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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Tangelo (from tangerine and pummelo; by syncopation: tange[rine] [pumme]lo). A new group of citrous fruits originated in 1897 by the writer by crossing the Dancy tangerine with the Bowen grapefruit. The resulting hybrid, named Sampson tangelo by H. J. Webber and the writer (United States Department of Agriculture Yearbook, 1904) does not closely resemble either parent in its fruit characters, being a slightly pear-shaped thin-skinned smooth and shining fruit of medium to large size, pale orange in color, and with a rather acid sprightly flavored very soft and juicy orange-colored pulp. It ripens very late, several months after it begins to color, and sometimes becomes partly dry before complete maturity. When properly grown it is a delicious fruit. It is being grown commercially on a small scale, but its delicate skin and liability to dry out before fully ripe probably will preclude its culture except by experts for a special market.

The Thornton is another tangelo, a hybrid of tangerine with a Florida grapefruit. It is a rough thick-skinned round fruit with very pale orange-colored juice and sprightly flavored pulp. It ripens earlier than the Sampson tangelo and is less acid. It is very like a tender good-flavored orange in character. It is beginning to be grown commercially on a small scale.

The success of the first two tangelos produced by artificial hybridization has led to the creation of hundreds of additional hybrids between all the mandarin types of orange (Citrus nobilis) such as the tangerine, willow-leaf mandarin, King, Satsuma, and the like, and the better sorts of grapefruit and pummelo (Citrus grandis). These fruits in general resemble round oranges (Citrus sinensis) more than either of their parents and are exceedingly variable, sister fruits from seeds of a single cross-pollinated fruit often being very unlike. Among the tangelos there are some of much promise because of their superior flavor and juiciness.

The spread of citrus canker (a bacterial disease caused by Pseudomonas citri) to many of the hot moist orange-growing regions of the world makes it desirable to breed new types of tangelos by hybridizing the canker-resistant mandarin oranges with canker-resistant pummelos such as can be found in the Orient. Such tangelos, if canker-resistant, could perhaps be grown in place of the more susceptible round oranges, just as limequats can be grown in place of the common lime, which is very susceptible to canker.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

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A tangelo fruit (Cushman Honeybells)
A tangelo fruit (Cushman Honeybells)
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Order: Sapindales
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Family: Rutaceae
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Genus: Citrus
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Species: C. × tangelo
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Binomial name
Citrus × tangelo
J.W. Ingram & H.E. Moore, 1975
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Type Species

The tangelo is a citrus fruit that is a hybrid of any mandarin orange, popularly known as a tangerine, and either a pomelo or a grapefruit. It may have originated in Southeast Asia over 3,500 years ago. The fruits look like good-sized oranges and have a tangerine taste, but are very juicy, to the point of not providing much flesh but producing excellent and plentiful juice.



Minneola tangelo

The Minneola tangelo is a citrus fruit hybrid of 'Bowen' grapefruit and 'Dancy' tangerine. It was released in 1931 by the United States Department of Agriculture Horticultural Research Station in Orlando. The 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 Minneola tangelo has a very short (4 week) harvest during January and February.

Orlando tangelo

This early maturing tangelo is noted for its juicy, mild, sweet flavor. Orlandos are flat-round in shape and larger in size. California/Arizona Orlandos 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. The Orlando tangelo originated as a cross between a Duncan grapefruit and a Dancy tangerine. W. T. Swingle of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is credited with creating the hybrid in 1911. When the Orlando tangelo was first cultivated, it was known by the name Lake Tangelo. The trees of this variety grow to a large size and are easily recognized by their cup-shaped leaves. Orlando tangelos are recognized as being one of the more cold-tolerant varieties. However, because the Orlando tangelo is incompatible with pollination, it is suggested that they be planted with other varieties of oranges to encourage pollination.

Drug interactions

Studies by the USDA have so far shown that unlike grapefruit, interactions with statins are not likely with tangelos, even though it is derived from a grapefruit crossed with a tangerine. This is apparently because the furocoumarins in grapefruit are not expressed in tangelos[1].

Tangelos in popular culture

In the episode of the Cartoon Network show The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy entitled "Attack of the Clowns", the character Billy experiences a fear of clowns, and is told that tangelos will mess with a clown's equilibrium. It is then revealed that this information was given to him by a tangelo salesman.

Tangelos are also mentioned in an episode of Friends.

Minneola is the name of one of the visual novel developer company Navel's female mascots. (The other one is called Citrus.)

In a 1990s episode of Saturday Night Live, Dana Carvey impersonation of John McLaughlin and The McLaughlin Group television show featured the question "How large is the tumor growing inside my head?". The correct answer was "approximately the size of a tangelo."


  • Description of tangelo from Fruits of Warm Climates, (1987, ISBN 0-9610184-1-0)
  • Jackson, Larry K. and Futch, Stephen H., Fact Sheet HS-171 Retrieved March 28, 2005.
  • Krezdorn, A.H. 1981. "Fruit Set of Citrus." Proc. Int. Soc. Citriculture. 1981:249-253.
  • Krezdorn, A.H. 1977. "Influence of Rootstock on Mandarin Cultivars." Proc. Int. Soc. Citriculture. Vol. 2. p. 513-518.
  • Krezdorn, A.H. and W.J. Wiltbank. 1968. "Annual Girdling of 'Orlando' Tangelos over an Eight-Year Period." Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. Vol. 81:29-35.
  • Saunt, James. 2000. Citrus Varieties of the World. Sinclair International Limited, Norwich, England. p. 82.
  • Tucker, D.P.H., S.H. Futch, F.G. Gmitter, and M.C. Kesinger. Florida Citrus Varieties. 1998. SP-102. University of Florida. p. 31.
  • Tucker, D.P.H., A.K. Alva, L.K. Jackson, and T.A. Wheaton. 1995. Nutrition of Florida Citrus Trees. SP-169. University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service. p. 27.
  • Whiteside, J. O. 1979. "Alternaria Brown Spot of Dancy Tangerine and its Control." Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 92:34-37.

See also

External links

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