Mango



The cultivated mango (Mangifera indica Linn.) originated in the Indo-Burma region, and it has been grown in India for the last 6,000 years. It is an important commercial crop not only in India, but also in Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Burma, Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as Sri Lanka.1 The mango is a common dessert fruit in Asia. Dozens of varieties exist, with Thailand’s Tong Dum being one of the more popular kinds.2 The mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines, and the national tree of Bangladesh. The tree plays an important role in rituals and religious ceremonies in South and Southeast Asia, while mango leaves are used to decorate homes during weddings and celebrations.3

Overview
The mango tree is native to South Asia.4 Having been cultivated for many centuries, it has spread to various other regions, extending as far as Africa, Australia, and California in the United States.5


The tree belongs to the Anacardiaceae family.6 Hundreds of species exist, owing to its seed propagation. Of these, approximately 20 varieties are found in the Malay Peninsula.7 Mango trees less than 10 years old may flower and fruit every year. Thereafter, most of the trees tend towards alternate, or biennial, bearing.8

Description
The height of the mango tree varies substantially among species, ranging from 30 to 100 ft.9 The bark of the tree is fairly rough and often scarred by vertical fissures, while the leaves are simple and usually spirally arranged on the twigs. The tree blooms profusely, producing long inflorescence of pinkish-white flowers during the pre-monsoon seasons that take about four months to mature.10

The mango ripens in April and May, when heat and humidity levels are high. The ripe fruit varies in shape and colour, but are typically flattish oval with a “beak” at one end.11 The fruit has non-edible skin, and a large elongated seed inside. The aromatic flesh is usually juicy, fibrous or non-fibrous, sweet, and yellow to orange in colour.12

The sap found in the leaves, stem and fruit of all types of mangoes is an irritant and can cause a rash to those allergic to it.13

Usage and potential
Food
Ripe mangoes are a good source of vitamins A and C, and they are high in fibre and minerals. The fruit is also known for its high antioxidant content.14

Apart from being eaten fresh, there are other means by which the mango is relished. In Thailand, a dessert known as kao niow ma-muang is prepared by mixing fresh mango slices with sweet sticky rice and coconut cream.15

As mangoes rot quickly after ripening, they are often preserved in syrup and canned. They are traditionally preserved as pickles and chutney, or cut into strips and dried in the sun.16 In India, it is commonly believed that mango chutney acts as a diuretic and helps to promote appetite.17

Other mango products include strained baby food, juices, jellies, ice-cream, souffles and mango custard. As the mango peel produces pectin which is essential for setting jellies and jams, it is typically kept as a by-product during processing.18

Traditional medicine
Mango flowers are occasionally used to treat diarrhoea in India,19 and mango leaf ash relieves burns and scalds.20

Others
Mango wood is strong and resists borer attacks. The tree trunk is thus used for shipbuilding and particularly for dug-out canoes.21 In addition, gum and dyes can be obtained from the sap and fruit respectively.22

In Singapore, it is customary for Indians to adorn their home entrance with a string of mango leaves. This practice serves to remind the families of their ancestors’ agrarian roots.23

Variant names
Scientific name: Mangifera indica24
Malay and Indonesian: Mangga
Thai: Ma-muang
Filipino: Mangang kalabau, mangga25



Author
Annalisa Dass



References
1. Lim, T. K., & Khoo, K. C. (1985). Diseases and disorders of mango in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Tropical Press, p. 1. (Call no.: RSEA 634.44 LIM)
2. Morton, J. F. (1987). Mango. In Fruits of warm climates (pp. 221–239). Retrieved 2017, July 10 from Purdue Agriculture website: www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/mango_ars.html
3. Blancke, R. (2016). Tropical fruits and other edible plants of the world: An illustrated guide. Ithaca, New York: Comstock Publishing Associates, a division of Cornell University Press, p. 147. (Call no.: RSEA 634.6 BLA)
4. Blancke, R. (2016). Tropical fruits and other edible plants of the world: An illustrated guide. Ithaca, New York: Comstock Publishing Associates, a division of Cornell University Press, p. 147. (Call no.: RSEA 634.6 BLA)
5. Allen, B. M. (1967). Malayan fruits: An introduction to the cultivated species. Singapore: D. Moore, p. 3. (Call no.: RCLOS 634.09595 ALL)
6. Burkill, I. H. (2002). A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Malaysia: Ministry of Agriculture and Co-Operatives, p. 1424. (Call no.: RSING 634.909595 BUR)
7. Allen, B. M. (1967). Malayan fruits: An introduction to the cultivated species. Singapore: D. Moore, p. 3. (Call no.: RCLOS 634.09595 ALL)
8. Morton, J. F. (1987). Mango. In Fruits of warm climates (pp. 221–239). Retrieved 2017, July 10 from Purdue Agriculture website: www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/mango_ars.html
9. Morton, J. F. (1987). Mango. In Fruits of warm climates (pp. 221–239). Retrieved 2017, July 10 from Purdue Agriculture website: www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/mango_ars.html
10. Lim, T. K., & Khoo, K. C. (1985). Diseases and disorders of mango in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Tropical Press, p. 2. (Call no.: RSEA 634.44 LIM); Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-east Asia: Facts and folklore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 30. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
11. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-east Asia: Facts and folklore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 29. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
12. Blancke, R. (2016). Tropical fruits and other edible plants of the world: An illustrated guide. Ithaca, New York: Comstock Publishing Associates, a division of Cornell University Press, p. 147. (Call no.: RSEA 634.6 BLA)
13. Hutton, W. (2000). Tropical fruits of Malaysia & Singapore. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 634.6 HUT)
14. Blancke, R. (2016). Tropical fruits and other edible plants of the world: An illustrated guide. Ithaca, New York: Comstock Publishing Associates, a division of Cornell University Press, p. 147. (Call no.: RSEA 634.6 BLA)
15. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-east Asia: Facts and folklore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 31. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
16. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-east Asia: Facts and folklore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 31. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
17. Burkill, I. H. (2002). A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Malaysia: Ministry of Agriculture and Co-Operatives, p. 1428. (Call no.: RSING 634.909595 BUR)
18. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-east Asia: Facts and folklore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 17. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
19. Burkill, I. H. (2002). A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Malaysia: Ministry of Agriculture and Co-Operatives, p. 1428. (Call no.: RSING 634.909595 BUR)
20. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-east Asia: Facts and folklore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 30–31. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
21. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-east Asia: Facts and folklore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 30–31. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
22. Allen, B. M. (1967). Malayan fruits: An introduction to the cultivated species. Singapore: D. Moore, p. 4. (Call no.: RCLOS 634.09595 ALL)
23. Indian customs now on video. (1992, November 23). The Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Morton, J. F. (1987). Mango. In Fruits of warm climates (pp. 221–239). Retrieved 2017, July 10 from Purdue Agriculture website: www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/mango_ars.html
25. Hutton, W. (2000). Tropical fruits of Malaysia & Singapore. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 634.6 HUT)



The information in this article is valid as at 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Science and technology>>Agriculture>>Fruit crops
Tropical fruit--Southeast Asia
Plants
Cookery>>Types of meals>>Desserts
Mango--Southeast Asia
Nature>>Plants