Navels are one of the four groups of sweet oranges, particularly known for their superior eating quality. The distinguishing feature of a Navel orange is the small secondary fruit embedded at the stylar-end of the main fruit. In general, Navels are medium to large oranges with a smooth, deep orange skin which is quite easy to remove. They are virtually seedless, and the flesh is finely textured, juicy and quite soft. Levels of sweetness are very good, with an acid balance that emphasises sweet rather than tang, giving an eating experience that is rarely surpassed by other oranges.

Navels are the earliest oranges to mature.

Navels are not good for juicing as they contain Limonin which causes a delayed bitterness in the juice.

Within the Navel group are numerous early, mid and late-season selections. When retailers sell ‘Navels’, they are generally Washington Navels, while the bigger supermarket chains will usually state the name on the product label of any Navel selections as they are used.

Good Fruit Guide Rating: *****

Names: Navel; Washington Navel; Bahia Navel. Selections: Navelina; Navellate; Lane Late; Powell Navel; Cambria Navel; Chislett Navel; Barnfield Navel; Cara Cara; Fukumoto Navel; M7 Navel; Rohde Navel.

Origin: Navels probably originated in China from where they found their way to Portugal and then to Brazil in the 18th/19th century. In 1870, Navels were sent from Bahia, Brazil to USDA, Washington DC for propagation, and henceforth became known as the Washington Navel. The majority of production around the world is that of the Bahia or Washington Navel, although the newer selections are becoming very widespread.

Grown in: California, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Uruguay, Argentina, Australia, China

Navels are more difficult to grow than other types. They produce high quality fruit in Mediterranean climates, but tend to be restricted in other regions compared to varieties such as Valencia Late which can grow in the warmer citrus areas.

Harvest & Availability: Supplies to UK are generally from:

  • January:                  Spain
  • February:                Spain
  • March:                     Spain
  • April:                       Spain
  • May:                        Spain
  • June:
  • July:                        South Africa
  • August:                   South Africa
  • September:            South Africa
  • October:                 South Africa
  • November:            Spain
  • December:            Spain


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