Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Citrus
C. × tangerina
Binomial name
Citrus × tangerina

The tangerine is a type of citrus fruit that is orange in color, that is considered either a variety of Citrus reticulata, the mandarin orange, or a closely related species, under the name Citrus tangerina,[1][2][3] or yet as a hybrid (Citrus × tangerina) of mandarin orange varieties, with some pomelo contribution.


According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the word "tangerine" was originally an adjective meaning "Of or pertaining to, or native of Tangier, a seaport in Morocco, on the Strait of Gibraltar" and "a native of Tangier." The name was first used for fruit coming from Tangier, Morocco, described as a mandarin variety.[4] The OED cites this usage from Addison's The Tatler in 1710 with similar uses from the 1800s. The adjective was applied to the fruit, once known scientifically as "Citrus nobilis var. tangeriana" which grew in the region of Tangiers. This usage appears in the 1800s.[5]


Under the Tanaka classification system, Citrus tangerina is considered a separate species. Under the Swingle system, tangerines are considered a group of mandarin (C. reticulata) varieties.[6] Some differ only in disease resistance.[7] The term is also currently applied to any reddish-orange mandarin (and, in some jurisdictions, mandarin-like hybrids, including some tangors).[8][9]


Tangerines are smaller and less rounded than the oranges. The taste is considered less sour, as well as sweeter and stronger, than that of an orange.[10] A ripe tangerine is firm to slightly soft, and pebbly-skinned with no deep grooves, as well as orange in color. The peel is thin, with little bitter white mesocarp.[11] All of these traits are shared by mandarins generally.

Peak tangerine season lasts from autumn to spring. Tangerines are most commonly peeled and eaten by hand. The fresh fruit is also used in salads, desserts and main dishes. The peel is used fresh or dried as a spice or zest for baking and drinks. Fresh tangerine juice and frozen juice concentrate are commonly available in the United States.

Nomenclature and varieties

See also: Mandarin varieties

Tangerine production – 2021[12]
Country Production (millions of tonnes)
 China 25.0
 Spain 2.0
 Turkey 1.8
 Morocco 1.2
 Brazil 1.08
 United States 1.05
 Egypt 1.0
World 42.0

Tangerines were first grown and cultivated as a distinct crop in the Americas by a Major Atway in Palatka, Florida.[13] Atway was said to have imported them from Morocco (more specifically its third-largest city Tangier), which was the origin of the name. Major Atway sold his groves to N. H. Moragne in 1843, giving the Moragne tangerine the other part of its name.[14]

The Moragne tangerine produced a seedling which became one of the oldest and most popular American varieties, the Dancy tangerine (zipper-skin tangerine, kid-glove orange).[14] Genetic analysis has shown the parents of the Dancy to have been two mandarin orange hybrids each with a small pomelo contribution, a Ponkan mandarin orange and a second unidentified mandarin.[15] The Dancy is no longer widely commercially grown; it is too delicate to handle and ship well, it is susceptible to Alternaria fungus, and it bears more heavily in alternate years.[16][17] Dancys are still grown for personal consumption, and many hybrids of the Dancy are grown commercially.

Until the 1970s, the Dancy was the most widely grown tangerine in the US;[18] the popularity of the fruit led to the term "tangerine" being broadly applied as a marketing name. Florida classifies tangerine-like hybrid fruits as tangerines for the purposes of sale and regulation;[8] this classification is widely used but regarded as technically inaccurate in the industry.[9] Among the most important tangerine hybrids of Florida are murcotts (a late-fruiting type of tangor marketed as "honey tangerine"[19]) and Sunbursts (an early-fruiting complex tangerine-orange-grapefruit hybrid).[20] The fallglo, also a three-way hybrid (58 tangerine, 14 orange and 18 grapefruit), is also grown.[21]


In 2021, world production of tangerines (including mandarins and clementines) was 42 million tonnes, led by China with 60% of the total (table).


