Orange County Chapter CRFG

Sharing Information on Growing Edible Plants

In the Arboretum Today
by Alfredo Chiri

BLOOD ORANGE 
Citrus sinensis cv. Sanguinelli - Rutaceae
Donated by: CRFG/Nelson & Haluza. Planted in 1982 (r.f.033-03)
Common name: Blood Orange

The Sanguinelli blood orange, found in Spain in 1929, is characterized by its red-pigmented skin, very few seeds, sweet and tender flesh. Americans traveling in France, Italy or Spain would drink a glass of regular blood orange juice, sometimes believing it to be a mixture of regular orange juice with raspberry and other juices.

The Blood Orange varieties under certain climatic conditions will develop a pink or red flesh, juice, and rind. Their distinctive flavor, described as berry-like, has made them the most delicious of all oranges.

The development of the red pigmentation is erratic and undependable. It is definitely climate related, but exact reasons for coloration are not completely understood. The color is intense some years, while in others there is no pigmentation.

Trees grown in the interior valleys of California seem to produce fruit with the most consistent color. The Sanguinelli variety produces small fruit size and is more compact than most other sweet oranges.

The other predominant blood orange varieties in the USA are the Moro and Tarocco. The Moro blood orange is the most predictable and colorful of all the blood oranges. The fruit is medium, 3-to-4-inch fruit with deep burgundy
flesh, and reddish orange rind. The juicy fruit has a sweet tart flavor with a raspberry undertone. The fruit is easy to peel.

The Tarocco blood orange fruit is a medium to large size (4 ½ inch), but the internal red color is unreliable. Possibly it is the sweetest and most flavorful orange of all three varieties of blood oranges. The plants have been easily adapted to inland valleys of California and the desert areas.

The blood orange tree is vigorous but has a tendency to bear heavy crops alternate years. Fruit ripens December to March in inland California; February to May in coastal southern California; November to February in low-elevation desert; and February to May in northern coastal California