he mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata), also known as the mandarin or mandarine, is a small citrus tree 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.
According to molecular studies, the mandarin, the citron, the pomelo, and the papeda were the ancestors of all other citrus species and their varieties, through breeding or natural hybridization; mandarins are therefore all the more important as the only sweet fruit among the parental species.
See also Citrus taxonomy.
Mandarins are one of the four core ancestral citrus taxa, and are thought to have evolved in Vietnam, southern China, and Japan.
Pure mandarins seem to divide into two groups; an edible group, including the 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 and tangerines are considered to be two species: Citrus unshiu and Citrus tangerina. Under the Swingle system, unshius and tangerines 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 continumn with clementines, sweet and sour oranges, and grapefruit.
Hybrids between mandarins and other citrus fruits are sold under a variety of names; see below.
See also: Citrus taxonomy
Cultivars and crosses between the original mandarin and other citrus fruits include:
Nanfengmiju (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.
? Dancy; also known as the zipper-skin tangerine, it may be a pure mandarin.
Satsuma (Citrus unshiu), 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 fall season
Tangerine (Citrus tangerina)
Yuukou mandarin - a yellow Japanese citrus found in the wild
Hybrids with mandarin ancestry
Kinnow, a 'King' (Citrus nobilis) × 'Willow Leaf' (Citrus ×deliciosa) cross, developed by Dr H.B. Frost
Meyer lemon, a mandarin × lemon hybrid.
Rangpur, a different mandarin × lemon hybrid.
Mandarin × pumelo hybrids
Huanglingmiao, a mandarin × pumelo hybrid
The Ponkan, a mandarin × pumelo hybrid
Mediterranean/Willowleaf/Thorny (Citrus ×deliciosa), a mandarin × pumelo hybrid
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; becoming the most 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 variety of 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 Breeding Program.
Mangshanyegans, long thought to be mandarins, are in fact a separate species.
Canned and peeled mandarin orange segments
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.
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.
Raw mandarine has 53 calories from 13g of carbs,0.31g of fat and 1g of protein.
Mandarin orange peel (cold pressed) essential oil in a clear glass vial
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)