Ugli fruit
5 mins read

Ugli fruit


The Ugli fruit is a unique and fascinating citrus fruit that has gained popularity worldwide for its unconventional appearance and delicious taste. This Jamaican native has a rough, thick skin that makes it stand out from other citrus fruits, but don’t let its appearance fool you – its juicy pulp and sweet flavor have made it a favorite among fruit enthusiasts.


The name “Ugli” is a trademarked brand name, but it’s also a fitting description of the fruit’s appearance. The term “ugli” is a combination of “ugly” and “appealing,” which perfectly captures the fruit’s contradictory nature. Despite its rough exterior, the Ugli fruit has a sweet and tangy flavor that has won over many fans.


The Ugli fruit is a hybrid of a grapefruit and an orange, with a rough, thick skin that’s usually a yellow or greenish-yellow color. The skin is often covered in small, brownish-red spots or patches, adding to its unconventional appearance. The pulp is juicy and sweet, with a flavor that’s both tangy and slightly sweet.

Taxonomy and Cultivars

The Ugli fruit is a member of the Rutaceae family and is scientifically known as Citrus reticulata ‘Ugli’. It’s a hybrid of a grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) and an orange (Citrus sinensis), and was first discovered in Jamaica in the 1920s. There are several cultivars of the Ugli fruit, including ‘Ugli’, ‘Ruby Red’, and ‘Tangelo’.

Distribution and Habitat

The Ugli fruit is native to Jamaica, where it was first discovered in the 1920s. Today, it’s grown in many tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the United States, Brazil, and South Africa. The fruit prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade, making it a popular choice for warm climates.


Ugli fruit trees are relatively easy to grow and require minimal maintenance. They prefer well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade, and should be watered regularly. The trees are relatively small, growing to around 10-15 feet tall, making them a great choice for small gardens or containers.

Production and Uses

The Ugli fruit is a popular choice for fresh eating, juicing, and cooking. It’s also used in marmalades, jams, and preserves, and is a popular ingredient in many Caribbean and Latin American recipes.


The Ugli fruit is rich in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, making it a nutritious and healthy choice. It also contains a range of phytochemicals, including flavonoids and limonoids, which have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


The Ugli fruit has a unique flavor that’s both tangy and sweet. The pulp is juicy and sweet, with a flavor that’s similar to a combination of grapefruit and orange.


The Ugli fruit is generally considered safe to eat, but it does contain a small amount of toxicity in the form of limonoids. These compounds can cause gastrointestinal irritation in some individuals, but are generally considered safe in small quantities.


The Ugli fruit is a nutrient-rich food that’s low in calories and high in fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. One medium Ugli fruit contains:

  • Calories: 45
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Vitamin C: 100% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Potassium: 10% of the DV


The Ugli fruit has a special place in Jamaican culture, where it’s considered a national symbol. It’s often eaten fresh or used in traditional recipes, and is a popular ingredient in many Caribbean dishes.


  • “The Ugli fruit is a true Jamaican treasure – its unique flavor and appearance make it a standout among other citrus fruits.” – Jamaican chef and food writer, Lucinda Scala Quinn
  • “I was skeptical at first, but the Ugli fruit’s sweet and tangy flavor won me over. It’s now one of my favorite fruits!” – Food blogger and enthusiast, Sarah Jenkins


NutrientAmount (per medium Ugli fruit)
Vitamin C100% of the DV
Potassium10% of the DV
‘Ugli’The original Ugli fruit cultivar, known for its rough skin and sweet flavor.
‘Ruby Red’A variant of the Ugli fruit with a deeper red


The Ugli fruit is a unique and fascinating citrus fruit that offers a delicious and nutritious addition to any diet. With its rough exterior and sweet, tangy flavor, it’s a great choice for those looking to try something new and exciting. Whether you’re a fruit enthusiast, a foodie, or just looking for a healthy snack, the Ugli fruit is definitely worth trying.

Fun Facts

  • The Ugli fruit is also known as the “Jamaican tangelo”.
  • The fruit’s rough skin is actually a natural defense mechanism to protect it from pests and diseases.
  • Ugli fruit trees can grow up to 20 feet tall, but are usually pruned to maintain a smaller size.
  • The fruit is in season from December to May, making it a great winter snack.


  • “Ugli Fruit”. Simple Wikipedia. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  • “Ugli Fruit”. Specialty Produce. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  • “Ugli Fruit: A Jamaican Treasure”. Jamaican Cuisine. Retrieved 2022-02-20.