Mandarin essential oil is estimated to be one of the most extensively sought after essential oil. The oil has the ability to keep various kinds of skin infections at bay, and it indeed does so. Mandarin oil is absolutely loved by its users.
The mandarin orange is considered a native of south-eastern Asia and the Philippines.
It is most abundantly grown in –
- Southern China
- The East Indies
It gravitated to the western world by small steps taken by individuals interested in certain cultivars. Therefore, the history of its spread can be roughly traced in the chronology of separate introductions. Two varieties from Canton were taken to England in 1805.
They were adopted into cultivation in the Mediterranean area and, by 1850, were well established in Italy. Sometime between 1840 and 1850, the ‘Willow-leaf’ or ‘China Mandarin’ was imported by the Italian Consul and planted at the Consulate in New Orleans. It was carried from there to Florida and later reached California. The ‘Owari’ Satsuma arrived from Japan, first in 1876 and next in 1878, and nearly a million budded trees from 1908 to 1911 for planting in the Gulf States. Six fruits of the ‘King’ mandarin were sent from Saigon in 1882 to a Dr. Magee at Riverside, California.
The latter sent 2 seedlings to Winter Park, Florida. Seeds of the ‘Oneco’ mandarin were obtained from India by the nurseryman, P.W. Reasoner, in 1888. In 1892 or 1893, 2 fruits of ‘Ponkan’ were sent from China to J.C. Barrington of McMeskin, Florida, and seedlings from there were distributed and led to commercial propagation.
The commercial cultivation of mandarin oranges in the United States has developed mostly in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi and, to a lesser extent, in Texas, Georgia and California. Mexico has overproduced tangerines, resulting in low market value and cessation of plantings. The 1971-72 crop was 170,000 MT, of which, 8,600 MT were exported to the United States and lesser amounts to East Germany, Canada and Argentina. There is limited culture in Guatemala and some other areas of tropical America.
These fruits have never been as popular in western countries as they are in the Orient, Coorg, a mountainous region of the Western Ghats, in India, is famous for its mandarin oranges. For commercial exploitation, mandarins have several disadvantages: the fruit has poor holding capacity on the tree, the peel is tender and therefore the fruits do not stand shipping well, and the tree has a tendency toward alternate bearing.
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