Mango Tree (Mangifera Indica)
|Scientific name:||Mangifera Indica|
|Origin:||Mangoes are thought to have originated in India.|
|Climate:||Mangoes are grown in nearly any warm, tropical or subtropical area around the world. They are sensitive to frost. Temperatures below zero Celsius will kill a mango tree.|
|Mythology:||Legend has it that the mango fruit was a gift from Lord Shiva as thanks to a couple who shared alms with him when he was disguised as a wandering mendicant.|
|Fun fact:||Australia produces around 46,000 tons of mangoes each year, with Kensingon Pride being the type used by most growers.|
Sometimes called the King of Fruits, Mango Trees seem to have originated in India. Legend has it that the fruit was a gift from Lord Shiva as thanks to a couple who shared alms with him when he was disguised as a wandering mendicant. There are hundreds of different mango cultivars. Australia produces around 46,000 tons of mangos each year, with Kensingon Pride being the type used by most growers.
Mangos or mango trees are grown in nearly any warm, tropical or subtropical area around the world. They are sensitive to frost. Temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1.111 Celsius) will kill a mango tree. In Australia, they happily grow in tropical and subtropical regions of the Northern Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia. They can be cultivated in areas that are dry but warm, although they will require irrigation under such circumstances.
In hospitable areas, Mango trees require little or no care. They grow into magnificent trees with glossy, broad leaves, delicately scented blooms, and that incredibly delicious fruit. They are susceptible to a few diseases and pests. The fruits are attractive to a wide variety of birds and animals, so you might need to put a protective sleeve over developing mangos to insure that you get some for picking. The trees respond well to judicious pruning, which enables growers to keep the trees at an accessible height.
Even picked a little green, mangos are not particularly shelf stable. Therefore, in the days before refrigerated transportation, the fruits were often dried or pickled to enable shipping. Dried or pickled mangos are delicious, even though they cannot compare to the fresh fruit.
Mangos appear in a wide variety of literature, ranging from non-fiction gardening works to science fiction and fantasy. The fruit can be eaten at nearly any stage of its life from green to fully ripened. It is featured in drinks, chutneys, pickles, deserts and is the star of any fruit salad.
Mango Tree: Planting
Mango trees can be grown from the flat, oblong pits when removed from fruits that are fully ripened. They like a rich soil, preferably a good compost or well-rotted manure base. While the seeds can be planted at any time, autumn is the best time, as this mimics the way the seeds would be “planted” naturally at the end of the fruiting season.
The process is easy. Dig a hole and place the seed into it, and wait for it to come up. Alternatively, the trees can be container grown in a nursery setting and transplanted into the garden. Again, fall is the best time for this.
Mango Tree: Ongoing Care and Maintenance
Mango trees are relatively low maintenance in the right climate, which is anywhere that is warm and receives a good amount of rainfall. Young trees might need extra watering, but once a mango tree is well established, it is extremely self-sufficient.
They respond well to pruning, but do not necessarily need it. Pruning is largely done to remove dead limbs or twigs or to keep the tree at a manageable height for harvesting fruit. If you do prune, that is an excellent time to think about grafting, especially if you have a strain that you wish to preserve. Mango seed will not always breed true, so grafting is the best way to preserve characteristics.
Mango trees are susceptible to Anthracnose, a fungal disease that will cause spotting on the fruit and leaves. A good prevention is to avoid wetting the leaves or fruit during irrigation.
All creatures from fruit flies to birds and fruit loving mammals enjoy a good mango snack. You can help keep pests off the fruits by placing a loose, mesh bag around the growing fruit.
Mango Tree: Propagation
As mentioned, mango trees can be grown from seed obtained from tree-ripened fruit. But a better way to preserve desirable strains is to graft limbs or twigs from the desired type onto a stable rootstock. This can easily be done in conjunction with harvesting the autumn crop, or during pruning.
Mango Tree: Taxonomy and Naming
Family: Anacardiaceae (cashew)
Species: mangifera indica