Clementine and Mandarin: The Good Fruit Guide View

Mandarins are a large group of easy-peeling citrus fruit, many with distinctive and sweet flavour, which originated in north-east India or south-west China.

Clementines are a type of mandarin which are among the nation’s favourite fruits, with good reason. At their best they are sweet, juicy, tasty, seedless, easy to peel, easy to eat, irresistible and good value. They come in small, medium and large sizes, and are pretty much always available. They are definitely on our list of 5-Star rated fruit!

Like many fruits that are available over a long period, there are plenty of different types with different characteristics, some of which are fantastic, while others are pretty ordinary, but the age and maturity of the fruit has a big influence on enjoyment and not all retailers are quick to protect the eating quality as the varietal seasons change.

Satsumas are also Mandarins, but warrant their own section as they have distinct characteristics.

Clementine and Mandarin - Good Fruit Guide Market Update

April 2012:

There are still some lovely, deeply flavoured late clementine and mandarins varieties on sale.  Nadorcott (Afourer or Clemcott) is the main variety on sale, from Spain and Morocco. This is a deeply flavoured fruit with great sweetness; sometimes with a tangy background. Orri and Or are the other varieties to seek-out, mainly from Israel and Spain.

The standard late season mandarin, Ortanique from Spain, is in most stores: these are quite difficult to peel, and can be quite tangy, though have a good flavour and make lovely juice.

Clementine and Mandarin - Directory of Varieties

Mandarin - Arrufatina - 267x264


An early Clementine, up to 3 weeks earlier than Clemenules. Matures in mid October in Spain. The fruit has a deep yellow peel which is thin and fairly tough to pierce, though then comes away relatively easily. Not as flavoursome as Oronules, similar or slightly superior to Marisol. Tends to go puffy when over-mature. Origin: … Read More »


Clemcott, the only Spanish tangerine that is quality certified is back for another season. from Freshplaza. Launched last year, Clemcott will be back for 4 months in European markets. It derives from a rigorous selection from the Nadorcott variety and is certified by CVVP (Club Variedades Protegidas), which controls all stages (growth, maturation, packaging) to … Read More »

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Clemenpons are very similar to Clemenules, the main variety from Spain, but arrives in the shops 2 to 3 weeks earlier. It is a high quality, easy-peeling fruit which should be quite irresistible at its best. Origin: A variety of Clementine derived through a chance mutation from a Clemenules tree. Discovered and patented in 1964 … Read More »

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Clemenruby (Pri)

An early Clementine variety which is taking over from Marisol as it has much improved internal quality. Clemenruby is a good looking fruit with slightly pebbled, mid-orange peel which is quite easy to remove, though can break into pieces. The segments are fine, soft and juicy with a good balance of sweetness to acidity. Primasol … Read More »


Clemensoon, a new early variety of clementine November 2nd, 2012 A new variety of clementine, characterized by its early ripening and output, is ready after more than 10 years of research across various locations. The Clemensoon, patented by Spanish company Anecoop, is derived from Oronule clementines, an early variety with a red-orange peel. “After closely … Read More »

Clemenules (Nules)

Sweet, easy-peeling and irresistible, Clemenules are the main variety of Clementine grown in Spain and the most popular with consumers through Europe. Origin: Clemenules (or Nules) are a natural mutation of the Fina variety, originating in Nules, Castellón country, Spain in 1953. The fruit are slightly larger than Fina and mature slightly later. Grown in: … Read More »

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Clemenvilla (Nova, Suntina)

Clemenvilla is a high quality, seedless, hybrid mandarin, also known as Nova (South Africa, USA) or Suntina (Israel). The thin peel comes away reasonably easily to reveal tight, firm segments that burst with flavour. The segments are significantly more solid than the soft nature of a true Clementine, but equally satisfying with a high sugar:acid … Read More »


A mid season Clementine variety, Esbal has very good eating characteristics having an excellent flavour and fine tender flesh. The colour is very attractive and the segments are seedless. Esbal does not hang on the tree well in late maturity, is prone to puffiness and has a tender rind which is susceptible to rain. Origin: … Read More »


A Clementine-Orlando tangelo. Tough to peel, but an attractive mandarin with an unusual flavour. Can be quite seedy, but good when seedless.

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Fina is a mid-season variety, also known as Algerian Tangerine in USA. With a small-medium size fruit, the peel is very smooth, deep orange-red in colour and easy to remove. The juicy fruit has a rich, sweet flavour and few seeds, and is regarded as one of the finest eating quality Clementines. Origin: Fina originated … Read More »

Gold Nugget

Gold Nugget is a late season mandarin with good flavour and sweetness and a high juice content. It is usually seedless and is quite easy to peel. The skin is an attractive orange colour and has a slightly rough, almost puffy, appearance. Origin: Gold Nugget originated from a breeding programme at the University of California, … Read More »


Hernandina is a late season Clementine variety, available from Spain in February and March. The eating quality is very similar to Fina, so Hernandinas are one of the best. It is characterised by a green tinge to the skin around the base of the fruit, which some consumer find off-putting. The skin colour, though, has … Read More »

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This is the main variety of citrus grown in Pakistan. The rind is very smooth, but easy to peel and the segments are tender and juicy with very high levels of sweetness giving a flavour much prized in Pakistan and India. Kinnow has never been popular with British supermarkets due to the presence of seeds, … Read More »

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Marisol is an early Clementine which can be available from late September from Spain or late April from the southern hemisphere. The fruit are juicy and tender to eat, but can be a little acidic. The pale yellow peel is relatively easy to remove, but tends to break easily. The fruit are prone to puffiness … Read More »


