Identifying Jiao & Lu mandarins

Species on this page ( A = names approved by most authorities, s = approved as synonyms. Other names are suggested, or older and perhaps out-of-date, or their status is not known by the maintainer, or they are uncertain at the time of editing) :


General notes on the Chinese language

Specific notes related to the Chinese names below - Basic linguistic background

Specific references for this page (including mailing list members)

Citrus reticulata Blanco

SYNONYM(S) : Sinocitrus reticulata (Blanco) Tseng, Citrus nobilis Andrews, non Lour. nom. illeg.

CHINESE : Ju (Chu), Ju gan, Gan ju, Huang ju, Qing ju.

ENGLISH : Mandarin, Tangerine, Mandarin-orange, Satsuma.


Other common names applied to C. reticulata and varieties, cultivars of it, can be found in the Citrus files (currently under major review).

Citrus reticulata Blanco cv. 'Jiangan'

CHINESE : Jian gan.

Citrus reticulata Blanco cv. 'Jiaogan' -> Citrus reticulata Blanco var. tankan (Hayata) Hu

Citrus reticulata Blanco cv. 'Poongan' -> Citrus reticulata Blanco var. poonensis (Hayata) Hu

Citrus reticulata Blanco var. kinokuni (Tanaka) Hu

SYNONYM(S) : Citrus reticulata Blanco cv. 'Kinokuni', Citrus kinokuni hort. ex Tanaka

CHINESE : Nan feng mi ju, Jin qian mi ju, Mi ju (Nanfeng County of Jiangxie province).

JAPANESE : Kinokuni.

Citrus reticulata Blanco var. tankan (Hayata) Hu

SYNONYM(S) : Citrus tankan Hayata, Citrus reticulata Blanco cv. 'Jiaogan', Citrus x aurantium L. 'Jiaogan', Citrus aurantium L. (Tangor Group) 'Jiaogan', Citrus x nobilis Lour. 'Jiaogan', Citrus reticulata Blanco var. tankan (Hayata) H. H. Hu

CHINESE : Jiao gan, Tong gan (FuJian province, Taiwan).

ENGLISH : Tankan mandarin, Tankan, Jiao mandarin (Singapore).

FRENCH : Orange tankan.

JAPANESE : Tankan, .

Other common names at SRA INRA-CIRAD, Corsica .

Photo close-ups of fruit, inside and outside views (for slow browsers - small file).

Photo close-ups of fruit, inside and outside views (for fast powerful browsers - large file).


Citrus reticulata Blanco var. poonensis (Hayata) Hu

SYNONYM(S): Citrus poonensis Osbeck ?, Citrus reticulata Blanco cv. 'Oneco' ? Citrus reticulata Blanco cv. 'Poongan' , Citrus reticulata Blanco var. poonensis (Hayata) H. H. Hu

CHINESE : Mi gan (Zhangzhou), Peng gan, Pon (Guangdong), Lu gan (Zhangzhou, Fujian) , Lu gan (Taiwan), Lu (Hong Kong, Taiwan), Mei gan (Hunan province), Bai ju (Yunnan, Jianshui of Rennan province), Meng ban ju (Xisongbanna of Rennan province) , Mi tong gan.

ENGLISH : Chinese honey orange, Poona orange, Lu tangerine.

FRENCH : Mandarine Ponkan.

HINDI : Nangpur suntara.

JAPANESE : , Ponkan.

Other common names at SRA INRA-CIRAD, Corsica (some of these names do not appear precise enough).

Pictures at SRA INRA-CIRAD, Corsica.

Photo close-ups of fruit, inside and outside views (for slow browsers - small file).

Photo close-ups of fruit, inside and outside views (for fast powerful browsers - large file).



The content of this page is what has been established so far. Together with the linked notes on the Chinese language, they illustrate the many wide and detailed searches that translators must go through for most plants below the species level. What we will establish as facts here will have repercussions in many other sets of names.

1. Lugan belongs to Ponkan, or is Ponkan. 2. Ponkan, although in the strict sense not a Chinese name but a Japanese interpretation / adaptation / translation of one, is a well recognized group of mandarins belonging to C. reticulata ( "ju" in Mandarin language / "chu" in Mandarin from Taiwan or Taiwanese language, Suntara in Hindi). It is preferable to consider ponkan as a group or a sub-group rather than a cultivar because reports of wide regional variations in the characteristics of the fruits are numerous and the names would indicate that several cultivars are maintained in various parts of the world. Even "Lugan" which would be such a cultivar shows variations (visual characteristics).

Nomenclatural considerations :

In the classification of the type "Citrus reticulata Blanco var. tankan" the authority names for the var. should be (Hayata) Hu, according to the Index of Author Abbreviations compiled at the Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK (from a 1984 imprint) complemented with Brummitt R.K. & Powell C.E. (Editors) 1992, Authors of Plant Names, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK. In some Chinese publications edited prior to the above dates one will find (Hayata) H. H. Hu. Personally I think this is a better solution as it removed all possible doubts but botanists prefer the shorter version. They contrast Hu (Hsen-Hsu) to Hu S.Y. (Hu Shiu-Ying). I suspect this is based on the birthday dates. The first born takes the surname only. Any subsequent author with a similar surname needs to have his / her initial added. A list of those abbreviations can be found in print in : Mabberley D.J. 1997, The Plant-Book : a Portable Dictionary of the Vascular Plants, 2d Edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. pp. 809 - 858, and on the RBG Kew's www site a similar list can be searched at : Authors' Names < >.

Professor Xiuxin Deng suggested that Jiaogan is a Tangor so I have incorporated some modern names to reflect this, based on Mabberley's paper and Wiersema & León's book (see references). At this point I leave the modern names in the synonym section, until we have established whether the other species mentioned are also Tangor or not .

