From - Plant Encyclopedia and Gardening wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
 Mangifera subsp. var.  Mango
Immature Black Mango fruit
Habit: tree
Height: to
Width: to
Height: cm to 20 m
Width: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.
Lifespan: perennial
Origin: SE Asia
Exposure: sun
Water: moist, moderate
Features: evergreen, edible, fruit
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: to
Sunset Zones: 23-25
Flower features:
Anacardiaceae > Mangifera var. ,

Forms: The mango exists in two races, one from India and the other from the Philippines and Southeast Asia. The Indian race is intolerant of humidity, has flushes of bright red new growth that are subject to mildew, and bears monoembryonic fruit of high color and regular form. The Philippine race tolerates excess moisture, has pale green or red new growth and resists mildew. Its polyembryonic fruit is pale green and elongated kidney-shaped. Philippines types from Mexico have proven to be the hardiest mangos in California.

Adaptation: Mangos basically require a frost-free climate. Flowers and small fruit can be killed if temperatures drop below 40° F, even for a short period. Young trees may be seriously damaged if the temperature drops below 30° F, but mature trees may withstand very short periods of temperatures as low as 25° F. The mango must have warm, dry weather to set fruit. In southern California the best locations are in the foothills, away from immediate marine influence. It is worth a trial in the warmest cove locations in the California Central Valley, but is more speculative in the coastal counties north of Santa Barbara, where only the most cold adapted varieties are likely to succeed. Mangos luxuriate in summer heat and resent cool summer fog. Wet, humid weather favors anthracnose and poor fruit set. Dwarf cultivars are suitable for culture in large containers or in a greenhouse.

Growth Habit: Mango trees make handsome landscape specimens and shade trees. They are erect and fast growing with sufficient heat, and the canopy can be broad and rounded, or more upright, with a relatively slender crown. It is ultimately a large tree, to 65 ft., but usually half that size in California. The tree is long-lived with some specimens known to be over 300 years old and still fruiting. In deep soil the taproot descends to a depth of 20 ft, and the profuse, wide-spreading feeder roots also send down many anchor roots which penetrate for several feet.

Foliage: The leaves are dark green above and pale below, usually red while young. The midrib is pale and conspicuous and the many horizontal veins distinct. Full-grown leaves may be 4 to 12-1/2 in. long and 3/4 to 2 in. wide, and are generally borne in clusters separated by a length of naked stem bearing no buds. These naked stems mark successive flushes of growth. Each flush of growth will harden off to a rich green color before the next flush of growth begins.

Flowers: The yellowish or reddish flowers are borne in inflorescences which appear at branch terminals, in dense panicles of up to 2000 minute flowers. These flowers respire a volatile substance, causing allergic and respiratory problems for some persons. Pollinators are flies, hoverflies, rarely bees. Few of the flowers in each inflorescence are perfect, so most do not produce pollen and are incapable of producing fruit. Pollen cannot be shed in high humidity or rain. Fertilization is also ineffective when night temperatures are below 55° F. Mangos are monoecious and self-fertile, so a single tree will produce fruit without cross pollination. Polyembryonic types may not require pollination at all. Branches may be ringed to induce flowering, but the results are mixed.

Fruits: The fruits grow at the end of a long, stringlike stem (the former panicle), with sometimes two or more fruits to a stem. The fruits are 2 to 9 inches long and may be kidney shaped, ovate or (rarely) round. They range in size from 8 ounces to around 24 ounces. The flower scar at the apex is prominent, in some cultivars bulging from the fruit. The leathery skin is waxy and smooth, and when ripe entirely pale green or yellow marked with red, according to cultivar. It is inedible and contains a sap that is irritating to some people. The quality of the fruit is based on the scarcity of fiber and minimal turpentine taste.

The flesh of a mango is peachlike and juicy, with more or less numerous fibers radiating from the husk of the single large kidney-shaped seed. Fibers are more pronounced in fruits grown with hard water and chemical fertilizers. The flavor is pleasant and rich and high in sugars and acid. The seed may either have a single embryo, producing one seedling, or polyembryonic, producing several seedlings that are identical but not always true to the parent type. It is impossible to distinguish true-to-type from zygotic seedlings from the same fruit. Some seedlings produce numerous tiny, parthenocarpic fruits which fail to develop and abort. Mango trees tend to be alternate bearing.


Mango flowers

Location: The mango grows to a good size and casts a dense shade, but the roots are not destructive. It requires full sun and perfect air drainage in winter. It does best at the top or middle level of a slope. A windbreak should be provided in exposed areas. The trees may also need staking. In the desert it needs the shade of other trees; or plant on the north side of the house. In the garden or near the coast, plant against a south wall, or in an area surrounded by paving, to provide maximum heat. In the greenhouse, full light and free air movement are important to avoid disease.

Soil: Mangos will grow in almost any well-drained soil whether sandy, loam or clay, but avoid heavy, wet soils. A pH between 5.5 and 7.5 is preferred. They are somewhat tolerant of alkalinity. For good growth, mangos needs a deep soil to accommodate their extensive root systems.

Irrigation: Irrigation should start when the weather warms: February in the desert, April at the coast. Continue every one to two weeks, more often in light soils, nearly continuously in the desert, until the fruit is harvested. Irrigation may be discontinued when rains are sufficient to maintain soil moisture. In the greenhouse keep watered until the fruit is harvested, then reduce to the minimum required to avoid wilting. Watering is then increased after one to two months to initiate a new bloom and growth cycle.

Fertilization: Mango trees require regular applications of nitrogen fertilizer to promote healthy growth flushes and flower production. Chelated micronutrients, especially iron, are also often necessary. A feeding program similar to one used for citrus is satisfactory, but do not fertilize after midsummer. Organic fertilizers perform best, since the trees are subject to fertilizer burn. Young trees are particularly sensitive to over-fertilizing, but respond well to fish emulsion. Sandy soils require more fertilizer than loam or clay.

Pruning: Healthy trees require little pruning, although pruning to stimulate new growth promotes uniform annual bearing. Removing some flower clusters during a heavy bloom year may also alleviate alternate bearing. Mangos may be pruned to control size in late winter or early spring without a loss of fruit. Sap and debris can cause severe dermatitis, similar to poison oak. It is best to avoid burning prunings or litter.

