Orange vs. Tangerine

Orange vs. Tangerine

Orange and tangerine are types of citrus fruits. They originate from Asia, but they can be found in tropical and subtropical areas around the world today. Cultivation of oranges and tangerines started 2500 to 3000 years ago. There are plenty of different varieties of tangerines and oranges today. They differ in size, taste and color. Most types of oranges and tangerines are orange colored, juicy, delicious and rich in nutrients. Aside from that, oranges and tangerines differ in many aspects:

Morphology of the Mother Plant

Orange is an evergreen tree that can reach 30 feet in height. It has alternately arranged oval leaves with slightly crenulated margins. Tangerine tree can reach up to 20 feet in height. It has glossy, lanceolate leaves with entire or slightly crenulated margins.

Size and Shape of Fruit

Tangerine is smaller and less rounded than orange. Ripe tangerine is softer to touch compared to a ripe orange, which is firm and heavy for its size.


Tangerine has thin, pebbly, soft rind lined with thin layer of white tissue from the inner side. It can be easily peeled and split into segments. Tangerine contains 7 to 14 segments which are often filled with seed. Orange has thick, hard, granular rind and thick layer of inner white tissue. Most oranges have 10 segments and up to 6 seed. Both oranges and tangerines can be seedless. Some varieties of orange have belly-button-like scar on the surface and contain additional, much smaller fruit that develops on one side (on top) of the orange. These oranges are known as "navels". They contain more sugar compared to other orange cultivars.


Both tangerine and orange can be sweet or sour, depending on the variety of fruit, but tangerine is generally less sour than orange and it has stronger flavor. Smaller tangerines are sweeter than larger tangerines.

Nutritional Value

Orange contains less sugar, fat and proteins, but more vitamin C and fibers than tangerine. It is also rich source of vitamin B1 and B9. Aside from vitamin C, tangerine is good source of vitamin A, B1 and B6.


Tangerine and orange are usually consumed out of the hand. Orange, as well as its fragrant zest, are often used for the preparation of cakes, cookies, juices, marmalades and jams.

Other Uses

Orange is used for the manufacture of orange oil which is used in aromatherapy, in perfume industry and as a flavoring agent in food industry. Orange peel can be used as natural repellent for the slugs in the garden. Dried peel of tangerine is used in traditional Chinese medicine in treatment of abdominal distension and to facilitate digestion and eliminate phlegm.

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