The MANDARIN ORANGE (
Citrus reticulata; Chinese : 橘子 or 桔子;
pinyin : júzi), also known as the MANDARIN or MANDARINE, is a small
citrus tree with fruit resembling other oranges .
Mandarins are usually eaten plain or in fruit salads. Specifically
reddish-orange mandarin cultivars can be marketed as tangerines , but
this is not a botanical classification. Thin, pebbly skin
Mandarins are smaller and oblate, rather than spherical like the
common oranges (which are a mandarin hybrid ). The taste is considered
less sour , as well as sweeter and stronger. A ripe mandarin is firm
to slightly soft, heavy for its size, and pebbly-skinned. The peel is
very thin, with very little bitter white mesocarp , so they are
usually easier to peel and to split into segments. Hybrids generally
have these traits to a lesser degree.
The tree is more drought-tolerant than the fruit. The mandarin is
tender and is damaged easily by cold. It can be grown in tropical and
According to molecular studies, the mandarin, the citron , the
pomelo , and the papeda were the ancestors of most other commercial
citrus varieties, through breeding or natural hybridization; mandarins
are therefore all the more important as the only sweet fruit among the
* 1 Etymology
* 2 Uses
* 2.1 Fresh mandarins
* 2.2 Peel
* 2.3 Canning
* 2.4 Traditional medicine
* 3 Production volume and nutrition
* 4 Cultural significance
* 5 Genetics
* 6 Varieties
* 6.1 Pure mandarins
* 6.2 Unknown
* 6.3 Hybrids with mandarin ancestry
* 6.4 Non-mandarins
* 7 Biological characteristics
* 8 See also
* 9 References
* 10 External links
The name "mandarin orange" is a calque of Swedish mandarin apelsin
(apelsin from German Apfelsine=Apfel+Sino means chinese apple), first
attested in the 18th century. The form "mandarine" derives from the
French name for this fruit. The reason for the epithet "mandarin" is
not clear, hypotheses ranging from the yellow colour of some robes
worn by mandarin dignitaries to the mandarin being an excellent kind
of Chinese orange.
Dried mandarin peel used as a seasoning
citrus peel Canned and peeled mandarin orange segments
List of fruit dishes
Mandarins are generally peeled and eaten fresh. The fresh fruit is
also used in salads, desserts and main dishes. Fresh tangerine juice
and frozen juice concentrate are commonly available in the United
States. The number of seeds in each segment (carpel) varies greatly.
The peel is used fresh, whole or zested , or dried as chenpi . It can
be used as a spice for cooking, baking, drinks, or candy.
Canned mandarin segments are peeled to remove the white pith prior to
canning; otherwise, they turn bitter. Segments are peeled using a
chemical process. First, the segments are scalded in hot water to
loosen the skin; then they are bathed in a lye solution, which digests
the albedo and membranes. Finally, the segments undergo several rinses
in plain water. They are often used in salads, desserts, and baking.
In traditional Chinese medicine , the dried peel of the fruit is used
in the regulation of ch\'i , and also used to treat abdominal
distension , to enhance digestion , and to reduce phlegm . Mandarins
have also been used in ayurveda (traditional medicine of India).
PRODUCTION VOLUME AND NUTRITION
Mandarin oranges, raw
NUTRITIONAL VALUE PER 100 G (3.5 OZ)
223 kJ (53 kcal)
VITAMIN A EQUIV. BETA-CAROTENE
(4%) 34 μg (1%) 155 μg
(5%) 0.058 mg
(3%) 0.036 mg
(3%) 0.376 mg
PANTOTHENIC ACID (B5)
(4%) 0.216 mg
(6%) 0.078 mg
(4%) 16 μg
(2%) 10.2 mg
(32%) 26.7 mg
(1%) 0.2 mg
(4%) 37 mg
(1%) 0.15 mg
(3%) 12 mg
(2%) 0.039 mg
(3%) 20 mg
(4%) 166 mg
(0%) 2 mg
(1%) 0.07 mg
Link to USDA Database entry
* μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams
* IU = International units
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Tangerines , mandarins, clementines , satsumas
Top 20 producers in 2011 (1000 tonnes)
People\'s Republic of
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO),
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year , mandarin oranges/tangerine /satsumas are
considered traditional symbols of abundance and good fortune. During
the two-week celebration, they are frequently displayed as decoration
and presented as gifts to friends, relatives, and business associates.