Frost Protection: During the first two years, the trees should be given some protection such as an overhead cover during any frost threat. Once the tree is 3 to 4 feet high, overhead protection is difficult but still worthwhile, especially if an unusual cold snap is predicted. Frost damage can also be avoided by erecting an overhead lath shelter, orchard heating, placing lights under the canopy, or using foam or straw trunk wraps. Do not prune dead parts until all frost danger is past.

Fruit Harvest: Mango fruit matures in 100 to 150 days after flowering. The fruit will have the best flavor if allowed to ripen on the tree, although winter-maturing fruits must be ripened indoors in coastal California. Ripening fruit turns the characteristic color of the variety and begins to soften to the touch, much like a peach. Commercial marketability requires 13% dissolved solids (sugars). When the first fruit shows color on tree, all of that size fruit or larger may be removed; repeat when remaining fruit colors. Do not store below 50° F.The fruit ripens best if placed stem end down in trays at room temperature and covered with a dampened cloth to avoid shriveling. Mangos ripen in June from January bloom in interior California, and October from April bloom on the coast. Less time is required to mature greenhouse fruit.


Mango tree with flowers

Seedlings are a gamble. Supermarket fruits may have been treated to sterilize, or chilled too long to remain viable. These seeds are normally discolored gray. To grow mangos from seed, remove the husk and plant the seed (before it dries out) with the hump at soil level. The seeds normally germinate in two to four weeks, and do best with bottom heat. Multiple polyembryonic seedlings should be carefully separated as soon as they have sprouted so not to loose the cotyledons. Seedling mangos will bloom and bear in three to six years.

Some success at grafting can be obtained in April and September, but better luck is more likely during May through August. Small plants with a diameter of a pencil graft well with the common whip graft. On larger trees the crown groove bark graft allows several scions to be put on at once. Fully grown trees may be topworked by crown or groove bark graft, or prune hard and whip graft sprouts later. Plastic bagging with a few drops of moisture improves the graft's chances of being successful.

Graft in the second year, using cleft, side or tongue (splice) graft in midsummer. Scion and stock should be swelling for a new flush of growth. Grafts are most successful if the leaves are allowed to remain below the graft, but remove suckers. Use pencil-sized scions of hard wood with three or four nodes. Cover with loose punctured white paper bag for shade.

If top working, do not dehorn the entire tree at one time; leave at least two fully leafed branches intact. Marcottage is feasible in humid climates or greenhouses, but results in few plants. Although budding is rare in California; it can be done by using a shield bud in an inverted T, at the moment the tree begins a new growth flush. Cuttings are rarely successful, although experiments have shown that rooting may be improved by treating with ethylene, which destroys the root-inhibiting hormone in the cambium.

The Mango is a suitable and productive tree for growing in a container or greenhouse. Start with established plants of named cultivars. Select the finest Indian cultivars, which are most rewarding for the effort involved. A large tub is required, with casters for easy moving. In the greenhouse, the atmosphere should be kept dry as possible to avoid anthracnose. Place a fan nearby to move the air around trees and use ventilators. The plants should be hosed down in the morning on a weekly basis to control mites. A regular spraying of appropriate pesticides for anthracnose and mealybug may also be needed.

The location of the intended planting will dictate the choice of cultivars. Seedlings selected under California conditions have provided cultivars suitable for coastal counties. Florida cultivars are generally more suitable in the desert and Central Valley.

Pests and diseases

Scale, mealybugs and mites are frequent pests in the greenhouse and orchard. In the greenhouse, thrips often turn leaves rusty brown. Malathion is the conventional spray for insect pests; sulfur works on mites. Gophers are attracted to the roots. The flower panicles, young fruit and leaves are subject to powdery mildew (Oidium mangiferae), especially in rainy weather or frequent fog. A spray of powdered kelp at bud break will often control it. Sodium bicarbonate and fungicide sprays are also effective. Trees planted in pavement openings seldom develop mildew.

Bacterial spot (Colletotrichum oleosporides) distorts and turns developing leaves black and disfigures developing fruit. Infection may spread to fresh young growth. Anthracnose can be controlled with bimonthly applications of copper spray or captan as a growth flush begins, and until the flowers open. Resume spraying when the fruits begin to form. Mango trees are very sensitive to root loss that can occur from digging, transplanting or gopher damage. "Soft nose," a physical disorder of shriveling at the fruit apex, seems associated with excessive nitrogen in soil. Exposed fruits sunburn in high temperatures.



