Etymology: "mandarin tree" comes from the name " mandara ", which was allocated to it first of all in France and in the island of Réunion (close to Mauricius). Habitat: Mediterranean tree, the Mandarin tree supports drought (hence its glazed leaves). Height: 4 m tall. Shape: globose crown.
Persistent foliage. Bright dark green leaves, lanceolate, smaller than those of other citrus fruit and devoid of winged petiole (distinctive of the orange tree).
Small, white flowers, 5 petals, in June. They exude a subtle and nice fragrance. Fruits: Tangerine is a fruit globose, compressed, bright orange, reddish, 5-8 cm in diameter. Mandarin has a thin peel (thinner than the orange) and easy to detach. The pulp is juicy and sweet pleasantly scented. Seeds (needed for reproduction) are numerous (too many to the taste of the consumers). Use: the Mandarin tree is cultivated, as all citrus fruit, for the consumption of its fruit. Citrus fruit are rich in vitamins C, mineral salts and citric acid.
One extracts from the bark, endowed with many glands, the tangerine essential oil which is used not only in perfumery, but also in chemist's shop to flavor medicines, in the manufacture of liqueurs and in pastry. The mandarin tree is also cultivated in pot for the ornament: they know a hybrid well stabilised, the clementine, got by the crossing of a mandarin tree and of a sour orange.
The clementine comes from a natural crossing between a flower of mandarin tree and of the orange tree pollen. From this marriage was born in 1902, a seed that was sown among others Misserghin, near Oran, by a clergyman, Father Clement. He wanted mandarin for kids at the orphanage where he was responsible. At the first harvest, he discovers much more colorful than fruit tangerine with a sweet and musky: The new fruit is called "Clementine" by the Horticultural Society of Algiers in tribute to its selector. Corsica is the main area of French production.
Diseases: the mandarin tree is subject, as other citrus fruit, to parasites: mealybug (clean with soap black), red spider (clean the affected leaves and well hydrated, treat with a miticide such as dicofol) or root rot (phytophthora).
Discoloration of the leaves leaving the veins is very apparent due to iron deficiency and water that is too rich in calcium (which blocks the absorption of iron). To remedy this, water your citrus rainwater (less rich in limestone) and add some iron chelate.
Advices of maintenance:
Except the Mediterranean coast, French climate is too cold for mandarin trees, orange trees and lemon trees. It is necessary to shelter them in winter in a not heated room, but frost free. They grow therefore in a pot. It would be good to repot them, to regenerate the earth. Take advantage of adding farmyard manure (purchased bagged dehydrated) or fertilizer (not too many nitrogen but potassium). Well water especially during flowering.
About pruning: prune them when they have flowers, just above the bouquets, so that the sap is concentrated to produce fruit. When there are fruits, cut green stems and leaves above the fruit so that the fruits grow and do not fall.