The mandarin tree has glossy evergreen leaves, white fragrant flowers and delicious orange fruit. Native to China, it was named after the Mandarin officials of the Chinese empire who wore bright orange robes. In modern China, mandarin oranges are still a symbol of good fortune. They are a welcome house-warming gift and displayed as decorations at Chinese New Year.
Ever wondered what the difference is between satsumas, tangerines and clementines? The answer is all three are types of mandarin orange. The satsuma is mandarin’s seedless Japanese cousin. The tangerine was the name given to mandarins when they were first exported to Europe from Tangier. And the clementine has occasional seeds and is mostly grown around the Mediterranean.
The mandarin is the mother of all these much-loved, sweet citrus fruits. It is also the fruit of childhood and a mum’s best friend. This perfectly formed pocket-sized parcel of nutrition, with a loose, easy peel has earned itself the pseudonym the ‘kid’s glove orange’. The oil of its peel is the most popular natural remedy for children in France, where they use it to treat tummy upsets and hiccups. For adults, a daily facial with mandarin oil is said to maintain youthful skin.
Aromatherapists believe that mandarin oil breathes happiness into children and our ‘inner child’. Its aroma is said to encourage deep emotions to shift and reconnect us with our intuition. The sweet scent of the mandarin flower is popular with perfumers. Its fruity, floral fragrance makes it the perfect partner to sweeten and soften its sharp citrus fruit friend the lemon.