  • Aloha - Origin San Diego, Jerry Staedeli, 1971. From Hawaiian seed. Tree spreading, light bearer, according to rootstock affinity. Fruit large (14-18 oz.), dull yellow covered with red. Early (Oct-Nov). Susceptible to anthracnose. For coast.
  • Brooks - Origin Miami, 1916. Seedling of Sandersha. Tree somewhat dwarf. Fruit medium to large (10-20 oz.), kidney-shaped, green with yellow shoulder, rather fibrous. Very late. Resistant to anthracnose. For greenhouse and containers.
  • Cambodiana - Origin Miami, 1910. Seedling of Saigon. Philippine type. Fruit small to medium, elongated ovate, yellow-green, juicy, flavor acid. Early. For greenhouse.
  • Carabao - Origin Philippines. Philippine type. Fruit medium (10 oz.), elongated, kidney-shaped, light green blushed yellow. Seed very large, flesh stringy, acid, juicy. Early midseason. For greenhouse.
  • Carrie - Origin Delray Beach, Florida, 1940. Seedling of Sophie Fry. Tree dwarf. Fruit varies from small to 12 oz., regular ovate, green-yellow, fiberless, flavor high. Early. For foothills, interior and greenhouse.
  • Cooper (syn. Cooper No. 1 or 3) - Origin Hollywood, Floyd Cooper, 1948. Tree spreading, dense. Fruit large (16-20 oz.), long, green. Flesh high quality. Late. For foothills.
  • Costa Rica - Origin East Los Angeles, Gilbert Guyenne, 1980. >From seed from Costa Rica. Fruit small to 10 oz., elongated, flat, pale green, juicy. Very early. For coast and foothills.
  • Doubikin - Origin Kelmscott, West Africa, Arnold Doubikin, 1965. Two sibling seedlings of Kensington pass under this name. Tree dwarf, rounded, slow growing, fruits in two years from seed. Polyembryonic. Fruit round, large (12-16 oz.), midseason. For coast, foothills, greenhouse.
  • Earlygold - Origin Pine Island, Florida, 1943. Tree upright. Fruit medium to 12 oz., obliquely round, orange with red blush, fiberless, seed often abortive. Very early. Resistant to anthracnose. For coast.
  • Edgehill - Origin Vista, Calif., Paul Thomson, 1920s. Indian type. Tree upright, hardy, vigorous. Monoembryonic. Blooms early. Produces small to medium (8-12 oz.), almost fiberless fruit, green with red blush. Resists mildew, subject to soft nose. Midseason (Nov-Dec). For foothills.
  • Edward - Origin Miami, Edward Simmons, 1948. Hybrid of Haden X Carabao. Intermediate between Indian and Philippine forms. Tree dense, compact. Fruit medium to large, elongated ovate, apex often oblique, yellow green with red blush. Seed very small, easily removed. Flavor excellent. Early. For interior.
  • Fascell - Origin Miami, 1936. Seedling of Brooks. Pat. #451. Tree open, slow. Fruit medium to large, elongated flattened, yellow with pink blush, flesh acid. Early. For coast and inland.
  • Gouveia - Origin Honolulu, Ruth Gouveia, 1946. Tree upright, open, Fruit medium to large,(10-20 oz.), long ovate, green becoming bright red. Sweet, juicy, no fiber. Late, uneven ripening. For coast and inland.
  • Haden - Origin Coconut Grove, Capt. Haden, 1910. seedling of Mulgoba. Indian type. Tree spreading. Fruit large (to 24 oz.), regular ovate, yellow almost covered with red, flavor mild, little fiber. Early. Susceptible to anthracnose and alternate bearing, traits imparted to its progeny. For interior and greenhouse.
  • Irwin - Origin Miami, F.D. Irwin, 1945. Seedling of Lippens. Florida's leading local market cultivar. Tree very small. Fruit medium, 12-16 oz., elongated, ovate regular in form, orange yellow with deep blush, flesh bland, fiberless. Mid-season. For foothills, interior, greenhouse.
  • Julie - Origin Trinidad. Tree dwarf, slow growing. Fruit small (6-10 oz.), flat oblong, obliquely almost two-nosed, orange, rather fibrous, juicy, sweet. Late. For containers, greenhouse.
  • Keitt - Origin Homestead, 1945. Probably seedling of Mulgoba. Fruit large (20-26 oz.), ovate with slightly oblique apex, green, flesh rich, fiber only around seed. Resists mildew. Late. For interior. Florida fruiting July Aug., sometimes to Sept.
  • Kensington Pride (syns. Pride of Bowen, Bowen Special) - Origin Bowen, Queensland, 1960s. Generally propagated as seedling strain. Polyembryonic. Tree rounded, vigorous. Fruit medium to large, almost round with pink blush. Flavor sweet. Standard Australian mango cv. Fruit tends to drop at small size. Midseason. For foothills.
  • Kent - Origin Coconut Grove, 1944. Seedling of Brooks. Tree upright. Fruit large (20-26 oz.), regular ovate, greenish yellow with red shoulder, flesh rich, fiberless. Late midseason. For interior.
  • MacPherson - Origin Encinitas, L.L. Bucklew, 1944. Tree dense, low branching. Fruit small (6-8 oz.), yellow-green with red blush, flesh fairly good. Midseason. For coast.
  • Manila - Origin Mexico, a seedling race common in Veracruz state. A seedling strain from Hawaii. Philippine type. Tree dwarf, dense. Fruit small to 10 oz., shaped long, flat, yellow, flavor sharp. Subject to anthracnose. Early (Oct-Dec), late picked fruit best. For coast and foothills.
  • Mulgoba - Origin Bombay; distinct from ancient cv. Mulgoa. Fruit medium, 16 oz., greenhouse.
  • Ott - Origin La Habra heights, William Ott, 1948. Seedling of Saigon. Tree dwarf. Fruit medium, to six inches, orange-yellow with pink blush. Season very early.
  • Piña (syn. Pineapple) - Origin Mexico, a seedling strain. Philippine type. Tree upright. Fruit small to 12 oz., shape ovoid, orange yellow. Flavor suggests pineapple. Early midseason (Nov-Dec). For foothills.
  • Pirie (syn. Paheri) - Origin India, ancient. Tree broad, spreading. Fruit small (8-10 oz.), almost round, apex oblique, yellow with red blush. Juicy, fiberless, rich flavor. Alternate bearing; blooms every 18 months. Early midseason. For greenhouse.
  • Reliable - Origin San Diego, Calif., Jerry Staedeli, 1966. Seedling of Sensation. Tree broad, dense, slow. Fruit size varies from 10-20 oz., shape oblong, yellow blushed red. Rarely misses a crop. Subject to anthracnose, soft nose. Long ripening season (Oct-Feb). For coast and foothills.
  • Sensation - Origin Miami, 1941. Tree broad, rounded. Fruit small, round with oblique apex, yellow with red blush, fibers few. Late. For interior.
  • T1 - Origin Vista, Paul Thomson, 1969. Seedling of Edgehill. Tree low, spreading. Vigor dependent upon rootstock. Fruit medium to large, 6-8 inches, shape broad oval, green with red blush, fiberless. Subject to anthracnose, resists mildew, soft nose. Late midseason (Dec-Jan), very late on coast (Jan-Feb). For coast, foothills, interior, containers.
  • Thomson (syn. Thomson Large Seedling) - Origin Vista, Paul Thomson, 1966. Manila seedling, polyembryonic. Tree spreading, vigor dependent upon rootstock. Fruit small to medium, (6-12 oz.), yellow, shape flat, to eight inches. Resists mildew. High fiber under chemical fertilizer regime. Season early, long (September-November), ripens well indoors if picked prematurely. For coast.
  • Tommy Atkins - Originated from a seed planted in the 1920s at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Commercially grown for export in Florida. Tree full, dense. Fruit medium to large, 16 oz. with thick skin, regular ovate, orange-yellow covered with red and heavy purple bloom. Firm, juicy, medium fiber, fair to good quality. Flavor poor when over fertilized and irrigated. Resists anthracnose. Early, ripens well if picked immature. For interior.
  • Villaseñor - Origin Los Angeles, 1950s, Sr. Villaseñor. Tree dwarf, spreading, responds to strong rootstock. Fruit medium, to 12 oz., shape ovate, color greenish yellow, pink blush, flavor mild. Late midseason (Dec Jan). For coast, foothills.
  • Winters (syn, M20222, Southland) - Origin Miami, USDA, 1959. Seedling of Ono, Philippine type, polyembryonic. Tree broad, production variable. Fruit medium, to 14 oz., smaller in desert, shape half-round, yellow blushed red. Subject to anthracnose, resists soft nose. Parthenocarpic fruit will reach full size. Season midseason (Nov-Dec), ripens well if picked immature. For coast, foothills, interior.
  • Zill - Origin Lake Worth, 1930. Seedling of Haden. Tree very spreading, open. Fruit small, 8-12 oz., almost round, apex oblique, yellow with blush, little fiber. Ripens early. For greenhouse.


