Where does your fruit come from?

Published 05 May 2017

Mangifera Indica also known as ‘mango’ in the English language said to be originated as alloploid. Based on ancient accounts ‘mango’ originated in India particularly in the eastern part of the country. There are also several distant relatives of ‘Mangifera’ – these are cashew (Anacardium occidentale), pistachio (Pistachio vera), marula (Sclerocay birrea), ambarella (Spondias cythera), yellow mombin (Spondias mombin), red mombin (Spondias purpurea), imbu (Spondias tuberose) and gandaria (Bouea gandaria). Genus Mangifera itself has 69 species and mainly limited to Asian region (cited in Samson, 1986). .

Mangoes cultivation and domestication in India probably begun some 4000 years ago. According to some historical accounts, around 4th century or 5th century BC some Buddhist monks carried the fruits during their voyage to Malaya and Southeast Asia. The fruit reached Middle East and Eastern African continent by 10th century AD, some Persian voyagers and traders became instrumental in bringing the fruit to these regions. In 15th century, Portuguese set foot in the Indian regions – from then on mangoes spread all throughout the South American regions, West Africa and the Philippines. During 1880, mangoes were introduced to Sta. Barbara, California where it was being grown in the foothills, which is said to be the best location to cultivate the fruit (cited in Popenoe, 1920).

It is believed that during its early stage of domestication, mango comes in small sizes and very fibrous. Portuguese and Mughals selected and cultivated mangos in many generations. Several years of domestication and development yielded varieties of fruits in larger sizes, fiberless and free from unpleasant taste. Mangoes adapts to environment which are frost-free climate (cited in Samson, 1986). It cannot survive in an environment with temperatures below 40º F, its flowers and small fruits cannot survive such kind of environment. Mango trees require a warm and dry weather in order to bear some fruits. It is also suitable to grow in container or greenhouse, dwarf cultivars are grown in this kind of environment. Selecting the finest cultivars is important – finest cultivars would mean rewarding harvest. Mango is commonly eaten in tropical countries and it is recognized as the ‘apple’ of the tropics. There are various by-products of mangoes – the famous dried mangoes of Cebu, Philippines; the fruit juice’s can also be extracted which is use to produce a by-product.

Mango comes into different races – one from the Philippines and Southeast Asia which can stand excess moisture, its polyembryonic fruit is elongated kidney shape and is pale green in color, and it can also resists mildew. Mango from the Philippines proved to be the hardiest mangoes in California. On the other hand, the mango from India bears a monoembryonic fruit which is subject to mildew and intolerant of humidity. Currently, mango has several varieties – few of them are: ‘carabao’ which is being grown in the Philippines, it has an elongated-kidney shaped, the seed is very large and it has a flesh stingy and juicy flavor. Another variety is called ‘cambodiana’, which is cultivated in Miami since 1910, it is of Philippine type, its shape varies from small to medium, elongated to ovate has a juicy and acid flavor. ‘Edward’ which is a hybrid of ‘haden’ and ‘carabao’ is grown in Miami. It is an arbitrate of Indian and Philippine type. The seed is quite small – the fruits size varies from medium to large. ‘Pirie’ which is an ancient India in origin grows every early midseason. Its size is quite small, almost round in shape with yellow and red blush. It has a rich flavor, taste juicy and fiberless (cited in Maxwell, 1984).

Unknown to many, mango also has medicinal usage – specifically in the Philippine, it is considered as herbal plants which can cure various diseases. It is known cure skin disease such as sarcoptes scabiei, a wound in varied forms which can cause severe itchiness. Mango is also used to cure arthritis – bark of mango tree is boiled – a piece of cloth soaked into the boiled mango tree bark will then be use as a bandage to the affected area (cited in Ladion, 1989).

Lastly, mango also has spiritual value – it is said to be an integral part of various religious ceremonies. In India, where mango is believe to have originated recurrently appears in Buddhist art. Apparently, mango seemed to be the favorite tree of the miraculous Buddha – He miraculously replicated himself in front of a mango tree, which in turn converted people into Buddhism. It is known today as ‘The Great Miracle of Sravasti’ – which is today on the border between Nepal and India. Mango is also evident in Sanskrit drama – where garden scene contain, trees and flowers. In addition, mango fruit epitomize love and fertility – the shades of its tree defies the summer heat (cited in Samson, 1986).


  • Maxwell, L.S. & Maxwell, B. (1984). Florida Fruit. USA: Maxwell Publishing House.
  • Ladion, H. G. (1989). Medicinal Plants. Philippines: Philippine Publishing House.
  • Popenoe, F.W. The Mango in Southern California. Journal of Economic Botany, 1, 153-200.
  • Samson, J.A. (1986). Tropical Fruits. USA: Longman Scientific and Technical.
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