Do Tangerine Trees Need Cross-Pollination?


Tangerines are technically mandarin oranges -- small, easily peeled oranges with sweet fruit. Reddish varieties such as "Clementine" are often marketed as tangerines but are not significantly different from other mandarins. Like most other citrus fruits, tangerine trees are usually self-fertile. However, some varieties are self-sterile and require another tree to pollinate them.

Citrus Reproduction

  • Citrus trees naturally have perfect flowers. A “perfect” flower is one with both male and female organs on the same blossom. The tree can pollinate itself even if no insects or other trees are available. Despite this, most tangerine and orange farmers use bees to pollinate their crops. Cross-pollinated tangerines usually produce more and larger fruit than trees left to pollinate themselves. According to the University of Florida, some varieties of mandarin produce almost no fruit unless growers use a pollenizer.


  • Most tangerines are pollinated by honeybees. Beekeepers place their hives near citrus groves to produce orange blossom honey. The bees carry pollen from the flowers of one tree to another, ensuring cross-pollination and good crops. Using insect pollinators is less expensive and labor-intensive than pollinating the trees by hand, though it produces less predictable results. Tangerine trees may produce more or less fruit, depending on which pollen the bees carry to their flowers.

Self-Sterile Varieties

  • Some tangerine hybrids are self-sterile and cannot pollinate themselves. These trees require cross-pollination by another compatible citrus tree to produce fruit. Self-sterile varieties include Robinson, Sunburst, and the Minneola and Orlando tangerine-grapefruit crosses. According to the University of Florida, the tangerine-orange cross Temple is a good pollenizer for these tangerine varieties.

Seedless Tangerines

  • Seedless tangerine varieties produce few to no seeds, making them easier to eat. However, they lose their desirable seedless characteristics when cross-pollinated by another citrus tree. Seedless tangerine growers may need to cover their crops while bees are pollinating other citrus varieties or may need to keep bees away from the trees entirely.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit Tangerine image by sister from
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • How Do Trees That Produce Seedless Oranges Grow?

    All plants grow from seed. Or do they? In our modern world, there are many seedless fruits and vegetables. But if they...

  • Flowering Tree That Does Not Produce Fruit

    Not all flowering trees produce fruit. Trees that bear no fruit usually put on showy blossom displays, but their use as a...

  • How to Pollinate Plum Trees

    The pretty springtime flowers of the plum tree (Prunus spp.) are numerous and small. Without pollination by the copious work of insects,...

  • Do Olive Trees Need Cross Pollination?

    Man has cultivated olive trees for thousands of years, and the tree is featured in many legends and mythological tales. The trees...

  • The Types of Tangerine Trees

    Sweet, juicy and famously easy to peel, tangerines are one of fall and early winter’s delectable [citrus]( treats. Tangerines are actually a...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Make a Vertical Clay Pot Garden

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!