About 35 species, including:
Mangifera altissima
Mangifera applanata
Mangifera caesia
Mangifera camptosperma
Mangifera casturi
Mangifera decandra
Mangifera foetida
Mangifera gedebe
Mangifera griffithii
Mangifera indica
Mangifera kemanga
Mangifera laurina
Mangifera longipes
Mangifera macrocarpa
Mangifera mekongensis
Mangifera odorata
Mangifera pajang
Mangifera pentandra
Mangifera persiciformis
Mangifera quadrifida
Mangifera siamensis
Mangifera similis
Mangifera swintonioides
Mangifera sylvatica
Mangifera torquenda
Mangifera zeylanica


Standard Cyclopedia

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Mangifera indica, Linn. Mango. Fig. 2320. A large tree, erect or spreading in habit, 30-90 ft. high, with oblong-lanceolate to elliptic lvs. 6-16 in. long, variable in breadth, glabrous, deep green, the margins sometimes undulate, apex commonly acute; petiole 1—4 in. long, swollen at the base: panicles a foot or more in length, pubescent, rarely glabrate; fls. yellowish or reddish, odorous, sub- sessile, staminate and hermaphrodite on the same panicle; sepals ovate-oblong, concave; petals twice as long as sepals, ovate, 3-5-ridged, the ridges orange; disk fleshy, 5-lobed; stamens 1 fertile, 4 reduced to staminodes of varying prominence; anthers purplish; ovary glabrous: fr. 2-6 in. or more in length, usually compressed laterally, greenish, yellowish or reddish in color. N. India, Burma, and possibly Malaya, as noted above. B.M. 4510. H.U. 3:193.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Mangifera (from mango, common name of one species, and Latin, to tear). Anacardiaceae. Tropical trees, of which M. indica is the only one well known horticulturally, and is cultivated throughout the tropics for its fruit, being naturalized in many regions. It is the mango of English-speaking countries, in its finer varieties one of the most delicious of air tropical fruits. Several other species also produce edible fruits, mostly, however, of indifferent value; their distribution is in nearly all cases limited. The Malay Archipelago is the home of nearly the entire genus, Malacca having a particularly large proportion of species. M. indica has been in cultivation since such a remote period that its exact origin is somewhat doubtful, but it has been considered by the best authorities to be indigenous to the Himalayan foothills of eastern India, extending possibly through Burma into the Malayan region.

Leaves alternate, petiolate, entire, coriaceous: fls. small, polygamous, in terminal panicles; calyx 4—5- partite; corolla 4-5-petaled; petals free or adnate to the disk, imbricate; stamens 1-5, rarely more, inserted just within the disk; in most species there is commonly only 1 fertile stamen, the remainder being more or less abortive or reduced to staminodes; ovary 1-celled, oblique, the style lateral: fr. a large fleshy drupe, with a compressed, fibrous stone.—A genus of about 30 species, natives of Trop. Asia. Several allied genera are of horticultural importance, notably Anacardium, which includes the cashew (A. occidentale), Spondias, of which several species are cultivated for their fruits, known commonly as hog-plum, Spanish plum, and so on, and Pistacia. which furnishes the pistacio nut; all tropical or subtropical in distribution. The genus Rhus, which includes the sumac and poison ivy, and is well represented in warm-temperate regions, is also a member of the same family.

The mango.

To millions of persons living within the tropics, the mango is of greater importance than is the apple to those of temperate North America. While this is especially true in southern Asia, where the mango has been grown from time immemorial, the last two centuries have seen the tree widely disseminated throughout the tropical regions of the New World, and playing an important role in the dietary habits of the inhabitants. In its finer varieties the mango is certainly worthy of a place among the world's best fruits; for beauty of coloring, delicate subtle aroma, and piquancy of taste it has few equals. Yet it must be remembered that it is only among the choicest varieties that these characteristics are found, and the inferior, fibrous seedlings, which have always constituted the larger part and are all too frequently considered by visitors to the American tropics as representative of the best to be found among mangoes, have little in common with some of the superb varieties of the Orient.

DeCandolle considered it probable that the mango has been in cultivation for 4,000 years. At the present time it is found growing naturally in the tropical Himalayan region, from Kumaon to Bhutan, at altitudes of 1,000 to 3,000 feet, and in several other parts of India, while it is cultivated extensively throughout the peninsula, except in a few regions in which the climatic conditions are unfavorable. References to the mango in the early literature of India are said to be numerous, and it seems always to have been held in the highest esteem and even veneration; its flowers are employed in religious ceremonies, and in some places annual celebrations are held in its honor. In the fourteenth century, the Turkoman poet, Amir Khusru, wrote in Persian verse, "The mango is the pride of the garden, the choicest fruit of Hindustan; other fruits we are content to eat when ripe, but the mango is good in all stages of growth;" and the great Mughal emperor, Akbar, who reigned in the sixteenth century, planted near Darbhanga the famous Lakh Bagh, an orchard of 100,000 mango trees, some of which are said by Maries to remain to this day.