Mor is a late season tangor mandarin. The peel is thin and slightly brittle, but is relatively easy to remove. The flesh is delicious with intense sweetness and a good balance of tartness. Also known as Honey Mor or HoneyGold. Origin: Developed at the Volcani Institue in Israel from the more seedy Murcott. Grown in: … Read More »

Mandarin - Murcott


Murcott is a dense, heavy late season mandarin with intense sweetness and flavour – very satisfying. The flesh is richly orange. The peel is smooth and thin with a reddish orange colour which is a little more difficult to remove than with many easy-peelers, though no real problem. Also know as Honey Tangerine. Murcott can … Read More »

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Nadorcott (Afourer)

A high quality, mid to late-maturing Clementine. Easy-peeling with great depth of flavour and sweetness, with a good acidity balance. Nadacott is also known as Afourer (from Morocco) and is marketed under the ClemenGold brand, mainly during the South African season, when certain quality parameters have been met. Clemcott is a name used in the … Read More »

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Nanfeng (Honey Mandarin)

The Nanfeng tangerine or Nanfengmiju that is familiar to European markets is the ‘Tiny Tangerine’ or so called by many retailers. This mandarin fruit is small compared to the more common Clementines and Satsumas with which we are familiar, hence giving it a novelty value, but it is also very tasty with intense sweetness and … Read More »


Section still to be completed


Orogrande is a fine Clementine, with good flavour and sweetness. The peel is smooth, yellow-orange in colour, which comes away in one piece, though is slightly tough. The segments are an attractive orange colour, seedless, and with a delicious flavour and sweetness. The fruit has slightly less acid than Clemenules, so can be harvested slightly … Read More »

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An early Clementine variety with good eating characteristics. The peel is an attractive red-orange, and the flesh has the fine qualities of its Fina parent. Origin: Oronules is a natural mutation of Fina, discovered in Nules, Spain in 1970. Grown in: Spain, South Africa Harvest & Availability: In Spain, Oronnules in harvested in late September, … Read More »

Mandarin - Orri


The Or, Orr or Orri is a late season mandarin with exceptional sweetness, but enough acidity to give a fine, well balanced flavour. Mostly seedless, this is a worthy variety to extend the season of easy-peelers once the main Clementine varieties have finished. The skin is a lovely colour, being thin and quite easy to … Read More »

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Ortanique (Mandor / Tambor / Urunique)

The Ortanique is a late-season tangor mandarin which tends to appear on our shelves when the main Clementine varieties are all but finished. It is a fabulous looking, conical-shaped fruit, with a thin but leathery rind with adheres rather tightly and takes some peeling. The peel is a lovely bright yellow-orange colour and is usually … Read More »


A hybrid mandarin, mostly grown in USA, but a mandarin of the same name is popular in Kenya. Origin: Grown in: Kenya Harvest & Availability: April: Kenya

Mandarin - Scarlet


Full name: Burgess Scarlet. A medium sized, richly flavoured aromatic mandarin that is easy to peel. The flesh is finely textured and juicy. Scarlet is a mid to late season fruit. Often described as a tangerine. Origin: Grown in: South Africa, Australia, New Zealand Harvest & Availability: For the European market: August: from South Africa

Spring Sunshine

A sweet, dense, intense late season mandarin with thin peel.

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From Origin: `Valley Gold` is a hybrid of Ellendale and Robin. In 1980, pollen from `Robin` was applied by hand to the stigmas of `Ellendale`. The resulting fruits were collected in June 1981 whereafter seeds from each fruit were extracted and irradiated and thereafter planted in 1982. The variety was first asexually propagated in … Read More »

Clementine and Mandarin - How to Determine Quality

In Stores:

When buying Clementines, they should be:

  • Bright, not dull in appearance
  • Reasonably firm, not spongy to feel
  • With fairly tightly adhering peel, not being loose or puffy
  • Deep orange in colour, though some tinge of green is fine
  • Lacking in damage or breaks to the peel

At Home:

Clementines can be stored in the fridge for up to a week to retain their condition. It is best to let them warm-up at room temperature before eating to allow the flavours to flow.

If they are in good condition, they can be kept in a fruit bowl of several days without deterioration of eating quality. However, they will eventually become dull and less easy to peel through dehydration, and the flavours will become slightly musty.

Quality Problems:

  • Acidic to taste
  • Rot and mould
  • Loose skin
  • Dry segments
  • Too many seeds

Clementine and Mandarin - The Science

Description: Mandarins are a large group of citrus fruit that are easy to peel and are appreciated for their fine and distinctive flavour. Included in the group are Satsumas, Common mandarins (Clementines), Mediterranean mandarins, King mandarins, Hybrid mandarins, Tangors and Tangelos
Family: Rutaceae
Species: Citrus unshiu (Satsuma), C. deliciosa (Mediterranean), C. nobilis (King), C. reticulata (Common)
Storage: Mandarins are generally quite delicate fruit due to their soft peel and do not have a particularly long shelf-life after harvest. However, with good cool storage at 4-5oC, fruit in top condition can last for 2-6 weeks depending on the type.
Grown in: Mandarins are more cold-tolerant than other types of citrus, so are less common in the hot citrus regions of the world. The main countries of origin for the UK market are Spain, Morocco, Italy, Turkey, Pakistan, South Africa and Peru, but Chile, Argentina and Israel also contribute. Huge production also exists in USA, China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and various south-east Asian locations.
Origin: China. Cultivation has been recorded as long ago as 12th century BC.

Other Websites

Citrus Pages – Mandarins

CitroGold – South African nursery sales with good variety descriptions

University of California – Directory of varieties

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