What is the Difference between Clementines and Tangerines?

What is the Difference between Clementines and Tangerines?

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Clementines and Tangerines are both a part of the orange family and they belong to the mandarin variety. Usually, people think that they are similar, but these fruits are not the one and the same.

Difference between Clementines and Tangerines

About Clementines and Tangerines

Clementines and Tangerines belong to the mandarin variety. They are also known as Citrus reticulata, and they usually taste a lot less sour than an orange.

The mandarin orange belongs to the orange family and is usually eaten plain or consumed in fruit salads. This variety of oranges is more prone to damage when exposed to cold climates. It’s usually grown in subtropical and tropical regions and is tender and smaller in comparison to the orange. This variety has a few sub-varieties including Tangor, Satsuma, and Owari.

Both tangerines and clementines belong to the same mandarin family of oranges and they are very rich sources of citric acid and vitamin C. However, they are different from each other visibly.


Also known as citrus tangerine, it is thin-skinned and a smaller cousin of the orange. At first, they were grown in Japan and China and moved to the west in the 19th century. They are usually used in desserts and salads. Sichuan cuisine is known for drying the skin of tangerine and using it a lot. The varieties of Tangerines include Chinese honey tangerines, honey tangerine, dancy tangerine, and sunburst tangerines. The season for tangerines in the Northern Hemisphere lasts from October to April.


Clementines are also a variety of the mandarin orange and are better known as the seedless tangerines. This variety is considered to be a hybrid that happened on an accident. It’s a cross between a mandarin and an orange. It’s considered that Father Clement Rodier discovered it in 1902. It’s referred to it as the Algerian tangerine and it also belongs to the family of Citrus reticulata. The Clementine has a very sweet flavor and is a favorite on holidays. They are usually grown in Algeria, Turkey, Spain, Italy, and Morocco. The season for them lasts from November to January.


Even though these two belong to the same family, they are visibly different from each other. The tangerines don’t have deep grooves and their skin is pebbly which makes them harder to peel. The clementines have shiny and very smooth skin and they are very easy to peel. The clementines also have looser and thinner skin than the tangerines.


Like every fruit that belongs to the orange family, the tangerines and the clementines also have a citrus flavor. However, they are a bit sweeter than the other varieties. Clementines are known to be sweet while tangerines have a slightly bitter and sour taste.


The clementines don’t have any seeds. On cross-pollination, however, they can sometimes contain a few seeds. The presence of seeds in tangerines is resulting in a slightly sour and bitter flavor.

There aren’t many differences and they usually go unnoticed. However, there are a few and it’s good to know them. These fruits are considered to be on-the-go snacks, due to their relatively small size.

Now that you know the Difference between Clementines and Tangerines, which do you prefer?

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