The dissemination of the mango throughout the tropical world seems to have been rather slow, considering the usefulness and importance of the fruit in India, but the difficulties in transporting seeds and plants in the early days, when travel by water was not rapid, must be remembered. Credit is probably due the Portuguese for carrying the mango to Africa, and later on to South America, where it is thought, to have been first established in Brazil, but the date of its introduction to this continent is not definitely known. Within the eighteenth century it became scattered throughout the West Indies and on the mainland of Central America. At the present day it is found in nearly every tropical region of the globe, and in some places its culture has been extended into the subtropics; thus it is grown in the Canary Islands, Madeira, occasionally along the shores of the Mediterranean, in Australia, northern India and the Persian Gulf region, southern Brazil, and the southernmost part of the United States.

The English name "mango" is from the Portuguese "manga," which is itself considered an adaptation of the Tamil "man-kay" or "man-gay" which was formed by the earliest Portuguese settlers in India. Some writers consider that the Portuguese name had its origin in the Malay "mangga" or "mangka," but Rumphius traces the introduction of the latter into the Malay Archipelago from southern India, along with the fruit itself. In northern India the name is "am" or "amba," these forms or variations of them occurring in very early literature; in Sanskrit it is "amra." In the western hemisphere the common names are adaptations of the Portuguese "manga" (the tree "mangueira"); thus it is called in both English and Spanish "mango," in French "mangue" (the tree "manguier"), in Italian "mango," in German "mango" (the tree "mangobaum"), and in Dutch "mangga" (the tree "manggaboom").

The tree is evergreen, and varies greatly in height and habit of growth. In India there are several kinds which are low-growing, almost prostrate in habit, but ordinarily the tree is erect, either with a broad, dome- shaped, umbrageous crown, or else with a tall, oval, more or less open crown and ascending branches. On deep rich soils the mango reaches immense proportions; one specimen with a trunk 25 feet in circumference and a spread of 125 feet has been measured in Bahia, Brazil. A height of 70 feet is not infrequently attained. Budded or grafted trees do not reach such large proportions, neither do seedlings on shallow soils.

The lanceolate deep green leaves are of leathery texture, varying in length from 6 to 16 inches or even more, and when crushed emit an odor of turpentine, pronounced in some varieties and almost lacking in others. Growth is made in periodic "flushes" from the terminal buds of the young branches; when a new flush makes its appearance its leaves are usually reddish or wine-colored, the color changing to green as the leaves mature. After the development of each flush there is usually a period of inactivity, following which another flush is made, each one varying in length from a few inches to a foot or more. The flowers, which are borne in large panicles a foot or more in length, produced in spring at the ends of the young branches, are yellowish or pinkish in color; there are sometimes 2,000 or even more on a single panicle, but only part of them are perfect, the mango being polygamous, i. e., producing on the same tree flowers in which both sexes are present and flowers which are unisexual. The staminate flowers greatly outnumber the perfect ones, as a general thing; there is, however, only one pollen-bearing stamen, the remaining four being abortive and represented by staminodes of varying prominence. The perfect flowers are easily distinguished from the staminate ones by the small obliquely round ovary, borne upon the swollen disk. The petals are ovate to lanceolate, commonly five in number.

In size and character of fruit the mango is extremely variable; there are varieties which are scarcely larger than a plum, and there are others whose fruits weigh as much as four or five pounds. The shape varies from round to long and slender, some of the commonest types being reniform; obliquely heart-shaped, oval, or elliptical. The skin is smooth, somewhat thicker than that of a peach, commonly yellow or greenish yellow in color, but in some varieties bright yellow overspread with scarlet or crimson, and of extremely beautiful appearance. Other types are uniformly pale lemon-yellow. The aroma is often delicious, spicy and tempting, and this added to the brilliant color, makes some of the finer varieties of the mango among the most attractive of all fruits. The stone is large, usually flattened, and in the ordinary seedling fruit covered with long, tough fibers, which extend from all sides into the yellow, juicy flesh. In the best grafted sorts there is no fiber and the fruit can be divided into halves, after making a longitudinal cut through the flesh, like a freestone peach.

The flavor, like that of many other tropical fruits, is difficult of description. Lady Brassey has likened it to a combination of apricot and pineapple, and others have compared it to the peach, yet neither of these comparisons conveys an accurate idea of the delicious piquancy and fragrance of a perfect mango, rich and sweet, yet never cloying, and overrunning with luscious juice. In seedlings there is often an objectionable taste of turpentine, especially in the skin; this, like the fiber, is done away with in the finer grafted varieties. However, it is sometimes true of the seedling fruit, as Jumelle remarks, that while "there are those who do not like it because it smells of turpentine, there are others who come to like turpentine because it reminds them of the mango."

The mango is preeminently a dessert fruit, yet it lends itself to an infinite variety of uses, chief among which, in India, is the manufacture of chutneys and preserves. Mango chutney, of which there are numerous kinds, such as Major Grey's, Colonel Skinner's, Lucknow, and Bengal Club, is exported from India in considerable quantities. The unripe fruit is used in its manufacture, together with various other ingredients, principally spices. The unripe fruit is also used to prepare a dish known in India as "mango phul," a sort of custard made with milk and sugar. The ripe pulp, properly spiced, is dried in the sun to form thin cakes known as ambsath, a product which is, according to Woodrow, "the special solace and delight of Indian students in foreign countries." In Cuba and other parts of tropical America, the fruit is extensively used for the manufacture of jams and preserves. Exquisite sherbets and iced drinks are made from it, the Cubans and Brazilians being especially skilful in preparing them. In recent years, canning factories have been started in India for the purpose of preserving the fruit in the same manner as peaches and pears are preserved in this country. There are varieties of the mango especially suited for culinary use, and others preferable as dessert fruits, just as with the more important temperate fruits.

In the United States, mango-culture has, in recent years, attracted considerable attention in southern Florida, where extensive experiments have been made with varieties from all parts of the world. In 1901 it was found that the tree could be successfully budded, and nursery stock began to be produced in sufficient quantities to permit of orchard plantings. The most extensive groves are found in the vicinity of Miami, on the lower east coast, but there are also numerous small plantations as far north as Palm Beach on the east coast, and at Fort Myers and other points on the west coast, extending as far north as Tampa Bay, where the trees are sometimes injured by frost, but nevertheless grow and fruit fairly well, especially in the vicinity of St. Petersburg. Florida has supplied nursery stock to plant several young groves in Cuba, the Isle of Pines, and Porto Rico as well.

