Mandarin Orange, Tangerine
Southwest China, Northeast India
Citrus nobilis, better known as the tangerine or mandarin tree, grows in tropical areas around the world. It produces sweet, easy-to-peel fruits. The tangerine is among the most frost-tolerant trees in the world (though the fruits themselves can be damaged by the cold). Tangerines and mandarins are typically eaten fresh, but can also be processed into juices, beverages, cocktails, jams, flavored liquors, and candies. China alone produces nearly half the global yield of tangerines, which are the second most widely cultivated citrus fruit.
During Chinese New Year, mandarin and tangerine oranges are traditional symbols of abundance and good fortune. They are frequently displayed as decoration, and given as gifts during the two-week celebration.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the dried peel of the fruit is used to regulate chi (vital energy), treat abdominal distension, enhance digestion, and reduce phlegm. Tangerine essential oil is soothing to the nervous system and has a tonic effect on the digestive system, helping with gas, diarrhea, and constipation. It can also be applied topically to treat stretch marks and increase circulation.