Model Julie Henderson's Grandfather, Samuel Henderson, Invented a Grapefruit

Photograph from Texas A&M Horticulture

After some blogs called Julie Henderson, a model who recently appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, unflattering things like a "high fallutin' call girl" and a "golddigger," her publicist sent out a press release informing us that she really isn't:

Julie Henderson comes from a good family. Her grandfather Samuel Henderson invented the Henderson grapefruit in the 1960's and built an empire in Texas . She has been modeling for the past 7 years and is an accomplished Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue favorite appearing in the issue 3 years in a row.

We were like, huh? You can invent a grapefruit? We looked into it, and as far as we can tell, it's kind of true. Maybe it was discovered and then patented, but hey, it's called the "Henderson grapefruit." Texas A&M Horticulture has this to say about the Henderson grapefruit:

The major grapefruit varieties in Texas are 'Ruby Red', 'Henderson'/'Ray' and 'Rio Red'. All were discovered in Texas and all are red-fleshed, seedless and have varying degrees of redness in the peel....

'Henderson' and 'Ray' are usually lumped together in the industry as they are nearly indistinguishable. Both were discovered in the Valley in the early 1970's-- 'Henderson' as a limb sport on 'Ruby Red' and 'Ray' as four trees, the buds of which were supposed to be 'Ruby Red'. The fruit of these two varieties is similar to 'Ruby Red' in almost all respects except that the peel is more attractive than 'Ruby Red' and the flesh is even redder. While the flesh color also fades after mid-season, it retains some semblance of redness far longer than is the case with 'Ruby Red'. Three other similar limb sports of 'Ruby Red' were discovered in the 1970's by Texas growers, but none has achieved the prominence of 'Henderson'.

'Rio Red' was discovered in 1976 by R. A. Hensz as a limb sport on a tree being grown from 'Ruby Red' budwood that had been irradiated. Released in 1984, 'Rio Red' has interior color that is twice as red as 'Henderson' and its color persists throughout the season....

Texas markets its 'Ruby Red' and 'Henderson'/'Ray' under the name Ruby-Sweet. Some 'Henderson' fruit are marketed as 'Flame' to distinguish it from 'Ruby Red' and to capitalize on Florida's 'Flame' grapefruit which is a nucellar 'Henderson."


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