CLEMENTINE – fruit & scent

The warm sparkling bright citrus oils, including the lovely Clementine, have great value in diffuser blends to cleanse the room air and refresh the senses. They are often very calming, soothing and relaxing. You can use Clementine oils as part of a Massage oil, Bath oil, or Skin conditioner.

CLEMENTINE ~ a Variety of Mandarin – Uses

By Jeanne Rose

A photo of Clementine oil showing color and clarity with some fruit Clementine


All Clementines are Mandarins, but not all Mandarins are Clementines.

Clementine Introduction ~ The citrus is so beautiful and so healthful for eating, and Clementine is just delicious. The cold-pressed oil has a serious sweetness and bright happiness that makes it super in blends for mental health.

Clementine. LATIN BINOMIAL AND NAMING ~ Citrus x aurantium forma Clementine

            Yes, the first two words are the same exact name as is used for Orange and Grapefruit and Bitter Orange-Neroli. But there are strict rules on naming and citrus has been examined and analyzed for parentage for quite some time. In the past it was called Citrus aurantium, C. aurantium var. clementine and other names with the  ‘C’ always meaning Citrus.

            Citrus taxonomy  is confusing and often inconsistent. They are all named with common names and with scientific binomials using Latin grammar rules. Citrus often have the same parentage but have different names or body shapes or formae often based on terroir (such as Mandarin in Italy and Tangerine in the USA).

Other Names and background ~ Clementine is also called tangor which is a hybrid between Mandarin and sweet Orange. Names include clementine (Citrus reticulata × Citrus sinensis var. Clementine), Citrus clementine Hort. ex Tan. 

Family ~ Rutaceae

Countries of Origin ~ Clementine originated in either Algeria or China and are now grown in California and Florida, Morocco, Spain, Italy, and China.

Endangered ~ Clementine is itself not necessarily endangered, but it is worrisome for growers because they do not want the flowering crop to be pollinated by bees that have been in other groves.  They often net the trees during the pollination period so that the crop  will not become another variety due to cross pollination.

CLEMENTINE GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ Clementine is a hybrid and a  winter hardy type of mandarin that can be grown outdoors in Florida and do well in a container. Today, the easy-peel form called Clementine was created by Pierre Clément in a lucky crossing experiment around 1900 when he was a leader of the agricultural school in Oran in Algeria.1 They are harvested from February to April depending on the area.

            Flavedo- Citrus essential oils are cold-pressed from the peel which contain the oil sacs or glands located irregularly in the outer mesocarp or flavedo of the fruit (Matthews and Braddock 1987). These glands are embedded at different depths in this colored, outer portion of the fruit and must be removed by first rupturing the glands by pressure or mechanical rasping (Matthews and Braddock 1987).

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN EXTRACTION AND YIELD ~ The peel of Clementine is cold-pressed, and yield is best if the fruit is semi-mature, and the plant was bee pollinated. Harvest time has a significant effect on essential oil yield. 

A chart showing the organoleptics of Clementine oil with taste and intensity of odor.
How your senses perceive Clementine oil

            Odor Description ~ Cold-pressed Clementine scent predominates in a powerful citrus, fruity, and floral note, a subsidiary note of green and wood, and with a back note of powder and spice. It is just delicious smelling. The oil can improve in cold storage if kept carefully in a fully filled container in a cool, dark place. The dissolved waxes will settle out and the oil be clear and more soluble.

Chemistry ~ Clementine contains considerable amounts of methyl N-methyl anthranilate, myrcene, linalool,  as well as up to 96% limonene. (GC-MS did not say which limonene was present, but it is most likely the d-limonene or R-limonene). “The limonene structure has a chiral center, and thus it can be found in nature as one of the two enantiomers, the (R)- and (S)-limonene. The R isomer has the characteristic sweet smell of oranges while the S isomer has a smell more like a piney turpentine.”3

Citrus with the same parentage may have different  scent chemistry such as (limonene which has a chiral difference — both a left turning molecule, (S) for sinistral with  the sour smell of Lemon and a right turning molecule, (R) for right hand or clockwise, the sweet smell of Oranges). This is the reason we all as lovers of essential oils and aromatherapy need to learn some chemistry along with good taxonomy.     

Clementine also contains p‐synephrine, an example of a non‐stimulant thermogenic agent as well as a natural decongestant.


Soothing, relaxing, toning, slightly antiseptic, and refreshing to the senses.

