With the small orange-like fruits, it is difficult for many to distinguish between clementines (Citrus × clementina) and tangerines (Citrus reticulata). Typical features, however, allow them to be quickly distinguished from one another.


The Citrus reticulata originally comes from Asia. The English brought them to Europe in the early 19th century.

However, the clementine was first discovered in the Mediterranean region at the beginning of the 20th century. It owes its name to the French monk Frère Clément. He grew this type of fruit.

plant genus

The tangerine comes from the genus of citrus plants (Citrus). However, the clementine is a cross-breeding of tangerine and bitter orange . This makes it one of the hybrids, although its botanical name Citrus × clementina reveals that it is still a citrus plant. The “x” always denotes a hybrid species.

vitamins and minerals

Citrus fruits are generally considered very healthy because they contain plenty of vitamins and minerals. The respective content is different for the two types of citrus:

Per 100 grams

  • Folic Acid: Tangerine seven milligrams – Clementine 33 milligrams
  • Calcium: Mandarin 33 milligrams – Clementine 30 milligrams
  • Potassium: Mandarin 210 milligrams – Clementine 130 milligrams
  • Vitamin C: Mandarin 30 milligrams – Clementine 54 milligrams
  • Magnesium: Mandarin 11 milligrams – Clementine 10 milligrams

optical difference

On closer inspection, the two little “sisters” of the orange can be easily distinguished from one another by the following features:

  • Mandarin peel is slightly darker
  • Has a more spherical shape than a clementine, which is flatter
  • Usually slightly larger in size
  • Tangerine flesh in strong orange, clementine flesh light yellow
  • Tangerine pieces separated by a thin skin, clementine pieces not (lying directly next to each other)


Anyone who does not have a direct comparison between mandarin and clementine for the visual difference can see differences in the skin and the peeling:

  • Clementine peel is thicker and therefore difficult to peel
  • Tangerine peel thinner and easily separates from the pulp

number of slices

Another indication of the difference between clementine and tangerine is the number of slices. This means the pieces of the pulp. While the tangerine invariably has nine in number, the clementine varies between eight and twelve.


Seeds are unpopular in the fruit. For this reason, tangerines are being cultivated less and less because they are very seed-heavy. The clementine is usually seedless, although one or the other seed may be present.


The difference between a tangerine and a clementine is noticeable when it comes to taste:

  • Hybrid varieties noticeably sweeter than a tangerine
  • Tangerines have a much milder fruit aroma
  • Clementine firmer flesh than tangerine
  • Tangerine very juicy (at ideal degree of ripeness)
Note: Because the clementine tastes sweeter, it would be assumed that it has more calories due to the fructose. However, this is not the case, on the contrary, because with 47 calories per 100 grams, even it is ten calories below the tangerine.


A clear difference can be noticed in the durability. A Citrus reticulata can only be kept for a week or two after harvesting. However, under optimal conditions, the clementine stays fresh for up to eight weeks. This is due to the fact that the tangerine peel is thinner and more airy on the flesh. As a result, it tends to dry out faster than a clementine.

plant differences

Differences can not only be seen in the fruits, but also between tangerine and clementine trees as follows:

  • Growth height: tangerine up to a maximum of 2.50 meters – clementine up to 6 meters (not so high in pots)
  • Growth form: Mandarins often available as a half-stem – clementines often available as a standard
  • Winter hardiness: Mandarin sensitive to cold, frost-free wintering required – Clementine: tolerates frost, wintering outdoors possible
  • Harvest maturity: tangerines mainly between March and April, early-ripening varieties from December – clementines from November to January
  • Plant/flower scent: Tangerine less intense than the clementine tree

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