Tangerines, raw
A Murcott, likely a tangerine hybrid
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy223 kJ (53 kcal)
13.34 g
Sugars10.58 g
Dietary fiber1.8 g
0.31 g
0.81 g
Vitamin A equiv.
34 μg
155 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.058 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.036 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.376 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.216 mg
Vitamin B6
0.078 mg
Folate (B9)
16 μg
10.2 mg
Vitamin C
26.7 mg
Vitamin E
0.2 mg
37 mg
0.15 mg
12 mg
0.039 mg
20 mg
166 mg
2 mg
0.07 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water85.2 g

Percentages estimated using US recommendations for adults.[22]

Tangerines contain 85% water, 13% carbohydrates, and negligible amounts of fat and protein (table). Among micronutrients, only vitamin C is in significant content (32% of the Daily Value) in a 100-gram (3.5 oz) reference serving, with all other nutrients in low amounts.


  1. ^ "Citrus reticulata Blanco". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2023. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  2. ^ Mandal, Shyamapada; Mandal, Manisha (2016). "Tangerine (Citrus reticulata L. Var.) Oils". Essential Oils in Food Preservation, Flavor and Safety. pp. 803–811. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-416641-7.00091-2. ISBN 978-0-12-416641-7.
  3. ^ "Citrus deliciosa Ten.". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Home : Oxford English Dictionary". oed.com.
  5. ^ See the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, 1989.
  6. ^ Froelicher, Yann; Mouhaya, Wafa; Bassene, Jean-Baptiste; Costantino, Gilles; Kamiri, Mourad; Luro, Francois; Morillon, Raphael; Ollitrault, Patrick (2011). "New universal mitochondrial PCR markers reveal new information on maternal citrus phylogeny". Tree Genetics & Genomes. 7: 49–61. doi:10.1007/s11295-010-0314-x. S2CID 32371305.
  7. ^ Li, Xiaomeng; Xie, Rangjin; Lu, Zhenhua; Zhou, Zhiqin (2010). "The Origin of Cultivated Citrus as Inferred from Internal Transcribed Spacer and Chloroplast DNA Sequence and Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism Fingerprints". Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 135 (4): 341–350. doi:10.21273/JASHS.135.4.341.
  8. ^ a b Commernet, 2011. "20-13.0061. Sunburst Tangerines; Classification and Standards, 20-13. Market Classification, Maturity Standards And Processing Or Packing Restrictions For Hybrids, D20. Departmental, 20. Department of Citrus, Florida Administrative Code". State of Florida. Retrieved 14 May 2015.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ a b Larry K. Jackson & Stephen H. Futch. "HS178/CH073: Robinson Tangerine". Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  10. ^ Pittman & Davis (22 February 1999). "Pittman & Davis – Premium Citrus Fruit Gifts – Why Are Tangerines So Tangy?". Pittmandavis.com. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  11. ^ David Karp (28 January 2011). "Market Watch: The wild and elusive Dancy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  12. ^ "Crops/World regions/Production quantity (pick lists) of tangerines for 2021". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Statistical Division (FAOSTAT). 2023. Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  13. ^ H. Harold Hume (1913). Citrus Fruits and Their Culture. O. Judd Company. p. 101.
  14. ^ a b "dancy". citrusvariety.ucr.edu. Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  15. ^ Wu, Guohong Albert; Terol, Javier; Ibanez, Victoria; López-García, Antonio; Pérez-Román, Estela; Borredá, Carles; Domingo, Concha; Tadeo, Francisco R; Carbonell-Caballero, Jose; Alonso, Roberto; Curk, Franck; Du, Dongliang; Ollitrault, Patrick; Roose, Mikeal L. Roose; Dopazo, Joaquin; Gmitter Jr, Frederick G.; Rokhsar, Daniel; Talon, Manuel (2018). "Genomics of the origin and evolution of Citrus" (PDF). Nature. 554 (7692): 311–316. Bibcode:2018Natur.554..311W. doi:10.1038/nature25447. PMID 29414943. S2CID 205263645. and Supplement
  16. ^ Larry K. Jackson & Stephen H. Futch (6 June 2018). "HS169/CH074: Dancy Tangerine". ufl.edu.
  17. ^ "Satsuma cultivars: The best and the worst". AL.com. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Dancy Tangerine". Slowfood USA. Archived from the original on 12 July 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  19. ^ "HS174/CH078: Murcott (Honey Tangerine)". Edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  20. ^ "HS168/CH079: Sunburst Tangerine". Edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  21. ^ Larry K. Jackson & Stephen H. Futch. "HS173/CH075: Fallglo Tangerine". Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  22. ^ United States Department of Agriculture; Agricultural Research Service (2019). "FoodData Central". Retrieved 18 March 2024.