Dekopon is a seedless and sweet variety of mandarin orange.It is considered as the Fruit of the Future.
It is a hybrid between Kiyomi and ponkan (Nakano no.3), developed in Japan in 1972.
Originally a brand name, ‘Dekopon’ has become a genericized trademark and it is used to refer to all brands of the fruit; the generic name is shiranuhi or shiranui Dekopon is distinctive due to its sweet taste, large size and the large protruding bump on the top of the fruit.
The name is most likely a portmanteau between the word deko ; meaning convex) as a reference to its bump, and the pon in ponkan; one of the fruits that it is derived from) to create ‘dekopon’
There were many market names for ‘dekopon’ during the time ‘dekopon’ was a trademark of the product from Kumamoto. For instance, himepon was the market name for the fruits originating from Ehime prefecture. The ones grown in Hiroshima prefecture were marketed as hiropon. However, after an agreement whereby anyone can use the name ‘dekopon’ if they pay a fee and meet certain quality standards, the name “dekopon” is used for products from anywhere in Japan.
‘Dekopon’ does not have an agricultural variety registration number because of its bump, which at the time of its development was considered to be unsightly, and failure to reduce acidity in the fruit.
In Brazil, ‘dekopon’ is marketed under the brand name of Kinsei which derived from the Japanese word for Venus. Brazilian farmers have succeeded in adapting the variety to tropical to temperate climate in the highlands of São Paulo state. The work is done by Unkichi Taniwaki, a farmer of Japanese origin. Kinsei is easily harvested from May to September. In the high season for kinsei, each fruit costs around 0.50 USD at the Brazilian street market and supermarkets.
In South Korea and Azerbaijan ‘dekopon’ is called hallabong named after Hallasan the mountain located in Jeju-do, where it is primarily grown.
The citrus budwood was imported into the United States in 1998 by a California citrus grower, Brad Stark Jr. The rights to the sterilized budwood were purchased in 2005 by the Griffith family, owners of the nursery TreeSource and packing facility Suntreat. The dekopon was released as a commercial product in the US under the name “Sumo Citrus(R)” in early 2011
‘Dekopon’ have become so popular in Japan that the chewing candy brand giant Hi-Chew has released a limited-edition ‘dekopon’ flavor.
In commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the first shipment of ‘dekopon’, Japan Fruit Growers Cooperative Association designated 1 March “Dekopon day” in 2006
Dekopons are very large for mandarins— they can weight up to a pound each. They also have a characteristic large bump on one end, and thick, bumpy skin. Despite this, they are easy to peel like many mandarins, and have very thin membranes covering the firm, seedless flesh. The flavor is similar to an intense orange, but sweeter, since all dekopons must have citric acid levels below 1.0 percent. It is so sweet that is has been compared to eating candy. In fact, many people claim that the Dekopon is the most delicious citrus available today.
Dekopon oranges are available late winter into the spring months.
The Dekopon orange is actually a large variety of Japanese mandarin, not a true orange; it is a cross between a Kiyomi tangor and a Ponkan mandarin orange. In Japan, Dekopons are also known as shiranuhi, and hallabong in Korea, while in the United States they are usually referred to as Sumos. The name Dekopon comes from the Japanese word “deko,” which means “bump,” and “pon,” which refers to its Ponkan madarin parent.
One medium-sized Dekopon has about 100 percent of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C. Dekopons are low calorie, and contain some potassium, dietary fiber, sugars, protein, and Vitamin A.