Common Name
Tangerine a.k.a. Mandarin Orange

Hawaiian Name
ÿAlani Pake (Chinese Orange)

Scientific Name
Citrus reticulata



Whole Plant





Location On Campus

Tangerine trees can be found in the terraced area between Kalama Dining Hall and Kaiona. You can also see one in the front of Kaiona, between Rooms 52 and 53 and in the back of Room 53. At the end of the ramp, fronting Ka‘oleioku, there is another tangerine tree.

Natural Habitat

Tangerines usually grow in warm, humid, subtropical to tropical areas. It gets better fruit color and internal qualities in areas with warmer nights, higher soil temperature and higher humidity. The tangerines are some of the most cold-tolerant members of the citrus clan.  Tangerine trees can be easily found in many local backyards.

Cultural Information

The tangerine tree was introduced to Hawai‘i. It originated from Southeast Asia, mainly from China. When Chinese immigrated to Hawaii, the tangerine was a food that they brought with them. The tangerine was carried westward along trade routes through China and up to the Mediterranean. The most important part of the tangerine tree is its fruit. It is tastes good and can easily be peeled and transported. The stems, leaves, flowers and rinds of the fruit were used for fragrance.

Plant Description


  • Fibrous roots
  • Light brown in color
  • Rough and dry texture


  • Woody stem
  • Grows straight up
  • Can be as high as 7.5 m
  • Width of the tree can be 7.5 - 10 m
  • Dark brown in color
  • Hard, strong, rigid and thorny
  • Oils from the stems are used for perfume


  • Compound leaves creates a dense foliage
  • Pinnate venation
  • About 1 cm apart and not bunched together
  • Range in size from 5 - 9.5 cm long
  • Broad or slender lanceolate (shaped like the head of a lance) leaves, pointed at the tip, rounded at the base with narrow-winged petioles and jagged at the edges
  • Top is green while the underside is a lighter color
  • Smooth and waxy with a shine
  • Oils from the leaves are used for fragrance


  • Borne singly or a few together in the leaf axils
  • White or purplish flowers
  • Small and delicate looking
  • Strong smell and the oil from the flowers are used for fragrance


  • Small, thin-skinned variety of the orange, belonging to the mandarin orange species of the family Rutaceae
  • Classified as a berry
  • Nearly round (oblate in shape), which have leathery and oily rinds and edible, juicy inner flesh which are divided into 10-15 segments
  • Should be allowed to ripen on the tree (The longer it is allowed to ripen, the sweeter and less acidic it is)
  • Bright orange or reddish orange when ripe
  • Smaller than oranges and are known for their loose peel which can be easily pulled away from the flesh
  • Pungent odor, a thinner rind and segments that can be easily separated


  • Small, pointed at one end and green inside
  • Not edible
  • Located in each tangerine segment numbering between 10-20 seeds per fruit
  • Slippery and bumpy texture
  • Dispersed uniformly throughout the fruit


  •  Honeybees are the best pollinators available.
  • The tangerine flowers, with its pretty colors and pungent smells easily attracts the pollinator.
  • Since the stamens are adjacent to the stigma, self-pollination is what most often occurs naturally

Life Cycle/

  • From October through April
  • Peaks November through January


  • Easily grown outdoors
  • Fall planting gives the young trees ample time to establish themselves before the stress of high temperatures
  • Usually require little attention after they have established themselves
  • One example of planting is layering (While still attached to the mother tree, the cut tip of the branch or limb is buried in the soil.)
  • Cuttings are usually taken from young twigs of healthy and mature trees (Before planting, the base of each cutting is cut off with a sharp knife, usually just below a node.)
  • Other propagation techniques are using seedlings, rootstocks (mainly the underground parts of the tree), grafting and budding
  • The character of the soil, adequate moisture, and climate all add to the propagation of tangerines
  • Harvested by hand (manual picking), which is the best, or by mechanical picking aids, direct contact machines and mechanical shaking
  • Last three methods have excessive damage to the fruit.

Other Interesting Facts:

  • Food value comparable to an orange, but the fruit is more delicate
  • Tangerine oil gathered from the stems, leaves, flowers and rind are not suitable for flavoring purposes
  • Tangerine oil is valued in perfume manufacturing, produced mostly in Italy, Sicily and Algiers
  • Juice of the tangerine is a great natural sweetener for the grapefruit
  • Grown mainly in the southeastern United States

Web Site Links


This site discussed the leaves and fruits of the tangerines tree. It shows how to grow and care for different citrus trees.


Batchelor, Leon P. and Herbert J. Webber. The Citrus Industry. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1948.

Chia, Dr. C.L. Extension Specialist - Horticulture. Department of Tropical Plants and Soil Science (DTPSS). University of Hawaii. 7 March 2003.

  Gardening. Dail Reid, Gardening Editor. 2001 <>

 Hillebrand, William F. Flora of the Hawaiian Islands. New York: Hafner Publishing Company, 1965.

 James-Palmer, Robert, M. Hawaiian Organic Growing Guide. Kahului: Oasis Maui, Inc., 1987.

 Mandarin Orange. Julia F. Morton. 1987 <>.

Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2002.

Neal, Marie C. In Gardens of Hawaii. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1965.

Ullman, Henry L. Fruits and Nuts. Makawao: PIC O MAUI, 1979

Wardowski, Wilfred F., et al. Fresh Citrus Fruits. Westport: Avi Publishing Company, 1986.

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