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Latin Name

        Citrus reticulata

English Meaning

A shrub or small tree having flattened globose fruit with very sweet aromatic pulp and thin yellow-orange to flame-orange rind that is loose and easily removed; native to southeastern Asia.  The word “citrus” originated with the Romans as it was used to refer to plants that possessed a scent.

mandarin orange photo taken by myself

The Citrus reticulata tree generally has thorns and thin twigs with wide, dark green, shiny leaves that are alternately arranged.  Its flowers bloom either singly or in a small group in the leaf axils.  Its fruit, known commonly as the mandarine or tangerine, is bright orange when ripe and oblate.  The mandarin is considered to be a hesperidium, which is a type of berry or fleshy, multiseeded fruit.  The outer shell of the mandarin is leathery and the inside of the peel is more spongy and light in color.  This part, which can also be referred to as the “rind”, has many glands which contain aromatic oils.  These oils are what gives the fruit its strong scent.  When peeled, it is found to be segmented and contains pointed seeds inside which are sometimes referred to as “pips”.


Domain: Eukarya

Kingdom: Plantae 

Subkingdom: Tracheobionta 

Superdivision: Spermatophyta 

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Magnoliopsida 

Subclass: Rosidae

Order: Sapindales

Family: Rutaceae

Genus:  Citrus L.

Species:  Citrus reticulata


Domain: Eukarya

    Citrus reticulata belong to the Eukarya domain because all of its plants are eukaryotic, meaning they are organisms containing cells with a nucleus, their cells are organized into complex structures enclosed within membranes, and resemble all of the other features of eukaryotes. 


It originated in China and Japan in the 16th century where it was grown in large quantities.  In the 19th century, it was brought to Europe as one of the last citrus fruits.  England introduced the mandarin to the Mediterranean region in the 19th century as well.  Italy took this citrus tree and introduced it to the new world, in specific, New Orleans, in the mid 1800s.  It was not until the early 1900s that commercial production of the mandarin began to become popular.  

mandarin oranges (Wikimedia Commons)