In California, the culture of the mango is limited to the warmest locations, but fruit has been successfully produced at Sierra Madre, Santa Ana, Hollywood, and Santa Barbara. From past experiments, it appears that the tree is much better suited to the so-called frostless districts some distance from the seacoast than to such localities as Santa Barbara, for the reason that near the ocean there is not sufficient heat during the summer months to ripen the fruit. The dry climate of California seems to stunt the tree, and it develops much less rapidly than in the tropics, but with abundant irrigation it has made fairly good growth, especially in the deep sandy loam of some of the foothill regions. As to frost, the plants, when young, arc easily injured by temperatures lower than freezing, but when they have attained a few years' growth they will withstand temperatures as low as 27 or 28°, provided they are not of long duration, without serious injury. Protection should be given wherever possible.

Cultivation of the mango. In regard to soil, the mango does not seem to be very particular, but respecting climate it is much more exacting. Deep rich soils, like many of those found in Porto Rico and Cuba, produce a more rapid growth and greater ultimate dimensions, but the shallow sandy soils, underlaid with soft limestone, which are found on the lower east coast of Florida, have so far proved satisfactory, the mango requiring less fertilizer under such conditions than the avocado or some other tropical fruits. In India some of the best mango districts have a deep rich alluvial loam, somewhat sandy in nature, and this can probably be considered the best of all mango soils.

Granting that the mango is grown in a region free from injurious frosts, the most important climatic factor is the amount of rainfall, especially in regard to the season in which most of it occurs. In general it may be said that the mango produces the largest crops and most brilliantly colored fruit in regions in which there is a well-defined dry season corresponding to the blooming and ripening .season; damp, cloudy weather while the trees are in bloom, even without any actual precipitation, is very prejudicial, and it has been thoroughly demonstrated in Florida that the best crops are produced in seasons when the weather is dry and sunny during the blossoming period. Moist weather favors the spread of blossom-blight or anthracnose (Colletotrichum gleosporioides), a fungous disease that sometimes destroys all of the flowers. Many seedling mangoes, as well as some grafted varieties, often produce a second crop of flowers if the first is destroyed. Trees in Cuba have even been known to flower four times; on the other hand, some mangoes bloom only once in a season. Spraying with bordeaux mixture, made in the proportion of five pounds of copper sulfate and five pounds of unslaked lime to fifty gallons of water, is often employed to prevent the blighting of the flowers, several applications being given while the trees are in bloom, commencing with the appearance of the first flower-buds. It is also well to spray occasionally during the time the fruits are developing, to prevent infection which may lead to rapid decay when the fruits are picked and shipped to market.

Regions where the annual precipitation is from 30 to 60 inches, and where a very small proportion of this occurs during the flowering season, seem to be ideal for the mango. Even in such regions, however, difficulty is often experienced in forcing some varieties to bloom, the mango showing a marked tendency toward irregularity in its fruiting habits. In tropical countries, various methods have been devised to encourage the formation of flower-buds and setting of fruits, such as partly girdling the trunk, hacking the trunk, severe root-pruning, placing common salt around the tree, and smoking the tree during the blooming period by keeping a smudge burning under its wide spreading branches. Most of these methods are out of harmony with modern horticultural practice, and of doubtful advisability, but it appears that something should be done in autumn to check vegetative growth and encourage the formation of flower-buds. Withholding all fertilizers at this season and moderate pruning of the roots may be suggested as of possible value.

In planting out young budded trees in orchard form, they should be set at least 30 to 35 feet apart, in holes prepared in advance. Late spring—April and May— is considered the best time for planting in southern Florida. During the first few years well-rotted stable- manure or sheep-manure can be used to encourage growth, but it should not be applied in large quantities, and after the trees reach bearing age the greatest care is necessary in applying fertilizers. For Cuban soils a fertilizer containing 3 per cent nitrogen, 10 per cent phosphoric acid, and 10 per cent potash has been recommended, fifteen to twenty-five pounds a year, being given to mature trees. No fertilizers should be applied in fall or winter or during the time the trees are in flower. Little pruning is usually given the mango, though the trees may require some attention while young to encourage the formation of a symmetrical, well-branched head, which should not, however, be too dense. Grafted trees are usually spreading in form, and should be encouraged to remain so, especially in regions subject to occasional hurricanes.

Insect pests of the mango. Of the insect pests attacking the mango, the fruit- flies (Trypetidae) rank first in importance. Belonging to this family are the Mediterranean fruit-fly (Ceratitis capitata) which has so adversely affected the fruitgrowing interests of Hawaii, the Queensland fruit-fly (Dacus tryoni), the mango fruit-fly (Dacus ferrugineus), the Mexican fruit-fly (Anostrepha ludens), which has become troublesome in Porto Rico. The females of these flies insert their eggs into the flesh of the fruit by means of a most efficient ovipositor, and the larvae infest the fruit, rendering it unfit for human consumption, and in cases leading to premature ripening and decay. Control is difficult; the sweetened arsenical sprays have met with varied success, and natural control by parasites is now receiving attention. In India, the mango hopper (various species of Idiocerus) and the mango weevil (Cryptorhynchus mangiferae), which latter has now been reported as doing considerable damage in Hawaii, are of importance as pests. Cleanliness in the grove by way of periodically gathering drops will prevent pupation of the fruit-flies and weevil and considerably reduce their numbers. In Florida, red-spider and thrips are responsible for extensive injury to foliage, leading to disturbances of the general health of the tree; but contact sprays, e. g., lime-sulfur or nicotine, "properly applied, will effect complete eradication. Numerous scale insects have become injurious in certain localities and may be controlled by the use of kerosene emulsion, but the desirability of natural enemies such as the coccinelid beetles being present in the orchard must not be forgotten. A large bark-boring beetle (Plocaederus ruficornis) has been responsible for much damage to trees in the Philippines.

