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‘Pixie’ mandarins (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)
‘Pixie’ mandarins (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)

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Zone
Zones 8, 9, 12-31, H1, H2

Citrus, Mandarin Sour Acid

Rutaceae
Evergreen, Edible fruit, Trees, Decorative fruit or berries

CITRUS

Varieties with orange-red peel are usually called tangerines. Many mandarins tend to bear heavily in alternate years. Some are always seedless, while others produce more seeds; the latter give seedier fruit if pollinated by another mandarin or mandarin hybrid or by ‘Valencia’ orange.

Sour Acid

These fairly compact plants produce usable fruit (and are everbearing in mild climates), but their best feature is good looks. They thrive outdoors in the ground or in pots.

Calamondin: Fruit looks like a tiny (3/4–1 1/2-in.) orange. Hundreds hang from this tall, columnar plant (8–10 ft. tall and about half as wide, even as a dwarf). This variety is variegated, its leaves marked with creamy yellow; developing fruit may be striped in yellow and green. Flesh is tender, juicy, sour, with a few small seeds. Skin and flesh are good in marmalades.

‘Rangpur’. Commonly called Rangpur lime, but probably not a lime at all: fruit looks and peels like a mandarin, does not have lime flavor. Less acid than lemon but with flavor overtones that make it a rich, interesting base for punches and mixed drinks. Good landscape tree: vigorous, sturdy, bushy, growing quickly to 15 ft. tall and wide (as dwarf to 8 ft.). Dense when pruned, open otherwise. Fruits are colorful and ornamental, hang on tree throughout year.

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