Navel oranges are the most common and most popular sweet orange in Europe. Often referred to as Washington or Bahia Navels. They are a fairly early-maturing variety and hold quite well on the tree. These oranges have a well developed navel which is usually visible, but often concealed.
Origin: Washington or Bahia Navels probably originated in China. It is thought they were imported into Portugal in the late 18th century, thence to Bahia in Brazil, and onward to Washington DC. They spread throughout the citrus growing regions of the world after propagation in USDA facilities in Washington DC, after 1870.
Grown in: Navels produce high quality fruit in sub-tropical and Mediterranean climates, but have a more restricted range than other oranges such as Valencia Lates which can grow in the warmer citrus areas. However, Navels are important in many countries such as Spain, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, China, California, Uruguay, Argentina, South Africa and Australia.
Harvest & Availability: Most Navels for the UK market come from Spain, Morocco, and South Africa, with small volumes of late varieties from Australia:
October to May: Navelina, Washington Navel, Navellate, Lane Late from Spain and Morocco
End June to September: Washington Navel from South Africa
End August to early October: Navellate, Lane Late from South Africa
Mid October: from Chile