Office of Research, UC Riverside
Office of Technology Commercialization

'Gold Nugget'

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Citrus
Photo by UCR citrus breeding program
‘Gold Nugget’ is a late-maturing mandarin hybrid that combines good fruit size, excellent productivity, outstanding characteristics, extremely rich and sweet fruit flavor and the absence of seeds even in mixed plantings. It is in a late season marketing window.

Parentage/origins:

Wilking mandarin x Kincy mandarin

Rootstocks of accession:

Carrizo citrange

Season of ripeness at Riverside:

February to June

Notes and observations:

Gold Nugget is a released mandarin variety developed within the University of California Riverside citrus breeding program. The tree grows vigorously and is upright in form. It can grow to a moderately-large size at maturity. Gold Nugget fruits are usually medium in size and oblate in form with a somewhat bumpy orange rind. The aromatic rind is moderately easy to peel. The flesh is bright orange, finely-textured, and seedless. The flavor is rich and sweet. The fruit usually matures by early March, but holds exceptionally well on the tree, with summer-harvested fruit still being of good quality.

A seedless mid- to late-season mandarin. The cross was made at Riverside in the 1950s (the exact date is not known). This hybrid was first selected in 1975 by D.K. Soost and J.W. Cameron and repropagated for additional evaluation. A virus-free budwood source was established at Lindcove Research and Extension center, Exeter, California in 1986 as VI 422. During much of its evaluation, it was called 'Pixie-like' because of its similarities to the 'Pixie' cultivar. - from release notes (M.L. Roose)

The ‘Gold Nugget’ is a late-maturing diploid mandarin hybrid that combines good fruit size, excellent productivity, outstanding storage characteristics both on and off the tree, extremely rich and sweet fruit flavor and the absence of seeds even in mixed plantings. ‘Gold Nugget’ fruit are slightly flattened in shape, with little or no neck. The average fruit size is medium-large for a mandarin (classed as size 21 by industry packing standards) with a mean width of 68 mm (2.68 in) and a height of 58 mm (2.28 in), giving a height to width aspect ratio of 0.85, and mean weight per fruit of 130 grams (4.6 oz.). Rind color is pale orange. The rind texture is variable, depending on tree age, crop, but especially on the amount of pruning the tree has received. For older trees with a moderate to heavy crop, regularly pruned to maintain a smaller more rounded crown, rind texture is pitted to slightly bumpy, with depressed oil glands. Alternate bearing is also reduced in regularly pruned trees. Fruit rinds from non-pruned trees with heavy crops can be somewhat coarse and bumpy and although fairly easy to peel when fruit are mature. Rind oil is evident when peeling fresh fruit. Fruit splitting on the stylar end of the fruit can occur and in some years can be significant. The fruit is juicy averaging 49% juice content. Flesh is deep orange in color with a moderately fine texture. The taste is extremely sweet when mature (brix 15.0% in March, 17.5% in May) with a very rich flavor, considered by professional taste panels to be one of the very best flavored citrus in the world.

Read the full description of this variety from the Breeding program