Washington Navel Orange Trees are round-topped, have a somewhat droopy canopy. These fruit trees produce white, fragrant blooms that produce seedless fruit. The flesh of Washington Navel Orange is deeply colored, firm and delicious. It is also juicy and has sweet and tangy taste.
The origin of the Washington navel orange tree is a little bit clouded since the growers from Bahia, Brazil where the bud sport originated from tell different stories. However, it seems likely that this fruit tree formed from a mutation of a Laranja Selecta orange tree around 1810-1820.
The Navel Orange from Bahia, Brazil was first introduced to Australia in 1824 and to Florida in 1835. In 1870 they were received from Australia by the Superintendent of gardens and grounds for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, William 0. Saunder. The twelve cuttings from Australia were immediately propagated and distributed. Some were transplanted to Riverside, California in 1973 and started producing sweet, juicy, seedless fruit that has a crisp texture and an easy-to-peel skin. Because of its availability in winter and its other great qualities Navel oranges became popular – widely known as Washington Navel Orange, named after its origins – and soon became the foundation of California’s citrus industry.
Navel Orange citrus trees are not particularly vigorous trees. They are round-topped, have a somewhat droopy canopy, and grow to about 8’-12’ in height when they reach maturity. These fruit trees produce white, fragrant blooms that lack viable pollen causing it to produce seedless fruit. The flowers’ insufficiency in producing pollen translates to it not being able to pollinate other citrus trees, and its inability to propagate more navel orange trees on its own. Therfore, navels must be propagated thru grafting onto other varieties of citrus trees.