Murcott Tangor Tangor
Big Red, Honey, Honey Bell, Honey Tangerine, Murcot, Murcott Honey, Red, Smith
Tangor 'Murccot' is a cross of orange 'Sweet' and tangerine C. reticulata Blanco. Therefore it is sometimes recognized as a tangerine, but it has nothing in common with hybrid tangerine 'Honey'. This cultvar was bred in 1913 by Dr. W. T. Swingle in Florida and since 1922 propagated and distributed by Charles Murcott Smith a J. Ward Smith. There's no description or information about the graft's origin, so it got was named after those men. It is sometimes called 'Honey tangerine' in USA, whereas the rest of the world (except Brazil) knows it only as 'Murcott'. It is the second most popular variety in Australia and Brazil cultivated as a typical tangerine (maybe because of its resemblance with hybrid tangerine 'Encore'). It soon becam very popular fruit for preserving, mainly thanks to its delicious dark orange pulp.
Tangor 'Murccot' is a tree that resembles a high and wide shrub and has long overhanging branches decorated with small, spear-shaped, pointed leaves. It is very resistant to chlorosis and it's usually necessary to remove some fruit early in season, so that the branches won't be damaged (or in extreme cases the tree survives). Tangor 'Murccot' is also the least cold hardy tangor of all. It produces average (4-8cm), strong and flattened fruit that can weigh up to 70-120g and has many ridges that follow the segments line. The yellow-orange rind is quite thin (2-3,5mm), difficult to peel, smooth, slightly pebbled, well attached to the pulp and can easily be damaged by wind and sun. Its intensively orange pulp is very soft, juicy (up to 55%) and has excellent aroma combined with delicious flavor. Early or unripe fruit is very sour and the fruit generally contains more limonin (even more than navel oranges). The pulp is divided into several easily separable segments with strong membranes and many small (10-30) seeds, which is more of a disadvantage. The fruit starts ripening in December and it has the best flavor in February. It must be harvested with knife or scissors, because the peduncle is well attached to the branch. It can hang ripe on the tree for 2 months and than starts to granulate in drier climates. It is eaten mostly fresh.
There are several rootstocks that can be used with this variety, but usually only rough lemon and orange. Certain incompatibility with Poncirus was reported in USA and its crosses ('Troyer', 'Carrizo'...) and other unconfirmed reports from Australia claim, that the rootstock 'Cleopatra' postpones the ripening by a few weeks. It is sometimes used as a rootstock too.
Tangor 'Murccot' is cultivated in containers by many Japanese families and ripens there very late, sometimes even in April or May, but it has very decorative fruit.