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Mandarin Fact Sheet

  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Genus: Citrus
  • Commercially important species:
    • C. unshiu, Satsuma mandarin
    • C. deliciosa, Mediterranean mandarin
    • C. nobilis, King mandarin
    • C. reticulata, Common mandarin
  • Related species: C. sinensis, Sweet Orange; C. paradisi, Grapefruit; C. limon, Lemon; C. aurantifolia, Lime
  • Description: Evergreen tree or shrub with simple leaves. Fruit with leather-like outer coating that peels easily. Juice vesicles separate easily. alternate bearing habit; monoecious; pollen viability variable. Many cultivars will increase yield with pollinators.
  • Origin: Southeast China
  • History of cultivation: Since 12th Century B.C.
  • Current production: Worldwide 9 Million tons/yr. (Mediterranean Region - 3.3 metric tons/year; Japan - 2.2 metric tons/year)
  • Site requirements: Medium to deep that drains well.

Cultivation in California

  • History: Citrus was introduced and spread throughout California by the Spanish missionaries during the 1700's. The first orchard was planted in 1841. A citrus cooperative was established in the late 1800's to market the fruit. The cooperative launched an extensive advertising campaign that helped establish orange juice as the breakfast drink.
  • Yield: 4-7 tons per acre.
  • Cultivars: Dancy, Clementine, Honey, Kinnon, Clementine, Encore, Fairchild, Kara, Page, Mediterranean, Pixie, Satsuma, Wilinkg, Nova, Owari, Clausellina, Planellina, King, Ellendale, Arrufatina, Cravo, Fortune, Imperial, Kiyuomi, Lee, Malaquina, Michael.
  • Rootstocks: Trionate orange, Volkameriana; Sweet Orange, Troyer Citrange, Carrizo Citrange
  • Propagation: Budwood onto rootstock using "T" or Inverted - "T" method use virus tested budwood.
  • Spacing: High density 8-10' in row; 18" between rows.
    Hedgerow 6-8' in row, 15' between rows.
  • Irrigation: 30-36"/year; furrow to low volume emmiters
  • Training System: Pruning by heading back to maintain a uniform height more common than thinning cuts.
  • Nutrition: Yearly supply of N & Zn; Mg, K, Pb, & Mn may need to be supplemented. Use leaf analysis to avoid deficiencies and excesses.
  • Harvesting: Hand harvesting; November - June harvest; must meet minimum soluble solids to acid ratio and minimum color standard. Store poorly on the tree.
  • Marketing: Fresh markets more common. Fruit is susceptible to storage and shipping damage. Can be processed for juice and canning of segments.

Production Problems

  • Environmental: Sunburn, cold injury, nutrient deficiency
  • Insect/Pest: Citrus cutworm (Xylomyges curialis), Potato leafhoppers (Empoasca fabae), California red scale (Aonidiella auranti), Brown Soft Scale (Cocus hesperidum), black scale (Saisetia oleae)
  • Disease: Phytophthora sp., Armillaria rootrot, Septoria spot, dry rot fungus, Citrus Tristeza Virus (CTV)


  • Integrated Pest Management for Citrus; 2nd edition. 1991. DANR. Pub. #3303.
  • Davies, F.S. and L.G. Albrigo. 1994. Citrus. CAB Inter. Oxon, UK.
  • Ray, R. and L. Walheim. 1980. Citrus: How to select, Grow and Enjoy. Price, Stern, Sloan, Inc. L.A., CA

Prepared by Pat Thompson, 1995