Mangosteen


The mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia.1 It is grown widely in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.2 The crop is also found in certain parts of India and Sri Lanka where conditions are favourable.3 The dark purple fruit with its sweet, white edible segments is considered a delicacy.

Description
Hailed as the “Queen of Fruits”, the mangosteen’s popularity is said to be rivalled only by the durian.4 The tree is part of the Guttiferae family5 and has the distinction of being remarkably difficult to raise. Seedlings are fragile and perish easily. The few that do reach maturity can take up to 15 years to bear fruit and even longer to propagate.6


The mangosteen tree has a straight, central trunk and grows to a medium height of 20 ft to 40 ft. The bark is slightly scaly and has a sooty brown or black colouration.7 Its low branches and lush foliage provide good shade in private gardens.8 Leaves are simple, thick and have a slight sheen. Mature leaves may be an attractive shade of olive to dark green, but have pale, drab undersides.9 The wide and fleshy flowers may be male or hermaphrodite on the same tree.10

The round fruit is initially a crisp green, and ripens to a deep, purplish burgundy. A firm outer rind and a crown of sepals encase four to eight luscious, white segments. It is possible to predict the number of segments, as they always correspond with the number of lobes found at the apex of the fruit. The fruit may be seedless or have one to five fully developed seeds, ovoid-oblong and somewhat flattened, that cling to the flesh. To avoid picking fruits with too many seeds, a general rule is to choose fruits with the largest number of lobes, and hence, the largest number of segments. The segments are arranged centrally and can be easily loosened with the fingers. The fruit is popular for its delicate flavour, subtle sweetness and melting texture. However, one must be careful of the fruit’s indelible crimson stains.11

Usage and potential
Food
Besides being enjoyed raw, the fruit is also made into a Malay savoury preserve known as halwa manggis (manggis for “mangosteen”).12 Variations include mangosteen jam, juices, jellies and sorbet. A refreshingly tasty dessert can be created by adding fresh mangosteens to sherbet or ice-cream.13 Unlike the durian which is believed to be “heaty” for the body, the Chinese believe that the mangosteen is “cooling”.14

Medicine
The rind of the fruit is rich in tannin and commonly used as an astringent.15 It is also prescribed as a curative for dysentery, diarrhoea and cholera. In Indonesia, the bark and skin are prescribed for high fever.16

Others
The tannin from the mangosteen fruit is extracted and used in textile and dye industries.17



Author

Annalisa Dass



References
1. Hutton, W. (2000). Tropical fruits of Malaysia and Singapore. Periplus Editions, p. 22. (Call no.: RSING 634.6 HUT)
2. Othman Yaacob & Subhadrabandhu, S. (1995). The production of economic fruits in Southeast Asia. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 109. (Call no.: RSING 634.0959 OTH)
3. Morton, J. (1987). Mangosteen. Fruits of warm climates. Retrieved 2016, April 26 from Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University website: https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/mangosteen.html
4.Tohi, W. (2013, October 20). Mangosteen – Queen of Fruits. Natural News. Retrieved 2016, April 26 from Natural News website:http://www.naturalnews.com/042586_mangosteen_queen_of_fruits_phytonutrients.html
5. Hutton, W. (2000). Tropical fruits of Malaysia and Singapore. Periplus Editions, p. 22. (Call no.: RSING 634.6 HUT)
6. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-east Asia: Facts and folklore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 34. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
7. Morton, J. (1987). Mangosteen. Fruits of warm climates. Retrieved 2016, April 26 from Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University website: https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/mangosteen.html
8. Othman Yaacob & Subhadrabandhu, S. (1995). The production of economic fruits in Southeast Asia. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 109. (Call no.: RSING 634.0959 OTH)
9. Othman Yaacob & Subhadrabandhu, S. (1995). The production of economic fruits in Southeast Asia. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 109. (Call no.: RSING 634.0959 OTH)
10. Morton, J. (1987). Mangosteen. Fruits of warm climates. Retrieved 2016, April 26 from Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University website: https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/mangosteen.html
11. Morton, J. (1987). Mangosteen. Fruits of warm climates. Retrieved 2016, April 26 from Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University website: https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/mangosteen.html; and Othman Yaacob & Subhadrabandhu, S. (1995). The production of economic fruits in Southeast Asia. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 109. (Call no.: RSING 634.0959 OTH)
12. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-east Asia: Facts and folklore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 35. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
13. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-east Asia: Facts and folklore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 35. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
14. Hutton, W. (2000). Tropical fruits of Malaysia and Singapore. Periplus Editions, p. 22. (Call no.: RSING 634.6 HUT)
15. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-east Asia: Facts and folklore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 35. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
16. Hutton, W. (2000). Tropical fruits of Malaysia and Singapore. Periplus Editions, p. 22. (Call no.: RSING 634.6 HUT)
17. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-east Asia: Facts and folklore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 35. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)



Further resource
Burkill, I. H. (2002). A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula (Vol. 1). Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Agriculture, Malaysia, pp. 1069–1071.
(Call no.: RSING 634.9095951 BUR)




The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Science and technology>>Agriculture>>Fruit crops
Plants
Mangosteen
Tropical fruit--Peninsulas--Southeast Asia
Nature>>Plants