The mango crop. The age at which budded or grafted mango trees will come into bearing depends upon the variety and upon several other factors, but they cannot as a rule be expected to produce fruit under three or four years from the time of planting, and in the case of some varieties this time is considerably extended. As to yield, some of the smaller-fruited varieties will produce several thousand mangoes in a single crop, when the tree is of mature size, while Mulgoba and other large mangoes are doing well when they produce a few hundred. Experience has been that the crop varies greatly in different seasons, and it has been impossible to fix a certain quantity as the average yield of any one variety. So much is dependent upon the weather at the time of flowering, with the consequent setting or dropping of flowers, that irregularities in bearing are all too common. Some mangoes, however, such as Cambodiana and Sandersha. have shown themselves much more dependable in this regard than others, and are especially valuable for this reason.

The fruit is picked when fully mature, but before it has commenced to soften on the tree. If allowed to remain on the tree too long, it is sometimes found that the flesh immediately surrounding the seed is unpleasant to the taste and of a peculiar gelatinous consistency. Shears should be used for picking, leaving a short section of the stem attached to the base of the fruit: this will dry up and fall off in a few days, but if the fruit is pulled from the tree the sap exudes freely from the stem end, disfiguring the surface.

The usual carrier used for mangoes in Florida is the tomato-crate, holding six small baskets. Each basket will contain six mangoes of good size, making thirty- six to the crate. The individual fruits are wrapped in tissue paper before packing, and excelsior is used above and below them as a cushion. Mangoes are shipped from south Florida to New York, Boston and Chicago, without difficulty, nearly always arriving in good condition if they were picked at the proper time. In recent years, the south Florida growers have received $9 a crate for Mulgobas. The season during which they are shipped from Florida extends from late July until the latter part of August. Some varieties begin to ripen early in July, while the later ones, such as Sandersha, extend the season until the end of September.

Propagation of mangoes. The simplest vegetative method, and the one extensively used in India, is that known as inarching or grafting by approach. While this is the most certain of all methods, it is too slow and laborious to meet the demands of present-day nurserymen, when more expeditious means can be found. Consequently, budding is rapidly taking the place of inarching in this country, and though requiring considerably more skill it has proven entirely practicable for nursery work.

Inarching is performed between a large tree of the variety which it is desired to perpetuate and young seedlings grown in pots or boxes. The seedlings are ready for inarching when ten months to a year old; they should have stems slightly less than ½ inch in diameter. An easily accessible branch on the parent tree, of the same diameter as the stem of the seedling, should be selected for the cion, and the seedling in its pot placed upon a stage or support where the cion can be brought into close contact with it. The juncture where the inarch is made should be about 6 inches from the base of the seedling, and about a foot from the tip of the cion, which should be as straight and vigorous as possible. A thin slice of bark and wood about 3 inches long is removed from one side of the seedling stock, and a similar slice from one side of the cion; the cut surfaces are then bound closely together with waxed tape, or with raffia or soft string, and afterward covered with wax to exclude the air. Several months are required for a union to be effected, after which the top of the seedling is removed just above the juncture of stock and cion, and the cion is severed from the parent tree just below the juncture. Inarching is usually done in India at the beginning of the rainy season, but it can be successfully practised at almost any time of the year.

Seedling stocks for budding or grafting are easily grown. After removing the husk, the seed is planted in a 5-inch pot and barely covered with soil. As soon as germination takes place, the plants should be watched to see that not more than one shoot is allowed to develop; some mangoes are poly-embryonic and will produce six or eight shoots from a single seed. When the young plants are well started, which in Florida should be by early fall if the seeds were planted in midsummer, they may be set out in the field in nursery rows 2 feet apart, the plants 1 foot apart in the rows, and allowed to remain there until after they are budded. Field budding has been found much more satisfactory than budding in pots.

Several very distinct races of mangoes are known in cultivation, and as yet practically nothing has been done to determine which of these are of the greatest value as stocks, although there is every indication that this is an important question. In addition, some of the numerous other species of Mangifera may be of value for this purpose. As a general thing seeds of any variety are used, including those of the common "turpentine" mangoes, as they are called, which can usually be obtained in quantity at a very low price. The seeds should be planted as soon as possible after their removal from the fruit, as they do not retain their viability for many weeks. They are rather difficult to transport through the mails, especially when sent to distant countries.

The proper time for budding is when the plants have attained a diameter of stem as great as that of a lead pencil, or greater, and are just coming into flush, i.e., when the terminal bud is just starting to push out new growth. The budwood, which should be cut from vigorous, healthy trees, should be round, straight, smooth, and preferably of the second flush from the ends of the branches, the most recent flush of growth being discarded. The wood should be as dormant as possible, and the end of the branch from which it is taken should never show the wine-colored young leaves which are indicative of active growth. It is well to have wood which has hardened up sufficiently to have lost its bright green color and assumed a grayish cast.

The buds should be cut 1 to 1 ½ inches in length, with a straight, sliding motion of the knife, aiming, if possible, to keep the blade parallel with the budstick. A thin, keen blade is essential. The incision is made in the stock in the form of a T or an inverted T, exactly as in budding citrous trees, and the bud is inserted without any more pressure than necessary. A strip of waxed tape is then used to bind it firmly in place. Cheap muslin is used for making the tape; after being torn into strips about 6 inches wide it is made into rolls 1inch in diameter and boiled in a mixture of one pound beeswax and one-fourth pound rosin.

Edward Simmonds, who has worked out the budding of the mango in south Florida, considers April and May the most propitious months for inserting the buds. In strictly tropical regions the work can probably be done at any time of the year when the stock plants are in proper condition.

At the expiration of three to four weeks, the top of the stock is lopped, providing the bud shows signs of having formed a union; lopping should not be close to the bud, as this has been found to be dangerous.

Large seedling trees are often worked over to choice varieties by cutting off several of the main branches a short distance from the trunk, and allowing a number of sprouts to come out. When these have reached the proper size they can be budded in the same manner as seedlings.

