Citrus unshiu is a seedless and easy-peeling citrus species, also
known as unshu mikan, cold hardy mandarin, satsuma mandarin,
satsuma orange, and tangerine. It is of Chinese origin, but was
introduced to the West via Japan.
6.1 Possible non-hybrids
8 External links
The unshiu is known as wēnzhōu mìgān (simplified Chinese:
温州蜜柑; traditional Chinese: 溫州蜜柑) in China, and mikan
in Japan (or formally unshū mikan (温州蜜柑), the Japanese
reading of the characters used in Chinese). In both languages, the
name means "honey citrus of Wenzhou" (a city in
China). An alternative Chinese name, (Chinese: 无核桔; pinyin:
wúhé jú), means "seedless mandarin".
One of the English names for the fruit, satsuma, is derived from the
Satsuma Province in Japan, from which these fruits were first
exported to the West.
Afrikaans name naartjie is also used in South African English. It
came originally from the Tamil word nartei, meaning citrus.
Under the Tanaka classification system,
Citrus unshiu is considered a
separate species from the mandarin. Under the Swingle system, unshius
are considered to be a group of mandarin varieties. Genetic
analysis has shown the Satsuma to be a highly-inbred mandarin-pomelo
hybrid, with 22% of its genome, a larger proportion than seen in most
mandarins, coming from pomelo. It arose when a mandarin of the
low-pomelo huanglingmiao/kishu variety (placed in C. reticulata by
Tanaka) was crossed with a pomelo or pomelo hybrid, then the resulting
cultivar was backcrossed with another huanglingmiao/kishu
The dried peel is used in Chinese cuisine
Satsuma juice (left) is a much deeper and redder color than orange
Its fruit is "one of the sweetest citrus varieties, with a meltingly
tender texture" and usually seedless, about the size of other
mandarin oranges (
Citrus reticulata). One of the distinguishing
features of the satsuma is the thin, leathery skin dotted with large
and prominent oil glands, which is lightly attached around the fruit,
enabling it to be peeled very easily in comparison to other citrus
fruits. The satsuma also has particularly delicate flesh, which cannot
withstand the effects of careless handling. The loose skin of the
satsuma means that bruising and damage to the fruit may not be
immediately apparent upon the typical cursory visual inspection
associated with assessing the quality of other fruits. In this regard,
the satsuma might be categorised as a hit-and-miss citrus fruit; the
loose skin particular to the fruit precluding the definitive
measurement of its quality by sight and feel alone.
Satsumas grown in humid areas may be ripe while the skin is still
Satsumas are cold-hardy, and when planted in colder locations, the
fruit becomes sweeter from the colder temperatures. A mature satsuma
tree can survive down to −9 °C (15 °F) or even
−11 °C (12 °F) for a few hours. Of the edible citrus
varieties, only the kumquat is more cold-hardy. Satsumas rarely have
any thorns, an attribute that also makes them popular. They can be
grown from seed, which takes about 8 years until the first fruits are
produced, or grafted onto other citrus rootstocks, such as trifoliate
Jesuits brought the fruit from Asia to North America in the 18th
century, starting groves in the Jesuit Plantation upriver from New
Orleans, Louisiana (then a part of New Spain). The municipal street
"Orange" in New Orleans, was originally named "Rue Des Orangers" and
the site of the Jesuit grove. The groves were later re-cultivated
farther south in Plaquemines Parish to provide greater protection from
harmful frosts, and have continued to the present day. The Becnel
family are the largest growers of Louisiana Citrus.
The fruit became much more common in the United States starting in the
late 19th century. In 1876 during the Meiji period, Owari mikans were
brought to the United States from the
Satsuma Province in Kyūshū,
Japan, by a spouse of a member of the U.S. Embassy, who renamed them
satsumas. Between 1908 and 1911 about a million Owari mikan trees were
imported throughout the lower Gulf Coast states. Owari is still
commonly grown in Florida. The towns of Satsuma, Alabama; Satsuma,
Florida; Satsuma, Texas; and
Satsuma, Louisiana were named after this
fruit. By 1920 Jackson County in the
Florida Panhandle had billed
itself as the "Satsuma Capital of the World." However, the commercial
industry was damaged by a −13.3 °C (8.1 °F) cold snap in
1911, a hurricane in 1915, and a very cold period in the late
Citrus unshiu is grown in Japan, Spain, central China, Korea, the US,
South Africa, South America and around the Black Sea.