Jinhu Wu insists that in the Chinese context Tangerines and Mandarins must be clearly distinguished. In the western world these two English names are interchangeable - that is a problem. I have nevertheless reflected that by bolding the preferred names "Lu tangerine" and "Jiao mandarin". Given that these two fruits are of Chinese origin and that the previously mentioned discrimination exists these names appear more appropriate than other English synonyms which sound too vague anyhow. Tankan could be a valid Japanese synonym. Not being certain about the ponkan - Lu relationship at this stage I will refrain to name Ponkan as a valid Japanese synonym but it is a strong contender.

Gan Yung Chyan allusions to the "King Mandarin", which is associated with the botanical name nobilis , but in relation to Lugan appears to conflict with the above notes but ponkan could perhaps be also a Tangor. If this is correct some modern names could be added to the synonym list. ANY COMMENT ? I thought I had all the answers but this question will have to go back to the mailing list.


Linguistic considerations :

Ju2 (pinyin), gwat1 (Cantonese), Kyul (Sino-Korean), Kitsu (Sino-Japanese) = Mandarin-orange = tangerine = Chinese orange. These preceeding names are all found in dictionaries but according to Jinhu Wu the real meaning is Tangerine.

Ju2 (pinyin), Jie2 (pinyin), gwat1 (Cantonese), Kil (Sino-Korean), Kitsu (Sino-Japanese) = Mandarin-orange = tangerine = Chinese orange. The real meaning is probably also Tangerine.

Gan1 (pinyin), gam1 (Cantonese), kam (Sino-Korean), kan (Sino-Japanese) = Mandarin-orange = tangerine = Loose-skinned orange = Loose-skinned mandarin = King mandarin = Tangor. According to Jinhu Wu the real meaning is Mandarin. Today however the mandarin is most often a Tangor (reflecting the hybrid nature) and in vernacular can pass as a "loose-skinned" orange (or loose-skinned mandarin). This Chinese character has also described the 'King Mandarin' a well known cultivar in many languages.

Gan ju = Citrus. Global name describing all genera and species within the Rutaceae family. So when used in an attempt to indicate some hybrid "falls short of the mark".

= Peng4 (rare character) = Pon (old vernacular) = Poona, a region of India.

= a tube, a water bucket (in Chinese context a short cylindrical bucket).

"Ponkan" would be a word from the Taiwanese Minnan dialect (Gan Yung Chyan). It is possible therefore that the name was adopted in Japan together with the fruit. If not, this name would have to be of Japanese origin. In Japanese it could be interpreted as citrus from Poona, hence the botanical name poonensis adopted by Hayata (Bunzô) & Hu (Hsen-Hsu).

In Chinese any plant has a unique name so that it is not confused with others (shown above by bolding of the romanised name). This is the equivalent of our western botanical binomial. For the two plants above these names are and . The many ways these 3 characters can be transliterated confuse the translators and the Chinese themselves but the character sets have the same status as botanical names. As to all the Chinese synonyms, it is useful to know them but they are regional, often related to a specific purpose (ie medicinal), vary enormously so can be confusing and unreliable if their provenance is not known. In any case it is vital to display the characters (simplified and traditional if possible) because the romanisation is too unreliable. Ideally one needs both a character and its romanisation, preferably a standard one such as "Hanyu pinyin" (pinyin in short) in relation to the Mandarin language. Within a romanised name there are also variations. These variations are mostly used to add meaning. Jiao gan shows the separate characters. Jiaogan may or may not depending on the understanding of the reader. Jiao1gan1 gives an indication of the tone when pronouncing the word (see notes on Chinese language). That should explain any variation in the names above.





Mabberley D.J. 1997, A Classification for Edible Citrus (Rutaceae). In Telopea 7 : 167 - 172. New South Wales Department of Agriculture, National Herbarium of New South Wales (and) Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney, NSW, Australia. (A proposed classification to acknowledge the hybrid nature of most popular economic species of Citrus)

Mabberley D.J. 1997, The Plant-Book : a Portable Dictionary of the Vascular Plants, 2d Edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. pp. 160 - 162,

Sugahara Tatsuyuki et al. 1992, New Edition of an Illustrated Encyclopedia of Japanese Ingredients, Kenpakusha. (Latin with authority names, Japanese-hiragana, Japanese-katakana , Japanese-kanji, text in Japanese).

USDA, ARS, 2000, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). [Online Database] National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Available: (20 January 2000). (A number of languages, some romanised, Latin with authority names)

Wiersema J. H. & León B. 1999, World Economic Plants : a Standard Reference. CRC Press LLC. (A less extensive list than on the GRIN database but presented in a form easier to understand and attempting to integrate old(er) and new botanical names)

Xie Zongwa & Yu Youqin (Editors), 1996, Materia Medica, Chinese Terminology, Vol. 1, Renminweisheng Publishing House Beijing, China. (Latin with authority names and Chinese-simplified, text in Chinese).


Contributors to this page (Personal communication) : We gratefully acknowledge the help of the moderated Citrus Mailing List "List citrus (développée dans le cadre du projet EGID)" < > in facilitating the most valuable communication with the following. Jinhu Wu (The Horticultural & Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd.), Zhou Changyong (Agricultural Department - Government of New South Whales), Gan Yung Chyan, Deng Xiuxin (Prof. Huazhong Agricultural University - Citrus Research Institute, Wuhan, China), Gene Albrigo, Alan Zambesi, Roland Cottin (SRA INRA-CIRAD, San Giuliano, Corsica).


back to Gateway , to list of notes , to the Landcare Group Homepage

Date created: 14 / 02 / 2000
Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow
Last modified: 18 / 02 / 2000
Access: No restriction
Copyright © 1995 - 2000, The University of Melbourne.
Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, E-Mail: