The citrus dialogues (was;Changing words)

JOdel at aol.com JOdel at aol.com
Fri Feb 6 11:37:12 EST 2004


<< But what is the relation of either satsumas or clementines to tangerines? 
Is it mostly to do with their place of origin (I assume tangerines are North 
African, and that if Scipio Africanus had lost we'd be calling them 
Carthagines)? >>

My understanding is that there were originally about three basic varieties of 
oranges, one with close-fitting skins, one where the skins are loose and not 
closely attached to the fruit and one other which has fallen out of my head 
(bitter oranges?)

All of the myriad breeds of reasonably orange were descended from one or the 
other of the basic three. 

Traditionally, tangerines were almost all Loose-skin varieties. But the 
hybridization that went on between different strains of citrus last century 
produced a lot of things that were neither one thing nor the other, which is pretty 
much to be expected when you have things that are hybrids of orange and some 
other form of citrus like lemons or limes or grapefruit or whatever.

We get clementines out here in SoCal, but their season is short. I don't know 
whether we have always gotten them or whether they have been recently 
reintroduced. I certainly do not remember seening anything labled "clementine" in the 
markets when I was a kid. 
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