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W. Murcott Afourer, A Choice Mandarin With Lost Lineage

Like many mandarin varieties, the lineage of W. Murcott Afrour is incomplete, as one parent record is missing. Its appropriate to say that the citrus family has many children born to undocumented sperm givers. W. Murcott is one such variety, and unfortunately, her mother Murcott was also born to an undocumented father. Perhaps both lived in an era when sperm donor data were insignificant.

W. Murcott Afrour Fruit, Daugher of Murcott

Figure 1. W. Murcott Afrour fruit, daughter of Murcott

A citrus pioneer, named W.T. Swingle crossed King tangelo (tangerine + orange) with pollen from an undocumented parent and a hybrid citrus was born. He deposited the hybrid in 1913 with R.D. Hoyt at the USDA facility in Safety Harbor, Florida. Hoyt gave budwood to his nephew, Charles Murcott Smith. Smith popularized the variety and titled it, Murcott. A case study of slack royalty payment days.

Murcott Fruit

Figure 2. Murcott fruit

In 1993, the California Citrus Clonal Protection Program released W. Murcott Afourer, a higher quality Murcott.

In 1977, Dr. El Bachir Nadori made a cross with Murcott and developed a seedless, tasty variety he patented, a mandarin named Nadorcott – Nador for Nadori and cott, as in Murcott. He patented Nadorcott in 1997.

About the Nadorcott variety:

  • Less seeds than Murcott Honey Mandarin which is seedy
  • Better color of fruit
  • Easily peelable than Murcott Honey mandarin
  • Early maturing (= fruit mature October to December)
  • W. Murcott Afourer is Clementine-like, one of its parents is Murcott, the other unknown
  • Fruit has a thin rind
  • Fruit is flat
  • Orange-colored rind and flesh
  • Fruit can be seedy if cross-pollinated
  • Juicy flesh
  • Sweet flavor
  • Fruit matures in February and holds well on the tree
  • Tree bears fruit in alternate years

Nadorcott from Murcott mother

Figure 3. Nadorcott from Murcott mother

The W. Murcott Afourer mandarin variety is different from Murcott which is commonly called Murcott Honey Mandarin of Florida. It is also different from the California mandarin called Honey.

Also, a seedless selection of W. Murcott has been trademarked by Tom Mulhollhand of California as “Delite”.

Mani Skaria, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO, US Citrus, LLC
Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
(www.uscitrus.com)

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