Mandarin oranges, particularly from
Japan , are a
Canada , the
United States and
In the United States, they are commonly purchased in 5- or 10-pound
boxes, individually wrapped in soft green paper, and given in
Christmas stockings . This custom goes back to the 1880s, when
Japanese immigrants in the
United States began receiving Japanese
mandarin oranges from their families back home as gifts for the New
Year. The tradition quickly spread among the non-Japanese population,
and eastwards across the country: each November harvest, "The oranges
were quickly unloaded and then shipped east by rail. 'Orange Trains'
– trains with boxcars painted orange – alerted everyone along the
way that the irresistible oranges from
Japan were back again for the
holidays. For many, the arrival of Japanese mandarin oranges signaled
the real beginning of the holiday season." Mandarin oranges
covered with snow
This Japanese tradition merged with European traditions related to
Christmas stocking .
Saint Nicholas is said to have put gold coins
into the stockings of three poor girls so that they would be able to
afford to get married. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls
instead of bags of gold, and oranges became a symbolic stand-in for
these gold balls, and are put in
Christmas stockings in
with chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil.
Satsumas were also grown in the
United States from the early 1900s,
Japan remained a major supplier. U.S. imports of these Japanese
oranges was suspended due to hostilities with
Japan during World War
II. While they were one of the first Japanese goods allowed for
export after the end of the war, residual hostility led to the
rebranding of these oranges as "mandarin" oranges.
The delivery of the first batch of mandarin oranges from
Japan in the
port of Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada), is greeted with a
festival that combines Santa Claus and Japanese dancers —young girls
dressed in traditional kimonos.
In Russia, mandarin oranges (tangerines ) have traditionally been
Morocco (though there exist a theory that it was only
used to mask the supplies of Israeli tangerines during the period of
particularly bad relations between
Israel and Soviet Union) and are
associated with that country, even though nowadays they are also
supplied from other countries, e.g.
Egypt . Another
major supplier was a domestic region of
Abkhazia in the
Caucasus , and
even after the
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union it continued to supply
its characteristically yellow-greenish and particularly aromatic
fruits to the central Russian regions. The eastern parts of the
country, in turn, were generally supplied from
Vietnam , and
continue so nowadays, with the characteristic 10 and 20-pound plastic
and cardboard boxes being the ubiquitous seasonal sight. Anyway,
regardless of the supplier or variety, mandarin oranges were and are
an iconic symbol of winter and the holiday season in Russia, in an
interesting parallel with the same status it holds in Japan.
Christmas fruit imported to North America was
mostly Dancys , but now it is more often a hybrid.
Citrus taxonomy Mandarine from port vila
Mandarins are one of the four core ancestral citrus taxa , and are
thought to have evolved in
Vietnam , south
China , and
Pure mandarins seem to divide into two groups; an edible group,
Nanfengmiju , and an "acidic" group, which is too sour
to be edible but which is widely used as rootstock and grown for
juice; this includes Sunki ,
Shekwasha , and Cleopatra mandarins .
Under the Tanaka classification system , mikans, satsumas, tangerines
etc. are considered to be divided into different species, including
Citrus unshiu and
Citrus tangerina . Under the Swingle system , all
these are considered to be groups of mandarin varieties. Unshius and
tangerines genetically resemble mandarins, but the genetics are still
not thoroughly studied.
Like all citrus fruit, mandarins hybridize readily with other citrus.