Blending Clementine for Purpose ~ The warm sparkling bright citrus oils, including the lovely Clementine, have great value in diffuser blends to cleanse the room air and refresh the senses. They are often very calming, soothing and relaxing. Mandarin, Tangerine and Clementine will blend well with all other citrus, and can feminize chypre blends, warm-up woody blends and work to brighten any floral blend.

            Use Clementine as part of a Massage oil, Bath oil, or Skin conditioner. The cold-pressed oil is used in shampoo, and massage oil,  to brighten the scent. In skincare it is added to help with oily skin, and for sensitive skin; the scent improves the mood and lifts the spirit and used in a carrier oil of your choice as a skin toner (just add enough Clementine oil to very lightly scent the toner).

Sweet Smell of Happiness

Here is a good blend for diffusing in your home.

10 drops each of Neroli of Tunisia,

10 drops yellow Mandarin, and 10 drops of red Mandarin,

And  especially at least 10 drops of Clementine,

Plus 7-10 drops of Mace (Nutmeg is too strong).

Succuss, and either add enough alcohol to make it 25% for a room spray

 or add to 1-oz of carrier oil and use for massage

or put straight into the diffuser to make your home a happy place.


Herbal ~ The peel can be used in healing salves where it lends a refreshing scent and acts as an antioxidant. It is also used in potpourri as well as pressed and dried and used to make ‘boxes’ for trinkets.

showing a container made of citrus skin
a box made of citrus skin

Culinary ~ Delicious, when eaten out of hand. As with any citrus, they contain antioxidants including vitamin C and this helps with fiber intake, and health as well as improving  one’s appearance. The juice contains p-synephrine which is a natural decongestant.

>Note ~ A 2017 study indicated that clementine phytochemicals (methyl anthranilate) may interact with drugs in a manner similar to those of grapefruit.

Clementine Interesting Information ~ Clementine was studied at the Citrus Research Center (now part of the University of California, Riverside) as early as 1909. Clementine’s lose their desirable seedless characteristic when they are cross-pollinated with other fruit. In 2006, to prevent this, growers such as Paramount Citrus in California threatened to sue local beekeepers to keep bees away from their crops. In Morocco ‘further experiments confirmed the fact that the seedless condition is the result of self-pollination. The presence of bees to effect pollination is necessary if a good yield is to be maintained.”2

                  Clementine, Citrus x reticulata, is used as a stocking stuffer during the Christmas holiday, and is one of the smallest members of the citrus. The Clementine  is honey-sweet, and seedless, and is a subgroup of the Tangerine with a thin skin that is very easy to peel.

            Clementine developed as a spontaneous citrus hybrid in Algeria, in the garden of an orphanage of a French missionary in the very early 1900’s.

Key Uses ~ The Oil of Diffusion©

Olsen Ranch Clementine & Prima Fleur oil



2. A further contribution to the study of the Clementine in Morocco. Foreign Title : Nouvelle contribution á l’étude du Clémentinier au Maroc. author(s) : Lacarelle, A. ;  Miedzykzecki, Ch.. Book : Terre marocaine 1937 pp.22 pp.
3. Hubert Marceau who is at

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.


Cautions and Precautions to remember with plants and their parts.
Precautions to Remember
the symbol of wafting

2 thoughts on “CLEMENTINE – fruit & scent

  1. The one study that I found suggests that clementine parentage leaves clementine with little to no furanocoumarin and thus they have littel danger of causing phototoxicity.

    “In conclusion, this study highlights the different chemotypes found in Citrus species regarding coumarin and furanocoumarin diversity and content. Three of 4 ancestral taxa (pummelos, citrons and papedas) synthesize high amounts of these compounds, whereas mandarins, from the last ancestral taxon, appear practically devoid of them. As for hybrid species, their corresponding chemotypes appear inherited from the 4 ancestral taxa, with strong hypotheses of a prevalence of pummelos, citrons and papedas over mandarins and of papedas over citrons. Compared to other species, mandarins are of invaluable interest for Citrus breeding programs aimed at removing toxic furanocoumarins in Citrus. Particularly, sweet oranges and small mandarins hybrids, which have a higher contribution of mandarin in their genotype, do not produce the toxic compounds bergamottin, epoxybergamottin and 6′,7′-dihydroxybergamottin. An alternative strategy for the future would lie in the identification of an upstream gene involved in the first steps leading to the furanocoumarin pathway. Such gene characterization should allow gene editing strategies to be performed and would constitute an efficient solution for removing these toxic compounds from Citrus species.” – PLoS One. 2015; 10(11): e0142757.
    Published online 2015 Nov 11. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0142757

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