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The Mandarin orange, also known as the mandarin or mandarine (both lower-case), is a small citrus tree (Citrus reticulata) with fruit resembling other oranges. Mandarin oranges 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.

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 subtropical areas.





The mandarin orange is a variety of the orange family. The mandarin has many names, some of which actually refer to crosses between the mandarin and another citrus fruit.

  • Satsuma, a seedless variety, of which there are over 200 cultivars, such as 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 which ripens during the late fall season
  • Clementine, sometimes known as a “Christmas orange”, as its peak season is December; becoming the most important commercial Mandarin orange form, have displaced mikans in many markets
  • Tangerine sometimes known as “Dancy Mandarin”
  • Tangor, also called the temple orange, a cross between the Mandarin orange and the common sweet orange; its thick rind is easy to peel and its bright orange pulp is sour-sweet and full-flavored

The mandarin is easily peeled with the fingers, starting at the thick rind covering the depression at the top of the fruit, and can be easily split into even segments without squirting juice. This makes it convenient to eat, as utensils are not required to peel or cut the fruit.

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.

During Chinese New Year, Mandarin oranges and tangerines 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.

Biological characteristics

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. The fruit is oblate.

Medicinal uses

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.[1][verification needed] Mandarins have also been used in ayurveda (traditional medicine of India).[2][verification needed]

Tangerines, mandarins, clementines
Top ten producers in 2007 (1000 tonnes)
 People’s Republic of China 15,185
 Spain 1,974
 Brazil 1,206
 Japan 1,066
 Morocco 1,042
 South Korea 778
 Egypt 748
 Turkey 744
 Iran 702
 Thailand 670
 Pakistan 640
All other 4,156
World total 27,869
UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
, [3]

The “Clemenules” (or “Nules”, the Valencian town where it was bred) accounts for the great majority of clementines produced in the world. Spain alone has over 200,000 acres (800 km²), producing fruit between November and January. Mandarins marketed as tangerines are usually Dancy, Sunburst or Murcott (Honey) cultivars.

Written on June 8th, 2012 , Fruits Tags:

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