Many fruit sold as mandarins are in fact hybrids with some pummelo (C.
maxima) ancestry, and are thus on a continuum with clementines, sweet
and sour oranges, and grapefruit.
Hybrids between mandarins and other citrus fruits are sold under a
variety of names; see below.
Mandarins marketed as tangerines in the US are or were usually Dancy
, Sunburst or Murcott (Honey) cultivars; Sunbursts and Murcotts are
hybrids. Unripe fruit
Citrus reticulata Blanco) A rare non-hybrid citrus.
One of the most widely cultivated varieties in China.
Shekwasha , a very sour mandarin grown for its acidic juice.
* Sun Chu Sha
* ? The Dancy may be a pure mandarin. Until the 1970s, most
tangerines grown and eaten in the USA were Dancys, and it was known as
Christmas tangerine" and zipper-skin tangerine
* ? Obenimikan may be a synonym for Dancy
Bang Mot tangerine is a popular variety in Thailand
* Grape is popular in Vancouver, B.C
* "MANDARIN"; some fruit sold as mandarins in some jurisdictions is
in fact hybrid or genetically modified.
* Satsuma (
Citrus unshiu), may be a type of pure mandarin, but the
term is sometimes applied to hybrids. It is a seedless variety, of
which there are over 200 cultivars , including Wenzhou migana, Owari,
and mikan; the source of most canned mandarins, and popular as a fresh
fruit due to its ease of consumption
* Owari, a well-known Satsuma cultivar that ripens during the late
Citrus tangerina) may be a type of pure mandarin.
However, some tangerine-grapefruit hybrids are legally sold as
tangerines in the USA.
HYBRIDS WITH MANDARIN ANCESTRY
Kinnow , a 'King' (
Citrus nobilis ) × 'Willow Leaf' (
deliciosa ) cross, developed by Dr H.B. Frost
Meyer lemon , a mandarin–lemon hybrid.
* Rangpur , a different mandarin–lemon hybrid.
* Mandarin–pumelo hybrids, sometimes called mandelos
Mandelo cultivar, a specific indirect complex
* Huanglingmiao , a mandarin–pumelo hybrid
Ponkan , a mandarin–pumelo hybrid
* Mediterranean/Willowleaf/Thorny (
Citrus × deliciosa ), a
Kinnow (see image), a 'King' (
Citrus nobilis ) × 'Willow Leaf'
Citrus × deliciosa) hybrid.
* The common sweet orange is 75% mandarin and 25% pumelo
* Tangors , or temple oranges, are crosses between the mandarin
orange and the common sweet orange; their thick rind is easy to peel
and its bright orange pulp is sour-sweet and full-flavored
Clementine , (
Citrus ×clementina), a hybrid between a mandarin
orange and a sweet orange, so named in 1902; sometimes known as a
"Thanksgiving Orange" or "
Christmas orange", as its peak season is
winter ; an important commercial mandarin orange form, having
displaced mikans in many markets
* Clemenules or
Nules , a variety of
Clementine named for the
Valencian town where it was first bred in 1953; it is the most popular
Clementine grown in Spain.
* Murcott , a mandarin–sweet orange hybrid.
* Tango is a proprietary seedless mid-late season irradiated
selection of murcott developed by the University of California Citrus
* Fairchild is a
Clementine -Orlando hybrid
Mangshanyegans , long thought to be mandarins, are in fact a
Citrus fruits are usually self-fertile (needing only a bee to move
pollen within the same flower) or parthenocarpic (not needing
pollination and therefore seedless, such as the satsuma ).
Blossoms from the Dancy cultivar are one exception. They are
self-sterile , and therefore must have a pollinator variety to supply
pollen, and a high bee population to make a good crop.
* Food portal
List of citrus fruits
Ju Song – "In Praise of the Orange-Tree"
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* ^ "International
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The Free Library . Retrieved
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Los Angeles: Institute of Chinese Medicine.
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Citrus reticulata at Plants for a Future
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