This may be one of the best dwarf oranges for the home gardener. For starters, the Everhard Navel Orange is more compact than the average navel orange tree. And fruit crops are generally heavy. Navel oranges are easy to peel and are the premier orange for eating out-of-hand. A bud-sport from the old line Washington Navel, the Everhard Navel Orange was discovered and cultivated by the grandfather of Clay Everhard, a long-time citrus grower in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. In some seasons, the “navel” is not so apparent. But, comparative testing by Texas A&M University proved that the Everhard had more consistent (fruit) bearing levels and higher resistance to post-harvest decay than several other navel varieties. The dwarf Everhard Navel Orange is so reliable, in fact, that the commercial citrus industry south of New Orleans purchased thousands of them to replace other navel varieties lost in a hurricane.
The two most widely planted navel orange varieties in Texas are ‘Everhard’ and ‘N33E’. ‘Everhard’ is similar to the ‘Baianinha Piracicaba’ of Brazil, having rather smaller fruit that are oval to round. The navel is very small and closed, commonly being inconspicuous or absent altogether. The fruit is thin-skinned, very flavorful, and it reaches maturity in late September.
Sweet oranges are generally classified as round oranges, navel oranges, pigmented or blood oranges and acidless oranges. Too, they are classified as seedy or seedless (0-9 in Texas) and by season of maturity. Early season oranges mature in September/October and mid-season oranges mature in late November to early January, while late season oranges mature in February or March.
Navel oranges supposedly originated in the Mediterranean area from which they were taken to Brazil. They were introduced by the U.S.D.A. to the United States from Brazil in 1873. A number of varieties have been tested in the Texas Rio Grande Valley, but there has been little advantage of one over another. ‘Washington’ is a large, oblong fruit with a protuberant navel that is considered the parent to most other navel oranges. ‘Thompson’ is similar to ‘Washington’, as are ‘Atwood’, ‘Fisher’, ‘Summerfield’, ‘Texas’ and a number of others which originated from ‘Washington’.
The Everhard Navel Orange was discovered and grown in the Texas Rio Grande Valley by the a member of the Everhard family, long-time citrus growers in the Valley. Round orange varieties in Texas comprise about 7,000 acres in commercial production.