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Citrus ID


Maltaise Ovale




California Mediterranean Sweet, Garey's Mediterranean Sweet, Keenan, Malta Egg, Maltese Oval, Mediterranean Sweet, Ovale Maltese (sec. Cottin 2002)

Cultivar or taxon


Citrus x aurantium L., pro sp. [Sweet Orange Group] (sensu Mabberley 1997, Bayer et al. 2009); Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck (sensu Swingle and Reece 1967; sensu Tanaka sec. Cottin 2002)



Hodgson (1967) noted that:

"This is an old Mediterranean variety of unknown origin which was introduced into California about 1870 by T. A. Garey, a pioneer citrus nurseryman of Los Angeles, and distributed under the name Mediterranean Sweet. At about the same time, it was brought to Florida and distributed under the name Maltese Oval. It is not the same, however, as the midseason variety introduced into Florida a few years later and distributed as Mediterranean Sweet.

Under its California name, this variety soon became important as a midseason variety, maturing between the superior Washington navel and Valencia oranges. With the expansion of the California industry into areas of different periods of maturity, overlapping production of these two varieties resulted. As a consequence, Mediterranean Sweet rapidly lost favor and was replaced. In the meantime, it was introduced into South Africa where it still retains some importance as a midseason variety, although it is no longer planted.

Two clones are recognized in California which differ only in fruit form, one being prevailingly round and the other oblong to oval."



Crown compact or dense, not weeping. First-year twig surface glabrous; second- or third-year twig surface striate; thorns absent or not persistent; prickles absent or not persistent. Petiole glabrous, length medium or long; wings narrow or medium, adjoining the blade. Leaflets one, margin bluntly toothed, shade leaflet blades weakly conduplicate, sun leaflet blades weakly or strongly conduplicate. Scent of crushed leaflets sweetly orange-like. Fruit as broad as long or longer than broad; rind yellow (7-10), yellow-orange (11), orange (12), or red-orange (13); rind texture slightly rough (4-5) or medium rough (6-7); firmness leathery; navel absent; flesh orange; taste acidic-sweet.

Hodgson (1967) provided the following additional notes on the cultivar:

"Fruit medium-sized, spherical to oval; basal collar radially furrowed; seeds relatively few. Color pale at maturity and some tendency to regreen. Rind medium-thick; surface somewhat pebbled; peels readily. Flesh pale-colored; moderately juicy; flavor mild. Medium-late in maturity.

Tree vigorous, large, spreading, and drooping; leaves long, narrow, somewhat rumpled, and of paler color than most. Distinctive in appearance."



Bayer, R.J., D.J. Mabberley, C. Morton, C.H. Miller, I.K. Sharma, B.E. Pfeil, S. Rich, R. Hitchcock, and S. Sykes. 2009. A molecular phylogeny of the orange subfamily (Rutaceae: Aurantioideae) using nine cpDNA sequences. American Journal of Botany 96: 668–685.

Cottin, R. 2002. Citrus of the World: A citrus directory. Version 2.0. France: SRA INRA-CIRAD.

Hodgson, R.W. 1967. Horticultural varieties of Citrus. In: Reuther, W., H.J. Webber, and L.D. Batchelor (eds.). The Citrus industry, rev. University of California Press.

Mabberley, D.J. 1997. A classification for edible Citrus (Rutaceae). Telopea 7: 167–172.

Swingle, W.T. and P.C. Reece. 1967. The botany of Citrus and its wild relatives. In: Reuther, W., H.J. Webber, and L.D. Batchelor (eds.). The Citrus industry. Ed. 2. Vol. I. University of California, Riverside.



Search for this cultivar in NCBI Entrez

Additional information on this cultivar at University of California: Riverside Citrus Variety Collection


Citrus ID Edition 2
October, 2011