Friday, April 1, 2016
Meet the Mango - Mangifera indica
The Mango - Mangifera indica is a medium sized evergreen fruit bearing tree. The Mango grows in an erect form, mainly upright with and very dense spreading crown. At full maturity the tree can reach upwards of 50 feet tall. The Mango is native to South Asia and cultivated for it's edible fruit.By the 10th century AD cultivation had spread into portions of East Africa. Now it is also cultivated in Brazil, Bermuda, Mexico, and the West Indies, where the climate is ideal and very similar to it's native range. Mango are the national fruit of Indian, Pakistan and the Philippines.
The leaves of the Mango are alternate, unifoliate, lanceolate to narrowly long and elliptic. The upper surface is lustrous, dark green, hairless with conspicuous veins that are straight and parallel. The flowers are bisexual or unisexual, green-white in color with 5 petals and 5 sepals. Flowers appear in late winter and spring. The fruit is large, fleshy, ovoid, pear-shaped, and irregularly shaped drupe, generally red to pink in color with a large flattened seed. The seed contains fruit embryos which can not survive freezing.
Image Citation: Whitney Cranshaw, Bugwood.org
The fruit does not grow in a uniform shape or size and fruit from the same plant can vary in size. When Mangoes were first imported they had to be pickled because of lack of refrigeration. Generally the Mango is sweet in flavor but the flavor and texture can vary greatly between different cultivars. Mangoes are widely used in cuisine, even in unripe condition when they are used for jams, chutney, fish sauces or pickling. Fruit drinks containing Mango are very poplar in India, though they contain high amounts of sugar or other flavoring so they are not marketed as fruit juice.
Image Citation: Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org
Recommended for only zones 10b to 11, Mangoes can not be grown in most of the United States. They are a tropical fruit and require tropical conditions to grow and survive, one single mild frost can kill a tree. Young trees are even more susceptible to frost damage then more mature, though once mature they are a bit more tolerant.