Pixie tangerines are pale orange colored,
moderately juicy and always seedless. Individual Pixie
tangerines vary in shape, size and peel texture. In general,
Pixies are small (1-3 inches in diameter), have a pebbly
skin and are easy to peel with segments that separate
easily from one another.
photo by Vickie Pearson
Pixies ripen in the spring and are therefore on the
trees during California's coldest months and are quite
susceptible to frost.
Tangerine varieties vary greatly in seasonality, shape,
color, juiciness, seediness, ease of peeling and flavor.
Pixies are a late-season variety, ripening in March
and April whereas early-season tangerines such as Satsumas
ripen in November and December.
The Pixie tangerine was developed by Howard B. Frost
at the University of California Citrus Research Center
at Riverside in 1927. The Pixie is a result of open
pollination of Kincy mandarins (Kincys are a hybrid
between a King Mandarin and a Dancy Tangerine).
Pixie Tangerines have been around since the mid-1960s,
when they were released to the public by citrus breeders
from the University of California at Riverside. Because
of their small size, their habit of bearing a large
crop one year and a small crop the following year, and
their late season, they were not thought of as a commercial
fruit. However, a group of growers in Ojai, California
discovered that Pixie Tangerines grown in Ojai are wonderfully
delicious. They are now available in grocery stores
all over the country, as well as farmer-direct in southern