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Citrus ID


Mandarins (Clementine)





Cultivar or taxon


Citrus reticulata Blanco [Clementine Group] (sensu Mabberley 1997); Citrus reticulata Blanco (sensu Swingle and Reece 1967); Citrus clementina hort. ex Tanaka (sensu Hodgson 1967; sensu Tanaka sec. Cottin 2002)



Hodgson (1967) noted that:

"According to Trabut (1902a, 1902b, 1926) this highly important North African variety originated as an accidental hybrid in a planting of mandarin seedlings, presumably of the common or Mediterranean mandarin, made by Father Clement Rodier in the garden of the orphanage of the Péres du Saint-Esprit at Misserghin, a small village near Oran, Algeria. It was one of several aberrant plants Trabut noted and was selected by him and named Clementine by the Horticultural Society of Algiers on his recommendation (Chapot 1963a). It was Trabut's conclusion that the seed parent was the Mediterranean mandarin and the pollen parent a willow-leafed ornamental variety of C. aurantium known as Granito. Both Webber (1943, p. 558) and Tanaka (1954) have expressed doubt concerning the validity of this conclusion. More recently, Chapot (1963a), the distinguished French authority in North Africa, has refuted it with convincing evidence. It is his conclusion that Clementine is of Oriental origin, probably Chinese, and that it is indistinguishable from and probably identical to the Canton mandarin described by Trabut (1926), who also remarked on the similarities between the two. If this Canton mandarin was authentic, these resemblances have apparently escaped the notice of Tanaka (1954), for he has given the species designation clementina to this mandarin.

The Clementine variety was introduced into the United States in 1909 and brought to California from Florida in 1914 by H. S. Fawcett of the Citrus Research Center, Riverside. Evidently another independent introduction was made, since the 1914-15 catalogue of the Fancher Creek Nurseries of Fresno, California, mentions a new early mandarin from Algeria which later proved to be indistinguishable from Clementine."

"Chapot (1963b) has recently described a small-fruited mandarin which Trabut (1926, p. 4) either found or introduced and called the mandarinette. It exhibits so many resemblances to Clementine, including seed monoembryony and early maturity, as to suggest very close relationship. The principal differences reported relate to the odor of the leaf oil, the form of the seeds, and the color of the chalazal spot."

The Chiefland Budwood Facility (2010) provided the following additional notes on the group (clone DPI-836-1): "One of the older Clementines from the USDA Hiawassee Farm. This variety is a natural hybrid from Algeria.""



Crown compact or dense, not weeping. First-year twig surface glabrous; second- or third-year twig surface striate; thorns absent or not persistent or straight; prickles absent or not persistent. Petiole glabrous, length short or medium; wings absent, if present, narrow, adjoining the blade. Leaflets one, margin entire, crenate/crenulate or bluntly toothed, shade leaflet blades flat or weakly conduplicate, sun leaflet blades flat, weakly or strongly conduplicate. Scent of crushed leaflets sweetly orange-like, spicy or peppery, or mandarin-like. Fruit broader than long, as broad as long, or longer than broad; rind yellow (7-10), yellow-orange (11), orange (12) or red-orange (13); rind texture smooth (1-3), slightly rough (4-5), or medium rough (6-7); firmness leathery; navel absent; flesh orange; taste acidic-sweet.

Hodgson (1967) provided the following additional notes on the group:

"Fruit size variable, ranging from medium-small to medium; form likewise quite variable, with range from slightly oblate through globose to oblong and sometimes broadly pyriform from development of neck or collar; base usually rounded but sometimes collared or necked; apex depressed; occasionally with small navel. Rind medium in thickness; moderately firm and adherent, but easily peelable and does not puff until well after maturity; surface smooth and glossy, but slightly pebbled because of prominent oil glands; color deep orange to reddish-orange, but not as red as Dancy. Segments 8 to 12, slightly adherent; axis medium and open. Flesh color deep orange; tender and melting; juicy; flavor sweet; subacid and aromatic. Seeds very few to medium in number (depending on cross-pollination), monoembryonic, and cotyledons mostly green (some white). Early in maturity. While the rind puffs somewhat after maturity, on some rootstocks fruit holds on tree for several months with little loss in quality.

Tree medium in vigor and size, spreading and round-topped; branchlets fine-stemmed, willowy, and nearly thornless; foliage dense. Leaves highly variable in size, narrowly lanceolate in form, and somewhat resembling the Mediterranean or Willowleaf mandarin. In most locations, regular and satisfactory bearing is assured only by the provision of cross-pollination. Tree strongly cold-resistant."

"At least two clones of Clementine are known to exist in North Africa—the common ordinary and the Montreal. While the two are indistinguishable with respect to the tree, and virtually so for the fruit, the former exhibits self-incompatibility, and hence the fruit is seedless or nearly so in the absence of cross-pollination. Evidently associated therewith is less regularity and certainty of production under unfavorable conditions of climate or orchard management. The Monreal clone, which was found in 1940 in the orchard of Vincent Monreal at Perregaux, Oran, is self-compatible and without cross-pollination the fruit is regularly seedy. The bloom is much less abundant and the seeds slightly smaller. In this connection, it should be mentioned that seedy fruits average somewhat larger than seedless fruits and are also slightly sweeter. In Morocco, selections from mother trees of outstanding bearing behavior and low seed content have not shown significant differences. In both Morocco and Spain, seedless Monreal clones have been reported, but thus far they have not demonstrated superiority over the ordinary clone. The Spanish clone, Clementino de Nules, is said to have originated as a budsport in Nules, Castellón Province."

The Chiefland Budwood Facility (2010) provided the following additional notes on the group (clone: DPI-836-1): "Description: tree is cold resistant, need cross pollination, seedy, monoembryonic, important as a seed parent. Early"



Hodgson (1967) additionally noted that: "Climatically, the distinctive features of the Clementine variety are its low total heat requirement for fruit maturity and the sensitivity of the seedless fruit to unfavorable conditions during the flowering and fruit-setting period. In regions of high total beat, the Clementine matures very early—only slightly later than the satsuma mandarins. Such regions also favor production of fruit of maximum size and best eating quality. As a consequence, Clementine is without doubt the best early variety in the Mediterranean basin, particularly in North Africa, and is highly promising in other regions of similar climate."



Chapot, H. 1963a. La clementine. Al Awamia [Rabat] 7: 1–34.

Chapot, H. 1963b. La mandarinette. Al Awamia [Rabat] 8: 25–37.

Chiefland Budwood Facility. 2010. 2010 Annual report July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010. Bureau of Citrus Budwood Registration, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Winter Haven.

Cottin, R. 2002. Citrus of the World: A citrus directory. Version 2.0. France: SRA INRA-CIRAD.

Hodgson, R.W. 1967. Horticultural varieties of Citrus. In: Reuther, W., H.J. Webber, and L.D. Batchelor (eds.). The Citrus industry, rev. University of California Press.

Mabberley, D.J. 1997. A classification for edible Citrus (Rutaceae). Telopea 7: 167–172.

Soost, R.K. 1963. Citrus pollination. California Citrograph 48: 447–452.

Tanaka, T. 1954. Species problem in Citrus (Revisio aurantiacearum IX). Japanese Society for Promotion of Science, Ueno. 152 pp.

Trabut, L. 1902a. Une nouvelle tangerine, La Clementine. Gouvernement General del'Algerie. Direction de l' Agriculture. Informations Agricoles - Bulletin 35: 21–35.

Trabut, L. 1902b. L'hybridation des Citrus: une nouvelle tangerine, La Clementine. Revue Horticole [Paris] 74: 232–234.

Trabut, L. 1926. La Clementine, les hybrides du Citrus nobilis. Direction de l' Agriculture. Informations Agricoles - Bulletin 67.

Webber, H.J. 1943. Cultivated varieties of citrus. In: Webber, H.J. and L.D. Batchelor (eds.). The Citrus industry. I: 475-668. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.



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Citrus ID Edition 2
October, 2011