The Declensions of Citrus Fruits
Variety is Fun!
HubPages Question: What's the difference between a Tangerine, a satsuma, a manderine or a clemantine? asked by MP50.
While I don't really believe that fruits can be declined in the way we decline nouns and pronouns, the lineage of citrus fruits and their hybrids, with all their similarities and differences, have always fascinated me. My imagination draws a parallel somehow.
My early interest only increased with time and the discovery of additional citrus fruits form foreign countries and of countries like Thailand that produce at least one different type of fruit every month. The types of citrus often resemble family lines of sorts and that's why I think this question can be fun. Perhaps someone that grows each type will write in!
So, citrus is fun. This all began when my father and his siblings on the farm long ago received an orange, an apple, walnuts, and other food items in their Christmas stockings. As a professional decades later, he and his colleagues gave large boxes and crates of citrus fruits to other business contacts and friends every Christmas. I think I was only 5 when I first saw a kumquat and wondered how an orange became so tiny - like "Bonsai fruit."
What are they?
Botanical information comes from The Ohio State University Extension Service.
Tangerine - A Chinese symbol of good fortune. This is not a cross between other citrus varieties. It is Citrus tangerina (a beautiful name), smaller than an orange, with darker orange-colored, rougher skin that comes off easily. The oils in peel of this fruit strongly burn my lips, so I always remove the entire peel before eating, rather than to cut the whole fruit into slices. I find the flavor to be a bit stronger than that of an orange, but many people feel that it is milder.
Tangelo - One of my favorite among citrus, this is a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit or pomelo (see Grapefruit section below) and is very refreshing to eat, with a lightly flavored juice and a sweetness. A Minneola is a tangelo using a specific variety of grapefruit and tangerine. The tangelo has a rougher appearance than an orange, plus a knob on the top. Notice the shape of the tangelo and the prominence of the knob n the photo to the right.
Manderine - Also a Chinese symbol of good fortune and good health. Some sources say that this is only a mandarin orange or Citrus reticulata . I like those very much and put them over vanilla ice cream - as good as a Creamsicle®. However, with the -erine ending suggests that this fruit could also be a hybrid of the tangerine and the orange, but it is not. That is called the Orantique -- Those I've seen are of a size intermediate to its parents and a slightly different flavor - it could become quite a delicacy.
Clementine - This fruit is a (usually) seedless variety of mandarin orange or Citrus reticulata . You could call it a sibling. I saw clementines a lot in those boxes of gift fruit with the kumquats every Christmas and was so happy that had no seeds. There are a number of arguments in existence about it's origin, but the consensus points to China long ago.
Satsuma - It looks like a large kumquat to me and we might call it a cousin to the mandarin orange. This is Citrus unshiu , a Japanese product from Satsuma Province that is a result of mutation. Sometimes a mutation reveals an unwanted product, item, or birth defect; but this is a good mutation. The fruit is also called honey orange or seedless mandarin . It is a little odd in that it has a loose skin that includes scattered oil glands.
All this IS a little like declensions:
- Grapefruit, Tangerine, Tangelo - parents and child
- Manderine, Clementine, Satsuma - siblings and cousin
Notice in the photos to the right that the TANGELO of the First Group and the SATSUMA of the Second Group both have somewhat of a knob on top. This is a magick of genetics in some way, isn't it?
The grapefruit is itself a hybrid, a cross between the pomelo or Citrus maxima and the sweet orange or Citrus sinensis.
I have never seen a pomelo in our local markets in my town, but I will look again, and pictures of the fruit look like an Asian pear inside of which is grapefruit flesh.
The word pomelo apparently gives rise to the word Pamplemousse in French - the name of the protagonist in Michael Bond's (Paddington Bear) Monsieur Pamplemousse Mysteries for adults. I always wondered why some mentions on the Internet called the detective "Grapefruit."
Citrus is not only fun, it's art!