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The Ortanique

The ortanique looks much like an orange and could easily be mistaken for one. The difference is in its shape — it’s typically a bit flat on top and bottom.



This native of Jamaica, a hybrid of the orange and tangerine, gets its name from orange (or), tangerine (tan) and unique (ique). A deliciously sweet fruit, with a hint of tang, the ortanique is a favorite with Jamaicans.

But there’s a bit of confusion about its origin – at least in some circles. Several sites list Charles Jackson as the creator of the fruit, a few others list David Daniel Phillips and still another mentions a Mr. Swaby.

Digging a bit further, I found a post on Facebook that credits David Daniel Phillips as the originator of the ortanique. According to Danielle-Beverley Phillips, a descendant of Phillips, Jackson, Swaby and others got their seedlings and plants from the Phillips nursery, and in 1939, the Jamaica Agricultural Society recognized Phillips as the creator of the ortanique plant and fruit.

Although there is confusion surrounding the origin of the ortanique, there is none about its popularity. The ortanique has been one of Jamaica’s major export products since the 1930s, when it was shipped primarily to Panama, the UK, New Zealand and Australia. Today, the ortanique can be found in supermarkets in the US and Canada.


Boxed and ready to go

Ortaniques are grown mainly in Manchester which, because if its particular soil combination, produces a special type of fruit. However, there are farms in other parishes.

The ortanique in the photo above comes from Good Hope Plantation in Trelawny. Good Hope grows ortaniques along with other citrus fruits, and packages them on site for export. The boxed fruits above were headed to Canada.


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  1. I haven’t seen an ortanique before. I bet I would really like one. I’ll have to keep my eyes on the lookout when I’m back at the high-end grocery store in the USA.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Baking the Perfect Loaf of BreadMy Profile

  2. Marcia, I had never heard of this most interesting ortanique before – great information here! Happy Foodie Tuesday!
    Jackie Smith recently posted..Island of Lana’i ~ For a Flavor of Old HawaiiMy Profile

  3. The ortanique sounds delicious but I don’t think I’ve ever come across it in France. I bet its juice is devine!
    Phoebe recently posted..Lady Liberty of Nice – the new StatueMy Profile

  4. Fascinating post…always impressed by all the new fruits I learn about that are born and bred in Jamaica!
    Irene S. Levine recently posted..United Airlines changes its carry-on policiesMy Profile

  5. Donna P

    Ortaniques are great! I attended Knox College (on the Manchester-Clarendon border) in the 1960’s, and the citrus groves at the school and on surrounding land had both oranges and ortaniques. Thanks for highlighting this juicy and absolutely delicious fruit.

  6. Interesting! I have never heard of this fruit, but I’d like to try it. Looks almost like a grapefruit.
    Nancie recently posted..Chiang Mai: Hinlay Curry House for Foodie TuesdayMy Profile

  7. I’ve never seen an ortanique so I can only guess as to the taste. Sounds delicious and now I must go on the search.
    Leigh recently posted..Skating on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal – A UNESCO World Heritage SiteMy Profile

  8. Interesting, never hear that fruit before…
    Muza-chan recently posted..Samurai helmet, Kawari KabutoMy Profile

  9. Never heard of it, it looks quite unique too with a flat head! Must say it sounds delicious from the post!
    Arti recently posted..‘My Most Memorable Memento’ Contest!My Profile

  10. I though I was up on my fruit knowledge but I’ve never heard of this one before! Looks more like a dino egg to me though. Would love to come across one and try it out.
    Matt recently posted..Top Perfume for WomenMy Profile


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