Midknight Valencia Orange Tree
Midknight (VI 460), was first observed about 1927 as a slightly earlier maturing Valencia orange tree in Addo, Cape Province South Africa by A. P. Knight. The name of this selection comes from “midseason” and Knight’s name.
Midknight trees are reported to be slower growing and more frost-susceptible than Valencia. In Lindcove, California, the fruit reach legal maturity in late January/ early February. The solids-to-acid ratio of Midknight fruit is higher in April than Delta and Olinda due to lower average acidity. Midknight fruit in Lindcove California also have firmer and thicker rind than Delta or Olinda Valencia selections, but lower juice content than Delta and Olinda possibly due to thickness of rind (Arpaia Delta strain trial). There are some reports of bud-union problems on some rootstocks as well as a tendency to show copper deficiency symptoms. Therefore, consultation with a local Farm Advisor may be recommended before planting this variety.
Midknight is a virtually seedless, medium-large, somewhat oblong fruit of excellent quality and medium-late maturity. Marloth and Basson (1955) regard this South African variety as an early Valencia selection and it is commonly called Midknight Valencia. Since it ripens earlier than Valencia and does not fruit in clusters to the same degree, it is probably best considered a variety. The tree is moderately vigorous and upright-growing, with large, broad leaves, but not as productive as standard Valencia.
It originated on the place of A. P. Knight at Summerville, Addo, eastern Cape Province, as a selection from a rather variable lot of budded trees ordered from Westfalia Estates (northern Transvaal) in 1927. Unfortunately, more than one clone seems to have been propagated under the same name, for two are now recognized that characterized above and another of which the fruit is round and the tree less vigorous and more spreading. Neither clone is currently of much importance.