production over time.
Kumquats are only related to the orange, but we thought we would include them as we love the name and the fruit. They are much smaller than most oranges, and you don’t peel them. In fact the peel is generally the sweetest part of the fruit. Eat them whole, in fruit salad, in preserves, or in a variety of desserts. These ancient fruits come from Southern China where the first mention of them in literature dates back to the 12th Century.
Jaffa Oranges are grown around the Mediterranean Sea and in the Middle East. They named after the Israeli city of Jaffa from which they were first exported. The Jaffa is an oval-shaped orange noted for its sweetness, but only modestly juicy pulp. They have few seeds and a thick rind, and were developed by Arab growers sometime during the 1800s. Regionally it is eaten fresh or added into both sweet and savory cuisine.
This sweet orange was developed in China in the 1980s and has become quite popular in China where it is called the Golden Orange. It yields a lot of juice for its size, so it is often used commercially for that purpose. The USDA brought the Jincheng to the US where it is also used in juice production.
Lima Oranges are native to China, but Brazil is the leading producer today. They are a small to medium sized orange known for their sweetness and juiciness, making them particularly good eaten raw. Their sweetness would make them a good add to this Orange Sweet Roll Recipe.
Maltaise Ovale Orange
The Maltaise Ovale Orange originated around the Mediterranean Sea and draws its name in reference to the island nation of Malta where it is heavily grown. It was imported to California in the 19th Century followed shortly after to Florida. This is a mild flavored orange with average juice content. The variety has fallen from production in the 20th century mostly because it was competing with other mid-season varieties. Orange growers have to not only produce flavorful fruits for specific purposes, but also must grow oranges that are at peak ripeness at different times of the season.
Mandarin Oranges are a small, easy peeling orange variety. There are multiple types of mandarin oranges, and they are all generally sweeter and less acidic than the larger orange varieties.
Mandarins originated in India before traveling across China where they picked up the name “mandarin”. They were imported to England, across Europe to Italy, and transited the Mediterranean Sea to the Moroccan port of Tangier, where they garnered another name, “tangerine”. That is probably more historical context than you wanted, but it shows how many fruits found their way across the globe over time! Mandarins are a global favorite as they are sweet and easy to peel. They are great eaten out of hand, on salads, and baked since they are all but seedless. For more on these little gems see Mandarin Oranges 101.
The Midsweet is a juicy sour-sweet orange (thus the name) commonly grown in home gardens. They are known for a pleasant flavor and high yield. The midsweet is a relatively new variety produced by the USDA in 1987.
The Moro orange is a particularly colorful variety of blood orange. Its flesh is an aesthetic deep red with a pinkish skin. The Moro is one of the three most common blood oranges available in the United States. Like other blood oranges, it is loaded with healthy anthocyanin, and its color makes for great presentation. Put a combination of blood red segments together with traditional orange colored segments in your fruit salad for an impressive display.
The Murcott was developed by the USDA citrus breeding program in Florida around 1913. It is an unusual tree as it tends to alternate moderate fruit bearing years with excessive production that puts the trees own survival at risk from what grows call murcott collapse. The oranges are a medium sized fruit with a bright orange pulp and a thin easy to peel skin.
Narenj is the Iranian name for the Bitter Orange native to that nation. It is also called the sour orange, marmalade orange, and in the Middle-East the King of Citrus. They are a bit sour and often used in lieu of lemons or limes as well as in making essential oils and medicinal purposes.
We will highlight a few specific navel orange varieties separately in this post, but this favorite deserves mention as a group as well. Navel oranges were first “discovered” growing in Brazil in 1820. The name came from the distinct shape of their bottom resembling a human navel. Their popularity, however, comes not from their belly button but from their reliable sweetness and juiciness. This makes any of the navel orange varieties perfect in this Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie. Other common uses for navel oranges include zesting for baking and of course eating raw or in fruit salads.
The Navelina orange is a great example of how fruits today evolve and move across the globe. They originated in California where they were found in 1910 as a natural mutation. In 1933 the Valencian Institute of Agrarian Research imported them to Spain where they got the name Navelina. After further mutation, let’s say “development” they were introduced back to California in 1990 and are today sold around the world. They are a small navel orange known for their sweet delicious flavor which is what led to their global popularity. Easy to peel, they are great raw, in fruit salad, in yogurt or ice cream, or used to cook both sweet and savory cuisines.
The Ovale orange is a blond Italian Orange that is often yellow skinned with a yellow pulp. This is a very sugary orange making them good in a lot of applications like juice, jams, candied, or just eaten raw. It is a late producing fruit coming ripe in Italy from March to June. This is going to be a hard fruit to find in the USA, but you might find them at a good international market.
Parson Brown Orange
Parson Brown oranges were developed in Florida, and are known for their sweetness. They are unfortunately quite seedy which keeps their popularity down. They developed naturally (without human help) on the property of Mr N.L Brown in 1856, but were not commercialized until 1875 when they were named after their original “owner”. This is a good juicing orange that would be great in our favorite Almond Orange Smoothie Bowl.
This is one of the oldest cultivated oranges in Florida, but production has fallen dramatically in recent years as seedless varieties grow in popularity. As a result, the pineapple orange has become difficult to find. They do not taste like pineapples, but are very juicy and sweet. The name was given to it in the 1860s shortly after development due to its fragrance.
