Facts About the Mango Tree: Description, Types, and Uses - Owlcation - Education
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Facts About the Mango Tree: Description, Types, and Uses

A graduate in botany, Nithya Venkat enjoys writing about plants that help sustain life on planet Earth.

This article will provide a wealth of information about where mangoes came from, what they can look like, and how they can be used.

This article will provide a wealth of information about where mangoes came from, what they can look like, and how they can be used.

Mangoes are succulent, aromatic fruits of the evergreen tree Mangifera indica, belonging to the Anacardiaceae family. They are indigenous to eastern Asia, Myanmar (Burma), and India.

The word "mango" originated from the Malayalam word "manna" via the Dravidian-Tamil language word (mangai). Mango trees can be found growing in various tropical and sub-tropical regions and are the most widely cultivated tropical fruits throughout the world, with more than 500 cultivated varieties.

The mango tree was first discovered in the Indo-Burma region that extends from eastern India and southern China across Southeast Asia. In 1498, the Portuguese introduced the mango tree to the western world. It reached Brazil in 1700 and came to the United States in Florida in 1796. The earliest evidence of the mango in India comes from 60-million-year-old fossils found in Damalgiri in Meghalaya.

In this article, we will take a deeper look at the origins, uses, and different varieties of this wonderful tropical fruit, as well as share some tips and tricks for those looking to grow their own.

Description of the Mango Tree

Mango trees are evergreen trees with a thick trunk and wide canopy. They can grow to a height of 100 feet or more with a canopy extending to about 35 feet or more, depending upon the climate and richness of the soil.

The leaves are leathery, lanceolate, and found in simple-alternate arrangement on the branches. They are dark green and about 5–16 inches in length.

Flowers are borne in panicles 4–16 inches long and have several hundred small, white flowers that are 1/4-inch wide when fully open. Most of the flowers function as male flowers, but some are bisexual and form fruits after pollination. Pollination takes place through flies, wasps, bees, and even ants.

The mango is called the "King of Fruits" due to its creamy, rich taste and aromatic flavor. The fruit of the mango tree is a drupe that varies in size and shape with shades of red and yellow or dull green. The fruit can be oval, round, heart-shaped, kidney-shaped, or long and slender. It has a single flat, large seed with a surrounding fleshy layer.

Scientific Classification

  • Division: Magnoliophyta
  • Class: Magnoliopsida
  • Order: Sapindales
  • Family: Anacardiaceae
  • Genus: Mangifera
  • Species: Indica

Growing and Caring for Mango Trees

Mango trees bear fruit after about six years. Saplings take three to five years to bear fruit, and they take 100–150 days to mature. Fruits ripen from late summer through late winter, depending on the variety.

These trees grow well in areas that are exposed to full sun. They flourish in well-drained, fertile soil with a pH ranging from 5.5–7.5. Young mango trees require supplemental irrigation during dry periods.

Tommy Atkins Mango Tree

Tommy Atkins Mango Tree

Uses of the Mango Tree

In Ayurveda, the bark, leaves, flowers, and fruits are used to treat many ailments of the stomach and skin. The bark of the mango tree is an astringent that is used in diphtheria and rheumatism. The gum is used to heal cracked feet and scabies.

Of course, the flowers and fruits of the mango tree are used in cooking. The ripe mango fruit is eaten as it is and used to make juices, chutneys, desserts, and jams. The unripe fruit is used to make pickles.

Health Benefits of Mangoes

Mangoes contain vitamins A, B, C, E, and K and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and manganese. They also have small amounts of phosphorous, pantothenic acid, calcium, selenium, and iron.

One cup of mango (165 grams) provides nearly 70% of the RDI for vitamin C (a water-soluble vitamin that aids in boosting the immune system, helps the body absorb iron, and promotes growth and repair of cells).

Mangoes are also packed with polyphenols. These are plant compounds that function as antioxidants that protect cells against free radical damage. The mangiferin polyphenol present in mango is called a “super-antioxidant” due to its capacity to fight free radical damage.

