The tangerine (Citrus tangerina) is an orange-colored citrus fruit that is closely related to, or possibly a type of, mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata).
The name was first used for fruit coming from Tangier, Morocco, described as a mandarin variety. Under the Tanaka classification system, Citrus tangerina is considered a separate species. Under the Swingle system, tangerines are considered to be a group of mandarin (C. reticulata) varieties. While tangerines genetically resemble mandarins, the genetics are still not thoroughly studied.
The term is currently applied to any reddish-orange mandarin (and, in some jurisdictions, mandarin-like hybrids, including some tangors), but the term “tangerine” may yet acquire a definite genetic meaning.
Tangerines are smaller and less rounded than common oranges. The taste is considered less sour, as well as sweeter and stronger, than that of an orange. A ripe tangerine is firm to slightly soft, heavy for its size, and pebbly-skinned with no deep grooves, as well as orange in color. The peel is very thin, with very little bitter white mesocarp, which makes them usually easier to peel and to split into segments. All of these traits are shared by mandarins generally.