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Citrus ID






Murcot, Murcott Honey, Smith (sec. Cottin 2002)

Cultivar or taxon


Citrus x aurantium L., pro sp. [Tangor Group] [=Citrus reticulata Blanco X Citrus x aurantium L., pro sp. [Sweet Orange Group]] (sensu Mabberley 1997, 2004); Citrus reticulata Blanco x Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck (sensu Swingle and Reece 1967; sensu Tanaka sec. Cottin 2002)



Hodgson (1967) noted that:

"The origin of Murcott is unknown and its history obscure. The oldest known budded tree, from which the present commercial acreage largely if not entirely traces, still remains on the place formerly owned by a nurseryman, Charles Murcott Smith, in Bayview, Clearwater, Florida, and is thought to have been budded about 1922 (Ziegler and Wolfe 1961). It is believed that the budwood was obtained from a neighbor, R. D. Hoyt of Safety Harbor, who was a cooperator in the citrus breeding program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which maintained a nursery of citrus hybrids at Little River, Miami, until about 1916. Evidently the parent tree was one of the hybrids which Mr. Hoyt received from the Department of Agriculture nursery at Miami sometime prior to 1916. Unfortunately, records are not available concerning this transaction or the labels for the trees provided. Under the name Honey Murcott, small-scale commercial propagation was undertaken by the Indian Rocks Nursery in 1928. The first commercial planting, which brought this variety to prominence and is largely responsible for its present popularity, seems to have been that of J. Ward Smith (no relation to C. Murcott Smith), near Brooksville in 1944, who first marketed the fruit under the name Smith tangerine, apparently unaware that it had already been named.

It is the consensus of Florida horticulturists that this variety is a tangor of unknown origin resulting from the breeding program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture."

The Chiefland Budwood Facility (2010) provided the following notes on the cultivar (clone 130-1): "Open pollinated seedlings near Bradenton in Manatee County....Origin: Florida, tangor, unknown origin, named after Charlie Murcott Smith"



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 short or medium; wings narrow, adjoining the blade. Leaflets one, margin bluntly toothed, shade leaflet blades flat or weakly conduplicate, sun leaflet blades weakly conduplicate. Scent of crushed leaflets mandarin-like. Fruit broader than long; rind yellow (7-10), yellow-orange (11), orange (12), or red-orange (13); rind texture slightly rough (4-5); firmness leathery; navel absent; flesh orange; taste acidic-sweet.


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


"Fruit medium in size, firm, oblate to subglobose; shallowly ribbed to conform with segments; both base and apex flattened or slightly depressed. Rind thin, rather tightly adherent and not readily peelable; surface smooth to slightly pebbled; color yellowish-orange at maturity. Segments 11 to 12, moderately adherent; axis medium-large and semi-hollow. Flesh orange-colored; tender, very juicy; flavor very rich and sprightly. Seeds small, few to numerous, and cotyledons white. Medium-late in maturity. Holds only moderately well on tree with some granulation but does not puff. Ships exceptionally well.


Tree medium in vigor and size, upright-growing with long, willowy branches; leaves medium-small, lanceolate, and sharp-pointed. Fruit mainly borne terminally and hence exposed to wind, frost, and sunburn injury. Productive but with tendency to alternate bearing and one of the most sensitive mandarins to cold."


The Chiefland Budwood Facility (2010) provided the following additional notes on the cultivar (clone 130-1): "Traits are characteristic of the Murcott variety, good yields and vigorous.... Description: Thin rind, alternate bearing, cold sensitive, seedy 10-20, bud union problems with citranges and citrumelos. Season: Mid-late, January-"



Hodgson (1967) additionally noted that:

"To avoid confusion with the hybrid Honey mandarin variety of California origin, the name Honey should not be used for this variety even as an appendage. Likewise, the name Smith should be dropped since Murcott clearly has priority."

"During the past decade, Murcott has been planted rather extensively, in Florida. The 1961 plantings, mostly nonbearing, were reported at 5,400 acres and the 1961-62 crop at approximately 175,000 boxes (70-lb equivalents). Because of its rich flavor and deep orange-colored flesh and juice, Murcott is a favorite with gift fruit packers."



Chiefland Budwood Facility. 2010. 2010 Annual report July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010. Bureau of Citrus Budwood Registration, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Winter Haven.

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

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: The Citrus Industry. Ed. 2. Vol. I. W. Reuther, H. J. Webber, and L. D. Batchelor, eds. Riverside: University of California.

Ziegler, L. W., and H.S. Wolfe. 1961. Citrus growing in Florida. Univ. Fla. Press, Gainesville. 248 pp.



Search for this cultivar in NCBI Entrez or NCBI Nucleotide

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


Citrus ID Edition 2
October, 2011