FIRST OF ITS KIND: The fruit came from a 20-year-old tree but it was the first time John Stretch had found an orange like it. Photos Hazel Osborne D8865-05

HAVE you ever seen an orange that looks like a carrot? Well neither had John Stretch until he picked this strange specimen from his tree one late-winter morning.

John, a Te Teko man, picked the strange orange from his 20-year-old backyard tree that has given him plenty of fruit over the years, just not fruit like this.

“I just found it when I was picking the fruit on the rest of the tree and came across that.

I’ve had the tree for 20-odd years and that’s the first time I’ve found one of these,” he says.

As well as his sweet naval, John’s backyard is a tiny orchard with most fruit that’s produced going to his own household or marae.

“They’re just for the house and for the marae, because they serve jugs of water with the fruit in them.”

John says there were no other unusual fruit produced this season but because of the wet winter we experienced this year, pollination could be the catalyst for this freaky fruit formation.

“It could be pollination because it’s been a really wet season for pollination. There was just the one, the rest were normal, big oranges and it was just hanging on one of the branches.”

He says the unusual fruit wasn’t grown in any special conditions but the find “was awesome” and that we may “never know” why this orange came to fruition.

A sweet naval orange tree, or as some call it the winter orange, usually grows to the average height of nine to 10 metres tall and is said to have originated in China.

hazel.osborne@thebeacon.co.nz