Satsuma is a seedless-fruit producing species from Japan. There are a number of varieties of the tree, all of which are cultivars. A cultivar is a genetic manipulation of a species created specifically for gardening or commercial purposes. Satsuma varieties are all cultivars because they are variations of a single species, rather than species of a genus. Among the varieties of the tree are Owari Satsuma, the Early St. Ann and the Miho and Seho cultivars.
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Standard Satsuma (Citrus unshiu) is the species from which all cultivars are created. Also known as Unshiu mandarin, this Japanese species of orange tree -- technically a shrub -- will flourish in well-drained soil.
Satsuma is suited for growth in USDA hardiness zone 8b and warmer, or climates like those of Austin, Miami and Honolulu. The plant will withstand brief periods of frost and temperatures in the low 20s F. Trees bear fragrant white flowers and reach a mature height and spread of approximately 10 feet. Fruit ripens in the early fall.
Owari (Citrus unshiu Marcovitch) is a variety of Unshiu mandarin. According to Texas A&M University, it is the most common of Satsuma cultivars and also the highest quality. University of California Riverside notes the advantages of the Owari as its frost resistance, cold hardiness, quick growth and generous fruit production. Downsides to the cultivar are its size -- it is a small tree -- and drooping character -- its branches grow downward and cannot support the weight of the fruit.
Owari is known to survive temperatures as cold as -9.44 degrees Celsius and bears fruit in November and December. The optimal time for Owari fruit harvesting is just after Thanksgiving.
Miho and Seto Satsuma
Miho (Citrus unshiu Miho) and Seto (Citrus unshiu Seto) are related cultivars both derived from the Miyagawa Satsuma. The trees are similar in size and shape, though the branches of the Miho cultivar point upward while the branches of the Seto cultivar droop downward.
Miho and Seto cultivars can be grown indoors in containers or outdoors in containers or the earth. The fruit of both trees measures approximately four inches by one inch.
Both of these Satsuma varieties can survive temperatures of -6.67 degrees Celsius; hard specimens can survive temperature as cold as -8.89 degrees Celsius. Miho and Seto are largely pest resistant though are known to be susceptible to termites and cut ants.
Among the many other Satsuma cultivars available in the United States are Armstrong Early, Kimbrough, Obawase, Okitsu, Big Early, Dobashi Beni, China 9, China 2, China 6, China 7, Okitsu Wase, Obawase, Brown Select, Port Neches, LA Early, Silverhill, Marisol clementine. All "China" cultivars are Chinese varieties of the Satsuma.
Early St. Ann is a cultivar developed by Louisanna State University. There are a number of varieties of this cultivar, including Early St. Ann-R, Early St. Ann-S, Early St. Ann-C35 and Early St. Ann-C32.
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- Texas A&M University; Home Fruit Production-Mandarins; Julian W. Sauls; 1998
- Cool Exotics: Citrus Unshiu
- University of Florida Extension; Satsuma Tangerine; JJ Feguson, PC Anderson and TM Spann
- University of California Riverside: Owari Satsuma
- Texas A&M University: Satsuma Varieties
- USDA; Evaluation of Satsumas in Alabama; W.A. Dozier et al.;