Fun Facts about Tangerine Trees

People often mistake tangerines for oranges because of their round shape, orange peel, and sweet, citrus flavor. But did you know that tangerines are a hybrid between a Mandarin and a Pomelo, and are classified under the Swingle and Tanaka classification systems?

The tangerine fruit is in the same citrus family as oranges but is classified as Citrus Tangerina or Citrus Reticulata. They are smaller than regular oranges, less rounded, and have thin, easy-to-peel pebbly skin that is reddish-orange. When it comes to taste, tangerines are sweeter, stronger in flavor, and less tart than oranges.

The tangerine tree is an evergreen tree that grows 10 to 15 feet tall, although reports say that some old tangerine fruit trees can reach up to 25 feet in height.

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Tangerine History

You may be asking yourself, “Where are tangerines from?” or “What is the origin of the tangerine?” Let us go down the Tangerine history lane.

Where are tangerines from? How did they reach the United States? Tangerines were first grown in China and Japan about 3000 years ago. Through the silk trade route, tangerines reached other countries and continents where they were traded or bartered for money or other goods. In the 1800s, tangerines were first shipped to other parts of Europe and America from a port in Tangier, Morocco for which the fruit was named.

Tangerine Facts

We receive many questions regarding tangerines so we have prepared answers to some of those most commonly asked. Let us talk about a few facts about tangerines and discuss the different growing tangerine trees we can find in the US.

  • Where are tangerines grown? – Tangerines are commercially grown in the states of Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas. However, if you wish to be a home grower, you can still buy a tangerine plant for sale and grow it in your backyard if you live within the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11.
  • How long does a tangerine tree take to grow? – Tangerine trees like honey tangerine take about 2 years to grow after purchase. They need sufficient sunlight, proper watering, cold protection, and fertilizer to grow healthy.
  • Do tangerines grow on trees? – All tangerine fruits, including the pink tangerine fruit, are grown from trees. 
  • How long does it take for a tangerine tree to bear fruit? – if you purchase your tangerine tree from a reputable nursery, the grafted plant would already have about a year or two of growth, and would just take another 2 or 3 years to start bearing fruits.
  • What tangerine varieties can we buy? – If you are planning on growing tangerine trees in your backyard you can buy, (1) Algerian tangerine trees which bear sweet, seedless fruitt, (2) Murcott tangerine trees, which are a mid-winter to early spring fruit-bearing tree, (3) Temple tangerine trees, which bear terrifically large tangor fruits, and (4) Sunburst tangerine tree, a popular thornless home and orchard tree that produces medium-sized delicious fruits.