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Common Name: Mandarin
Photograph by: carol
Fruiting plant in the Limonaia del Castel, Limone sul Garda, on Lake Garda, Brescia, Italy
Photograph by: Daderot
Even small pot plants can fruit well, as here in Vietnam
Photograph by: Bùi Th?y ?ào Nguyên
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Photograph by: Lazaregagnidze
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Citrus reticulata is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 4.50 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
E. Asia - China or Indo-China.
Original habitat is obscure.
Prefers a moderately heavy loam with a generous amount of compost and sand added plus a very sunny position[
]. Prefers a pH between 5 and 6[
]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3. Plants are intolerant of water logging[
]. When growing plants in pots, a compost comprising equal quantities of loam and leafmould plus a little charcoal should produce good results[
]. Do not use manure since Citrus species dislike it[
]. When watering pot plants it is important to neither overwater or underwater since the plant will soon complain by turning yellow and dying. Water only when the compost is almost dry, but do not allow it to become completely dry[
The mandarin is widely grown for its edible fruit in warm temperate and tropical zones, there are many named varieties[
]. In Britain it can be grown in a pot placed outdoors in the summer and brought into a greenhouse during the winter[
]. It is more resistant than the sweet or bitter orange to cold (because it quickly becomes dormant at low temperatures) but it is best it the temperature does not fall below 7°c[
]. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[
Plants dislike root disturbance and so should be placed into their permanent positions when young. If growing them in pots, great care must be exercised when potting them on into larger containers[
Fruit - raw or cooked in puddings, cakes, confectionery etc[
]. It is sweet and delicious[
]. The fruit is up to 8cm in diameter[
The dried rind of the fruit has a sweet spicy flavour and is often used as a flavouring in cakes etc[
Citrus species contain a wide range of active ingredients and research is still underway in finding uses for them. They are rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, acids and volatile oils. They also contain coumarins such as bergapten which sensitizes the skin to sunlight. Bergapten is sometimes added to tanning preparations since it promotes pigmentation in the skin, though it can cause dermatitis or allergic responses in some people[
]. Some of the plants more recent applications are as sources of anti-oxidants and chemical exfoliants in specialized cosmetics[
The fruit is antiemetic, aphrodisiac, astringent, laxative and tonic[
The flowers are stimulant[
The pericarp is analgesic, antiasthmatic, anticholesterolemic, anti-inflammatory, antiscorbutic, antiseptic, antitussive, carminative, expectorant, stomachic[
]. It is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, gastro-intestinal distension, cough with profuse phlegm, hiccup and vomiting[
The endocarp is carminative and expectorant[
]. It is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, gastro-intestinal distension, coughs and profuse phlegm[
The unripened green exocarp is carminative and stomachic[
]. It is used in the treatment of pain in the chest and hypochondrium, gastro-intestinal distension, swelling of the liver and spleen and cirrhosis of the liver[
The seed is analgesic and carminative[
]. It is used in the treatment of hernia, lumbago, mastitis and pain or swellings of the testes[
An essential oil from the peel is used as a food flavouring and also in perfumery and medicines[
]. Yields are around 0.5%[
An essential oil obtained from the leaves and young twigs is called 'petitgrain oil'. Yields are around 0.5%[
The seed is best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it ripe after thoroughly rinsing it[
]. Sow stored seed in early spring in a greenhouse[
]. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 3 weeks at 13°c. Seedlings are liable to damp off so they must be watered with care and kept well ventilated. The seed is usually polyembrionic, two or more seedlings arise from each seed and they are genetically identical to the parent but they do not usually carry any virus that might be present in the parent plant[
]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least three growing seasons before trying them outdoors. Plant them out in the summer and give them some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame.
Layering in early autumn.