Can you determine whether this is an orange tree?

Asked March 9, 2015, 9:16 PM EDT

Can you verify that this is an orange tree or perhaps tangerine or mandarin? I was given it several years ago and it took a while to take off, but when it did, it really did. When it was given to me, the giver said it was an orange tree; now she recalls nothing about it. It bore fruit this year, and they look like tangerines maybe.

Clackamas County Oregon

1 Response

Identifying a citrus tree that has been grown indoors can be difficult because its characteristics may differ significantly from the same tree grown outdoors. The tree’s height, width, branching, and leaf configuration could be quite different.

But, you have fruit and it can reveal a lot if you are willing to pick, peel, cut, and taste it. Look especially for ease in peeling; then, after cutting a cross-section: the color of the fruit, number of sections, number of seeds, and whether it is sweet or sour.

A previous question asked how to distinguish between mandarins, tangerines, and clementines, and the answer may help you identify your tree.

Citrus reticulata, Mandarin orange is considered a native of south-eastern Asia and the Philippines. Mandarin is a group name for a class of oranges with thin, loose peel. The name "tangerine" could be applied as an alternate name to the whole group, but, in the trade, is usually confined to the types with red-orange skin. Mandarin cultivars fall into several classes: Class I, Mandarin: Class II, Tangerine: 'Clementine' (Algerian Tangerine')–round to elliptical; of medium size, 2-2 3/8 in wide, 2-2 3/4 in high; peel deep orange-red, smooth, glossy, thick, loose; pulp deep-orange with 8-12 segments; juicy, and of fine quality and flavor. They are a cross between the mandarin (Citrus reticulata) and the Seville orange (Citrus auratium). Class III, Satsuma (sometimes marketed as "Emerald Tangerine")

Here are links to two other sources to help you identify your citrus: