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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11 comments on “The Ortanique

  1. The ortanique sounds delicious but I don’t think I’ve ever come across it in France. I bet its juice is devine!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Never heard of it, it looks quite unique too with a flat head! Must say it sounds delicious from the post!

  5. 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.

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