Rhode Red Valencia Orange
The Rhode Red was discovered growing in Florida in 1955. It produces more than a normal amount of juice from its deep orange pulp. Coupling its volume of juice with its low seed count, makes it a great juicing variety.
The Salustiana orange was developed in Spain in 1950 as a seedless (well 1 or fewer seeds per fruit qualifies) variety with a sweet taste. It is sometimes called the Blonde Orange due to its light skin. Its large size and pleasant flavor have made this Spain’s favorite orange where it is mostly eaten fresh or juiced. It is today also grown in South Africa, Morocco, Argentina, and Australia.
Satsuma oranges are a mandarin variety related to tangerines and clementines. Their claim to fame is being the orange most commonly used in canned mandarin oranges. The obvious use is in fruit salad or sprinkled on top of green salads. The name is Japanese and harkens back to the orange’s origin in Japan over 700 years ago. Like other mandarins the Satsuma is sweet, seedless, juicy, and oh so easy to peel. Try them in these Meal Prep Snack Boxes!
Scarlet Navel Orange
Scarlet Navel Oranges, also called Cara Cara, are juicy, sweet, and seedless. What more could you want? Well they have 20% more vitamin C and 30% more vitamin A than their cousin the golden navel. The superior nutrition profile and color are both the result of an increased amount of lycopene in these oranges. These oranges were a naturally produced cultivar found growing in Venezuela in 1976, and shortly after adopted in the US. Scarlet navels have a pink to red pulp and are great eaten fresh or juiced into a ruby colored juice.
Seville Oranges are of Mediterranean origin and are a cross between the pomelo and mandarin. Sometimes called sour oranges. They aren’t ideal for eating raw like so many other oranges due to their bitter & sour flavor. They are used primarily in sauces, vinaigrettes, and marinades. The juice and zest are often used in both sweet and savory recipes, and the rind can be candied. Seville oranges can even be used as a substitute for key limes. You might try them as a substitute in this Key Lime Pie Smoothie.
Sicilian Red Orange
These oranges are only grown in Sicily and are known for their dark red pulp and distinct flavor. They are eaten both out of hand and juiced. Like other red pulp oranges, they are considered exceptionally healthy due to their antioxidant contents provided by anthocyanin. This all begs the question, if this is such a great orange variety why are they only grown in Sicily? Well their unique characteristics are the result of a combination of Mount Etna’s snowy conditions contrasted with warm daytime sun. The extreme temperature fluctuations appear to be the reason for the red colored pulp as well as its antioxidants and high vitamin C content. These conditions are difficult to replicate elsewhere making this orange a Sicilian specialty. The Sicilians know they have something special here, so every February in the town of Palagonia they have a festival that honors their namesake orange.
Tangelo are a cross between a tangerine and a pomelo, and are known for their sweetness and tart aftertaste. They are easily identified by their distinctive bump or nipple at the stem. Tangelo can be used in pretty much any application you would use a mandarin orange (helloooo Orange Creamicle Popsicles!)
Tangerines are a variety of Mandarin. They are believed to have originated in India before spreading to China where they gained the name Mandarin. From China they were carried to England and Europe before crossing the Mediterranean Sea to the Moroccan port of Tangier where the name Tangerine was adopted. Okay, that is probably more history than you wanted, but we think it of interest in understanding how popular fruits spread across the globe over time!
Tangerines are known, and loved, for their ease of peeling and sweet flavor. They are great for juicing, snacking, baking, salads, and use in a variety of drinks. They have a long growing season (November through May), so you have a lot of time to snag these gems while they are in prime season. For more on these popular fruits check out Tangerines and Mandarins 101.
Tarocco Oranges are a variety of blood orange grown predominantly in Sicily. Their origin was along the slopes of Mount Etna, but their popularity took them across Italy and to the United States in 1880 and later coastal California. You won’t likely find these in your grocery, so check specialty markets. These oranges are known for their rich flavor with a hint of berry taste. Our recommended use is in fruit salad, orange marmalade, stir fry, or raw.
Trifoliate oranges are also known as Flying Dragon Bitter Oranges or Hardy Oranges. Both names describe the orange’s characteristics well. They are probably the most cold resistant orange making them popular in both China and Korea. The Trifoliate is also pretty sour. Understandably, they aren’t great eaten raw, but often used in cooking. They would be good in this Sticky Orange Cauliflower recipe. They are also often candied or made into marmalade.
Valencia oranges are named after Valencia Spain though their origin is American. They are a hybrid orange produced by a Mr. William Wolfskill in California in the 1800s. They are grown commercially in both California and Florida primarily as juice oranges, but their taste certainly supports eating them raw as well. Try them in our favorite Orange Smoothie Bowl.
Washington Navel Orange
Navel oranges are the most popular orange worldwide. They originated in Brazil, but in 1870 a cutting was shipped to Washington DC where the resulting tree and fruit gained the name Washington Navel. This is a consumer favorite as it is a sweet seedless orange that is easy to peel and juicy. Producers like the variety as the trees are highly productive, no pollinator is required, and they have a long hang time on the tree.
Well that ends our types of oranges deep dive. We hope you have found a new favorite or two you can work into your cooking or just keep in your fruit bowl. As always, happy cooking!