Races, types and varieties of mangoes. In different parts of the world several very distinct races of mangoes are found, which tend to reproduce their racial characteristics when grown from seed, though showing minor variations in form of fruit and other characters. One of the best defined races is that from the Philippines, which appears to be closely allied, if not identical, with the Cambodiana from Indo-China; several more or less distinct seedling types of this race are known in the Philippines, notably Pahutan, Carabao, and Pico, and among these, in turn, are to be found slightly differing forms which when propagated by budding or grafting would constitute horticultural varieties. The Philippine race, which is polyembryonic, was brought to tropical America at an early day, doubtless by the Spaniards, and is the favorite in Mexico, where its seedlings are generally called "Manila mangoes," and in Cuba, where it goes by the name of "Filipino." In India, most varieties appear to belong to a mono-embryonic race which breaks up into more or less well-defined classes or types, of which there are in turn numerous horticultural varieties propagated vegetatively; thus of the well-known Bombay type, or group, as it has been called by some writers, there are several varieties, as also of the Langra, Malda and other types. In Jamaica the polyembryonic race known as No. 11 has become very popular because of the fact that it reproduces itself very closely when grown from seed (which most mono-embryonic mangoes fail to do) and has maintained its good quality for considerably over 100 years; it appears to be very closely allied to the Manga da Rosa of Brazil, and probably has other allies in the region from which it came. The relationships of the various races and types of mangoes has not as yet been thoroughly studied, and a good classification is lacking.

Of horticultural varieties there is an infinite and bewildering number, especially in India, where it appears to have been the custom to name almost every tree that produced fruit of superior quality; this has led to confusion and synonymy. One of the earliest Indian authorities on the mango, Maries, reported a collection of 500 varieties near Darbhanga while large numbers of named varieties have been described from many localities by various persons bringing the number of published varietal number up toward a thousand. Only a very limited number of these, however, such as the famous Alfonso of Bombay, have become well known and recognized.

The best Indian mangoes are probably equalled in flavor and quality anywhere else in the world, although some travelers have professed a preference for the Philippine types, which are, indeed, very delicious. But the process of selection which has been carried on in India for centuries, and the perpetuation of seedlings by inarching, has led to the existence of remarkably fine mangoes in several parts of the Indian peninsula, most notably, perhaps, in the vicinity of Bombay, at Poona, and the erstwhile Portuguese colony of Goa (where, in fact, it is thought by some writers that vegetative propagation of the mango was first introduced, the Portuguese having been instrumental in establishing this method which has meant so much to Indian horticulture), at Madras on the eastern coast, and in several districts toward the northern part of the peninsula, such as Malda, Darbhanga, Saharanpur, and Lucknow.

Grafted Indian varieties were first introduced to the United States in 1889, when the Department of Agriculture obtained from Bombay a collection of five kinds, which were placed with fruit-growers on Lake Worth, Florida, for trial. In the freeze of February, 1895, all save one of the trees perished; the surviving tree, a Mulgoba, came into bearing in 1898, and the superior quality of its fruit gave a marked stimulus to the cultivation of the mango in this country, resulting in the introduction of numerous other Indian varieties of reputed excellence. These have been added to by introductions from Indo-China. Ceylon, the Philippines, and other regions where good mangoes are grown. Among the best now grown in Florida and the West Indies are the following:

Mulgoba, which in delicate, aromatic flavor, smoothness and fineness of pulp, freedom from fiber, and attractiveness, must be placed in the very first rank. A good specimen will weigh about one pound, is broadly oval in shape, plump, clear yellow m color, and blushed around the base with crimson-scarlet. Its season in Florida extends from July to the first of September. Unfortunately, it has proved irregular in its fruiting habits, and does not usually come into bearing as young as some other varieties. In some seasons considerable quantities of the fruit have been shipped from south Florida to northern markets, the growers realizing $9 a crate of thirty-six fruits. Haden is a fruit very similar in general characteristics to Mulgoba, of which it is believed to be a seedling. It originated at Cocoanut Grove, Florida. Good specimens weigh sixteen to twenty ounces, and are highly colored. The flesh is scarcely as smooth as that of Mulgoba, and the flavor not quite so piquant, but nevertheless very good. Its season corresponds to that of Mulgoba.

Paheri (probably synonymous with Pairi, which is now considered by the best Indian authorities the correct spelling of the name) was introduced from India in 1902, and has been found of excellent quality in Florida. Near Bombay, India, it is considered the finest flavored of all mangoes, but because of the superior keeping qualities of Alfonso the latter is preferred commercially. It is a fruit of about twelve ounces in weight, oval, plump, orange-yellow in color, blushed with scarlet on the cheek, the flesh deep orange, very juicy, and of rich, spicy flavor. It ripens in Florida in July and August.

Amini is a smaller fruit than any of the above, averaging six or eight ounces in weight; in form it is oblong-ovate, in color almost identical with Mulgoba. The aroma is remarkably penetrating and agreeable, while the flavor is unusually spicy. The tree is more productive than some of the larger varieties, and seems slightly more resistant to blight. It is a little earlier than Paheri in season.

Cambodiana, mentioned above as a polyembryonic seedling race, was introduced to Florida about 1902, and several of its seedlings have been propagated by budding. While they cannot be considered equal in flavor and quality to the best of the Indian mangoes, the tree is much more regular in its fruiting habits. The race is characterized by an elongated, compressed fruit, frequently rather sharp at the apex, and of a light yellow or greenish yellow color. The flesh is yellow, juicy, of a pleasant flavor, but lacking the richness of Mulgoba or other good Indian mangoes, while the fiber is somewhat more abundant. In season it is a little earlier than Mulgoba.

Bennett is a select strain of Alfonso or Alphonse from Bombay which has been grown for several years in Florida. In quality it ranks very high, but it has been somewhat at a disadvantage in the markets because of its rather dull orange-yellow color. It is a fruit of about one pound in weight, oval to somewhat cordate in form, plump, with orange-yellow flesh and a seed almost entirely free from fiber. The season of ripening is July and August.

Sandersha is a very large fruit, frequently two pounds in weight, of elongated, somewhat curved form, orange- yellow in color. The flesh is free from fiber, and, when properly ripened, of pleasant flavor, though a trifle coarser than the best varieties. It is excellent for cooking, and because of its regularity in bearing is considered valuable. It ripens very late, beginning in late August and extending through September.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


External links

blog comments powered by Disqus
Personal tools
Bookmark and Share