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The Texas Grapefruit Story

What could be in the US Citrus Fruit of the Month Box delivered to your home?

Gems of Delicious Citrus Fruit from the Rio Grande Valley Orchards.

    The Grapefruit/Pomelo Products

    Texas has evolved into the leading grapefruit producer in the country. Texas contributions to the grapefruit industry started with a significant start in 1929. A. E. Henninger of McAllen, Texas discovered Redblush grapefruit (aka Ruby, Red Marsh, Red Seedless, Henninger Red) as a limb sport in the Thompson grapefruit orchard. This grapefruit is a historical marker – it is the first citrus variety to receive a patent – U.S. Plant Patent No. 53. As a McAllen resident and citrus scientist, this historical marker in my hometown McAllen, Texas makes my muscle cells contract and elevates my hair follicles. Thanks to Mr. Henninger who started a saga of grapefruit gurus in the Rio Grande Valley.

    Another limb sport from Thompson grapefruit was discovered and introduced in 1934 by J.B. Webb of Donna, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley.

    Ruby or Redblush. Seedless, red flesh, often thin rind and smooth surface, juicy, good flavor, ships and stores well, mid-season maturity.

    Another discovery of pigmented Texas grapefruit was Ray Ruby in Weslaco, Texas by Robert Ray, 1970. This is identical to Henderson, another Texas product discovered by Samuel Henderson in 1973. It started as a limb sport on Ruby Red. Henderson peel is more attractive than Ruby Red and the flesh is redder. Henderson gave birth to Florida’s Flame grapefruit which is a nucellar Henderson.

    Hudson is a red pigmented grapefruit from Foster identified in the 1930 by a Texan, Charles Hudson.

    Dr. Richard A. Hensz, breeder at Texas A&I Citrus Center took seeds from Hudson, and irradiated to induce mutation. Star Ruby is the result of Dr. Hensz’s breeding work, 1970. Star Ruby has deep-red flesh.

    Rio Red GrapefruitsThe Rio Red grapefruit is another grapefruit released from the Texas A&I University in 1984 by Dr. Richard A. Hensz. This is a natural mutation on a tree produced from irradiated budwood which came from Ruby Red seedlings, referenced A&I -I-48S. The rind is red as in Henderson and flesh color deep red as in Star Ruby.

    Texas Red is another product of Texas A&M University-Kingsville Citrus Center, however it is not officially released yet.  

    A less prevalent, but an excellent early-season fruit is known by Golden grapefruit or Whittaker gold, named after Mr. Leon Whittaker of Edinburg, Texas. It is seedy, the fruit is flat, extra sweet, and less acidic. It matures in October.

    Texas Grapefruit Development Timeline & Players


    Finest-Quality Texas Grapefruit & Citrus

    We will bring the Texas pride grapefruit to your kitchen. Blushing fruit skin, inside red meat, every bite you take is a sugary Wow!

    1. Try the finest quality fruit from four divisions of the citrus family (each one with half a dozen varieties chosen for fruit maturity standards):
      This includes: i) Grapefruit and Pomelos ii) Citron, limes, lemons and hybrids iii) Pink vanel, early, mid-season, late oranges
    2. Fresh – means harvested, packed and shipped within 24 hrs
    3. UPS or USPS fast delivery
    4. Meet USDA fruit quality standards
    5. Packed with no synthetic pesticide application or artificial wax treatment on the fruit
    6. Packed mature fruit with no ethylene color treatment for color
    7. Fruit sizes, uniform or nearly uniform within the USDA standards for grapefruit up to size (minimum) 32 to 56 that falls within 3.9 in to 3.3 inches diameter. Pomelo would not fall into a USDA standard specification.
    8. We deliver you fresh citrus fruit with the right horticultural traceability. Fruit available via stores are commercially sold mixed, for example, the trade name, Rio Star. There no variety called Rio Star, it is a marketing name for mixed Rio Red and Star Ruby. Similarly, Ruby Sweet grapefruit is mixture of Ruby Red, Red Blush, Ray Ruby, and Henderson grapefruits.


    Mani Skaria, Ph.D.

    Professor Emeritus and Founder of US Citrus


    Interested in fresh citrus fruit delivered to your home?

    Join The Craft Citrus Club for a 10-lb subscription fruit of the month box, filled with the most delicious citrus fruit from South Texas sent to your door every month!