CITRUS unshiu 'Brown Select'
Plant Common Name
Brown Select Satsuma, Satsuma
Easy to peel, sweet tender flesh and good cold tolerance, Satsuma mandarin tangerines are favored for eating out of hand and backyard orchards worldwide. These small to medium-sized evergreen fruit trees have been grown for more than 2000 years and are highly prized by cultures across the world. Originating from China, they were taken to Japan by monks who further developed the variety. The trees arrived in the United States in the 1870s via the wife of a United States minister to Japan who sent seeds home.
Satsuma trees have spreading, open crowns covered with glossy, broadly lance-shaped, fragrant leaves with slightly winged stems. The branches are somewhat drooping and nearly thornless. Fruit is usually produced at the ends of the branches. Flowers appear from very late winter to spring and may be single or clustered. White fragrant blooms are highly attractive to honeybees, which produce honey. A pollinating tree is not required as the fruits set without the need for pollination.
The cultivar ‘Brown Select’, developed by the Louisiana State University AgCenter produces fruit which is medium to large-sized, round and slightly flattened at the ends with loose, thin, smooth, glossy yellow to orange skin with conspicuous oil glands. The flesh is very juicy with an excellent, sweet flavor and few seeds. The fruit ripens early in the season, is very tender and susceptible to bruising from rough handling. Remove the fruit from the tree by clipping to avoid damage to the skin as soon as it ripens. The trees are vigorous, very prolific and large. It is a good choice for commercial groves and backyard orchards.
Very cold tolerant for citrus, Satsuma trees grow and produce best in areas with hot summers and cool winters. They will tolerate temperatures well below freezing for a few hours. They require full sun and are tolerant of most soils, even poor soils, with ample drainage. Though moderately drought tolerant once established, they must have regular applications of water for good fruit production. Regular fertilization is also required as they are heavy feeders. This variety’s trees are smaller that other citrus, but still need plenty of space for their spreading crowns to grow. They usually grow true from seed, but are often grafted on to rootstocks which impart tolerances to soils, pests and climate conditions and induce fruit production on younger trees.
Satsuma mandarin tangerine trees make good tub or conservatory specimens where not hardy and attract the North America giant swallowtail butterfly which uses this and other citrus as larval food.