We love fruits, and sometimes we get curious about what they give us or why they have a specific characteristic. Certain people even find themselves in books or a lab for such curiosity.
For most people, this article would answer their question ‘why don’t cuties have seeds?’ Most people just want to keep enjoying that juicy feel that comes with seedless cuties. Regardless, keep reading to discover more about the fruit and why it is fruitless.
What Are Cuties?
Cuties or halos are the common terms used to refer to a citrus fruit called clementine. It is a blend of mandarin and sweet oranges. Cuties are a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Although very much like grapefruit, it contains compounds that may interact with certain medications. That is one reason to be cautious about adding it to your diet while on medication.
Cuties are like tangerines, and some people think they are the same. As a result, there are often a lot of questions surrounding their classification or why certain times there are seeds and other times there are not.
The Cuties is a spontaneous citrus hybrid discovered in the late 19th century in Misserghin, Algeria. People found it in the garden of an orphanage of the French Missionary Brother Clément Rodier. It was for Clement Rodier that the garden was formally named in 1902.
There’s always research that there was an earlier origin for the cross-breed, pointing to similar fruit native to the Guangxi and Guangdong region, present-day China. Although these are likely distinct mandarin hybrids, genomic analysis of the Cuties shows that it is a mix between a sweet orange and the Mediterranean willow leaf mandarin (Citrus × deliciosa), consistent with Algerian origin.
They are tiny, easy to peel, relatively sweeter than other citrus fruits, and at times seedless. The seedless feature makes people curios and asking ‘why don’t cuties have seeds?’ It is often a children’s favorite. Due to its characteristic sweetness and easiness to peel, it is easy to add it to a child’s diet. This makes it a plus as the child eats healthy and enjoys the taste simultaneously. That is indeed a unique fruit.
Variants Of Cuties
There are three types of Cuties:
- Seedless: Commonly found in North Africa. The seedless variants of cuties are the most common type (seedless or practically seedless).
- Monreal: exists in North Africa. These cuties are larger than the seedless variety, have a more abundant bloom, and are sweeter.
- Sweetclems: are typically grown in Spain and northern Africa. Unlike other cuties varieties, they usually have ten slices. They are slightly smaller than “common” cuties and popular in lunchboxes. Their name suggests that they have a sweet taste, but it is not overbearing and relatively mild.
Cuties resemble other citrus varieties, such as the satsuma and tangerines. However, you can distinguish it from a tangerine as it is pretty smaller, has a vibrant orange color, and has smoother, shinier skin. It’s also relatively simpler to peel than a tangerine because the skin is thinner.
Cuties tend to be slightly more oval in shape and with a flat spot on the top and bottom. These Mandarin orange trees thrive in the sunny, warm climates of the west, southwest, and Florida.
How Are Cuties Cultivated Without Seeds?
A question that comes to mind frequently is ‘why don’t cuties have seeds?’ Is it done in a lab? Is a whole fruit taken and planted in the ground? How exactly are more seedless cuties cultivated? The answer is cross-pollination. Plants need pollination to bear fruits and seeds.
In the case of seedless cuties, the tree is self-incompatible. This is why the fruit has so few or no seeds. Therefore, to be pollinated, it needs to be cross-pollinated. The Monreal cutie, on the other hand, can self-pollinate and has seeds.
It might seem an easy task to grow seedless cuties, but it is nearly impossible for the home grower. A wide variety of citrus trees can pollinate cuties. Citrus-producing states like California abound in citrus trees and honeybees, their primary pollinators. This makes isolating the trees very difficult.
Professional growers isolate Cuties by growing a buffer of citrus trees that don’t produce pollen around a grove of cuties, such as navel oranges and satsumas.
Why Don’t Cuties Have Seeds?
The answer to ‘why don’t cuties have seeds?’ is quite straightforward. To get seedless cuties, you have to cultivate them through cross-pollination. Cross-pollination is often carried out by pollinating agents such as bees.
To ensure the production of seedless products, the growers prevent the bees from cross-pollinating with more than one variety of citrus. That means they are controlled. Therefore, cuties are often grown in environments where you can control the agents.
To control the bees’ access to the citrus and seedless fruits, you can do two things;
- First, grow each variety in isolation from other varieties to ensure there is no proximity for the bees to pollinate across the wrong trees. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
- Secondly, there is the option of putting netting over the top of the tree to prevent the bees from having access. Usually, the netting has very small holes.
Of course, a bee or two can pass by and continue to pollinate a flower in two ways. That is with more than a specific variety of fruit. This is why occasionally, you can find seeds in fruits. The expectation cannot be a 100% success rate, but it’s still high enough for them to still label them as seedless.
Benefits Of Cuties
Now that you know the answer to ‘why don’t cuties have seeds?’ you might be wondering about its benefits. Most of the calories in clementine come from natural sugars and a small amount of protein.
Cuties is also a vitamin C powerhouse, with one small fruit providing 40% of your daily needs. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant and immune booster that can prevent cellular damage from harmful and unstable compounds called free radicals. The benefits of Cuties include:
- Healthy skin
- Improve fiber intake
- Rich in antioxidant properties
- Promotes a healthy diet for kids
There are varying factors that cause the nature of fruits to differ. A lot of this has to do with tust remembering that variants mean more flavor. The uniqueness of something is often in the difference of it. That’s why this article provides the answer to ‘why don’t cuties have seeds?’ by explaining the difference in varieties.
Controlled pollination is not popular, especially for selective and cross-pollinating plants. It is, however, an interesting practice that could be further experimented with to keep a standard of plants.