Unshiu varieties cluster among the mandarin family. There are,
however, some hybrids.
Ōgonkan or Ki-mikan
Amanatsu (pumello hybrid)
Kinkoji unshiu (C. obovoidea(kinkoji) × C. unshiu)
Dekopon is a kiyomi hybrid
Kobayashi mikan (C. natsudaidai × C.unshiu)
Natsudaidai (pomelo × mikan)
^ a b Schlegel, Rolf (2009). Dictionary of
Plant Breeding, Second
Edition. CRC Press. p. 437. ISBN 9781439802434. It is of
Chinese origin, but introduced to the West via China; in Japan it is
known as "unshu mikan," in China, as "wenzhou migan"; recorded
cultivation of the "wenzhou migan" date back some 2,400 years; it was
listed as a tribute item for Imperial consumption in the TANG Dynasty;
the best record of the cultivation of this variety in ancient China is
from Jijia Julu, written by Han YAN, the governor of the region and
published in 1178"
^ a b c d Michel H. Porcher. "Sorting
Citrus names". The University of
Mikan and Satsuma Oranges". hawaii.edu.
Mikan is a
tangerine-like citrus fruit that is grown in warmer regions of Japan
in large quantities. Many different varieties have been introduced to
Japan from China since the eighth century, but since the late 19th
century the most important variety has been the unshu.
^ probable origin in Kyushu islands, Japan or imported from China to
Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
Agricultural Research Service
Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 11 December 2017.
^ Misaki, Akira (November 1999).
"紀州有田みかんの起源と発達史(The Origin and the
Development-Process of "Kisyu Arida Mikan(Arida Mandarin)")".
経済理論(The Wakayama Economic Review) (in Japanese). University
of Wakayama. 292: 97–118. (After the many years of research, Dr.
Tanaka has concluded the place of origin of Satsuma is Nagashima,
Kagoshima. Satsuma is a chance seedling of Sōkitsu, Mankitsu, or
Tendaisankitsu introduced from Huangyan Zhejiang, China. It appeared
in the early Edo period.) Archived by Arita
Mikan Database at
^ Branford, Jean (1978). A dictionary of South African English. Oxford
^ "New universal mitochondrial PCR markers reveal new information on
maternal citrus phylogeny". Tree Genetics & Genomes. 7: 49–61.
^ Wu, Guohong Albert; Terol, Javier; Ibanez, Victoria; López-García,
Antonio; Pérez-Román, Estela; Borredá, Carles; Domingo, Concha;
Tadeo, Francisco R; Carbonell-Caballero, Jose; Alonso, Roberto; Curk,
Franck; Du, Dongliang; Ollitrault, Patrick; Roose, Mikeal L. Roose;
Dopazo, Joaquin; Gmitter Jr, Frederick G.; Rokhsar, Daniel; Talon,
Manuel (2018). "Genomics of the origin and evolution of Citrus".
Nature. 554: 311–316. doi:10.1038/nature25447. and Supplement
^ Shimizu, Tokurou; Kitajima, Akira; Nonaka, Keisuke; Yoshioka,
Terutaka; Ohta, Satoshi; Goto, Shingo; Toyoda, Atsushi; Fujiyama,
Asao; Mochizuki, Takako; Nagasaki, Hideki; Kaminuma, Eli; Nakamura,
Yasukazu. "Hybrid Origins of
Citrus Varieties Inferred from DNA Marker
Analysis of Nuclear and Organelle Genomes". PLoS One. 11: e0166969.
^ Elisa Bosley. "In Season: Satsuma Oranges". CookingLight. Retrieved
^ a b c P. C. Andersen; J. J. Ferguson; T. M. Spann. "HS195/CH116: The
Satsuma Mandarin". ufl.edu.
^ a b c http://www.plantanswers.com/Articles/OrangeFrost.asp
^ "WWNO: Satsumas (2009-10-03)". Publicbroadcasting.net. 2009-10-03.
^ Barkley, NA; Roose, ML; Krueger, RR; Federici, CT. "Assessing
genetic diversity and population structure in a citrus germplasm
collection utilizing simple sequence repeat markers (SSRs)". doi.org.
112: 1519–1531. doi:10.1007/s00122-006-0255-9.
^ "kinkoji_unshiu". ucr.edu.
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