Paraguay bittersweet sour orange

Apepu sour orange
Citrus aurantium L.

CRC 660 
PI 31881


Received as seed from C.F. Mead via USDA, Plant Introduction Station, Chico Garden, 1915


Parents unknown. From Villa Encarnarcion, Asuncion, Paraguay, 1911.

Rootstocks of accession

Carrizo citrange, C-35 citange 

Season of ripeness at Riverside

January to March 

Notes and observations

2/24/1988, EMN: An unusually resistant native wild orange with large fruit, neither sweet nor sour, very thick skin, which is used for preserves. Well named as bittersweet. Not as sour as Brazilian sour orange but certainly couldn't masquerade as a sweet orange either. Other than less bitterness, this fruit is much like a typical sour orange.

2/11/2008 OJB, TS & DK: Looks similar to standard sour oranges, but sweeter, has a pleasant sweet-tart flavor.

Description from The Citrus Industry Vol. 1 (1967)

"The bittersweet orange group, which contains at least two varieties, may be regarded as a subgroup of the common bitter orange, from which it differs mainly in lower acidity and better flavor.

Formerly thought to be a hybrid of the sweet and sour oranges, the weight of evidence suggests that the bittersweet orange originated as a mutation from the latter.  It appears to be identical with thc fruit described by Risso and Poiteau (1818-22, p. 101) as the sweet-fruited bitter orange of the Mediterranean basin.  It seems likely that the Spanish took this orange to both Florida and South America, for it was early found in the former and occurs extensively in Paraguay where it comprises an important source of oil of petit grain.

Minor differences that characterize most of the bittersweet oranges include somewhat denser and more compact habit of growth, broader and less taper-pointed leaves, and paler-colored fruit of slightly smaller size and smoother rind texture. 

Two named varieties, both of which doubtless consist of more than one clone, are Bittersweet of Florida and Paraguay (Apepu).  They are so similar as to be scarcely distinguishable."


Not commercially available in California.


USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network page for Paraguay bittersweet sour orange 



Paraguay CVC03_000
Paraguay CVC660_002
Paraguay CVC660_001
Photos by David Karp, CVC, 3/3/2008.
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