Sizing Up the Seedless Kishu Mandarin

29 January 2014

The Kishu Mandarin |

Last year our landscape and garden welcomed several citrus trees, one being a beautiful tree that bears smallish Kishu Mandarins! Only just adopted and planted as a container plant in a large wooden whiskey barrel, it did not disappoint in its first year with dozens of bright pixie-sized fruit!

While researching and searching the San Diego area for these fruit-bearing treasures, I couldn’t help wonder how they sized up to oranges and my favorite commercially sold clementines (Cuties/Halos®). How did they compare in both size, taste, and enjoyment of eating…

The Kishu Mandarin - tree |

Early last year I read an article written by LATimes’ David Karp of “…a small but mighty mandarin” and an inspiring post from the beautiful blog, White On Rice Couple, about the seedless Kishu Mandarin (Citrus kinokuni mukakukishu).


The size is comparable to a golf ball or sometimes even smaller (it can vary). They tend to be more donut shaped than round like a clementine. Some of the images in this post include an orange and clementine next to the Kishu as a visual comparison to both size and shape.

The Kishu Mandarin |

The skin tends to be a tad looser and gathers at the stem. Take a look at the image above: You can make out the segments of the fruit under the skin. Kind of like the ridges you see on a pumpkin!

The Kishu Mandarin |


Most articles and nursery descriptions I’ve read about this variety of mandarin boasts about its sweetness. They are not sweet like the Cutie/Halo® clementines, but they aren’t tart like kumquats either. They have a good flavor that’s easy to eat several on their own without the involuntary reaction to pucker.

The segments are so darn cute and small, they would be fantastic in chocolate spoon desserts, included in your morning yogurt, or tossed in salads for both flavor, freshness, and color. I’m also thinking that incorporating these little kishus in a cocktail would be a hit!

The Kishu Mandarin |


Not only are they seedless, they are easy to peel. The loose skin makes it even easier to break into the fruit to enjoy them sooner without being much of a task.

The Kishu Mandarin - tree |


Like the kumquat, these are beautiful container plants. The tree has sweet, fragrant white flowers in late winter and spring. During the holiday season you can look forward to these little treasures to ripen from late November through January.

We’ve started our little tree potted in a large whiskey barrel with the intention of eventually planting it in the yard. Hubbs added wheels to the bottom of the barrel so we could easily move it around if the need arose (like if it got too cold for our little tree!). Our first year we enjoyed dozens of tasty fruit.

If you’re interested in adding one of these trees to your home, they need:

  • Full sun
  • Moderate watering
  • Fertilizing at least 1-2 times a year
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11
  • Plant them in your landscape/garden or does well potted in containers. If you have a potted kumquat, the kishu mandarin potted would look stunning paired with that kumquat!

Last year at this time, it was a challenge to find this tree. Within the last couple of weeks, I have spotted them at Home Depots and Evergreen Nursery.

by Cristina A-Moore

Garden Fresh · Photography · Winter

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Comments :)


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Gisele aka LA2LAChef February 16, 2014

Really beautiful photos.


Kate@Diethood February 14, 2014

Incredibly gorgeous!! Your photography is always so inspiring. Now, where do I get me a tree like that? hehe ;-)


GamesterBoy February 13, 2014

Those look REALLY good!


Nami | Just One Cookbook February 7, 2014

So happy to see Japanese mandarin coming to the US! You take gorgeous pictures… and wish we have a big tree in our backyard – my kids eat crazy numbers of mandarins everyday…


Laura (Tutti Dolci) February 2, 2014

Gorgeous mandarins, I’d love these in a salad or in a cake!


Deb January 30, 2014

Enchanting photos! The mandarins have my complete attention!


Patty January 30, 2014

Lovely photos-of one of my favorites and I do have a small tree growing in a container next to my pool! I can’t believe how prolific these mandarins are-my tree is covered right now – I love using them in salads and just eating them out of hand-so good ;)


Rami Alcantara January 30, 2014

Absolutely beautiful photography… what a happy looking fruit, makes one pause before eating such perfection =)


Cristina January 30, 2014

Hi Rami: That’s a cute way of describing these little pixie mandarins – they are happy! :)


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