Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Mandarin Orange' Applies to Several Citrus Fruits

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Mandarin Orange' Applies to Several Citrus Fruits

Article excerpt


I want to plant a tangerine tree in my yard this year but am confused by the various names used, such as satsuma, tangerine and mandarin. What's the difference?

The name mandarin, or "mandarin orange," is applied to a number of citrus fruits that have as their common characteristic a peel that is quite free from the flesh. The term "kid glove orange" was at one time applied because it was said that a lady could eat one while wearing kid gloves without getting them wet.

Three species are grouped under the mandarin name: the satsuma, the king and kunenbo, and the tangerine.

The satsuma originated in Japan and was introduced in Florida in 1876. The trees bear heavy crops, and the fruit matures in October and November. If left on the tree after they reach maturity, the fruit become puffy and lose their taste. Normally they are seedless.

The king "orange" of Indo-China and the closely related kunenbo of Japan are the only representatives of this species. They were first introduced in Florida about 1882. These have never been important varieties because the trees tend to overbear, with resultant breakage of limbs. The fruit is susceptible to sun scalding because of the upright branches and sparse foliage. The season of maturity is March to June.

As far as tangerines are concerned, there is no distinction between the terms "mandarin" and "tangerine." The former word is of older usage. The name was originally spelled "tangierine" because fruits were imported from Tangiers in Morocco to England.

The first mandarins (tangerines) were introduced to Florida about 1825. The village of Monroe on the St. Johns River changed its name in 1830 to Mandarin.

There are four main tangerine varieties: Dancy, Ponkan, Oneco and Cleopatra. Dancy is probably the best known to most people. It matures in December and January and has between seven and 20 seeds.

My father planted some muscadine grape vines over 10 years ago, and I am now taking care of them. …

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