The amylase enzyme present in mangoes is an enzyme that aids in digestion by easily breaking down large food molecules absorbed by the intestine. This enzyme also breaks down complex carbohydrates into sugars such as glucose and maltose.

Mangoes also contain plenty of water and dietary fiber that help to solve digestive problems. The bark of the mango tree also has tannins that are used for dyeing purposes.

Note: Below you will find some of the different mango varieties from across the globe.

Alphonso Mangoes

Alphonso Mangoes

Alfonso Mango

The Alfonso is a famous mango that is among the most exported types of mangoes from India. The flesh of this fruit is rich and saffron-colored with a fragrant orange-yellow skin. It is a fiberless variety with a sweet, creamy flesh that is delicious to eat.

Kent Mangoes

Kent Mangoes

Kent Mango

The Kent variety comes from Florida. It is large and has dark green skin with tinges of red. The flesh of this mango is tender, juicy, sweet, and less fibrous. It has a sweeter taste when compared to the Tommy Atkins variety. These Florida fruits are available in winter and summer months. Kent mangoes are also grown in Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru. The high juice content, tender pulp, and fewer fibers make them great for smoothies.

Haden Mangoes

Haden Mangoes

Haden Mango

The Haden is medium-sized mango originally from Florida. Most of the Haden mangoes are related to the Haden cultivar. It is aromatic with deep red skin with hints of yellow with less fiber content. The Haden variety ripens during spring and is good to eat on its own and for use in recipes.

Francis Mangoes

Francis Mangoes

Francis Mango

The Francis is a type of Haitian mango that is relatively large and has colors varying from yellow to orange to light green. The distinguishing feature of the Francis mango is the “S” shape and the fact that it is flatter when compared to the other varieties. Its flesh is deep yellow, sweet, and slightly fibrous. The Francis mango ripens during spring and summer and is excellent to eat on its own.

Ataulfo Mangoes

Ataulfo Mangoes

Ataulfo Mango

The Ataulfo is called the “honey mango” or the “champagne mango” due to its sweet flavor. It comes from Mexico and is grown in many countries, including Thailand, the Philippines, Ecuador, and Peru.

It is small and shaped like an oval, with yellow flesh and thick outer yellow skin with hints of orange and green. It has a tiny seed and more flesh. It is creamy, sweet, and fiberless and is excellent to use in salads, smoothies, or just eating as it is. The Ataulfo mango ripens from spring to the middle of summer. They are great to consume and use in chutneys, sorbets, pancakes, and muffins.

Palmer Mangoes

Palmer Mangoes

Palmer Mango

The Palmer is on the list of largest types of mangoes from Florida. It is a large fruit with a maximum weight of 0.9 kg. It is long, oblong, and has shades of green and red. The mango has few fibers and an orange-yellow smooth flesh. It has a non-stringy flesh and is an excellent addition to recipes. Nowadays, the Palmer variety is grown mostly in Brazil.

More Mango Varieties

The Irwin is one among the Florida varieties well known for its distinct apple/mango flavor. It has a deep-yellow flesh with no fibers and sweet pulp.

The Tommy Atkins is generally not considered the best in sweetness and flavor, but it Is known for its long shelf life and the ability to be transported with little or no bruising or degradation.

Some other popular mango varieties include: the Keitt from Florida, the Kensington Pride from Australia, the Chaunsa from India, and the Valencia Pride grown in Florida and California.

Dwarf Mangoes

Dwarf mangoes can be grown in a small backyard because of their compact nature. They grow to a height that ranges between 2–4 meters and can fit into small spaces. King Thai, Irwin, Palmer, and Sensation are some of the dwarf mango varieties.

Additionally, mango tree varieties such as: Julie, Fairchild, Dwarf Hawaiian, Carrie, Irwin, Nam Doc Mai, Pickering, Ice Cream, Mallika, Cogshall, Lancetilla, Alampur Baneshan, Grahmam, Rosigold, and Honey Kiss can be grown in containers.

Pick a container that isn’t larger than two to three times the size of the root ball, and use a potting mix that promotes drainage and prevents root rot. The plant will need consistent fertilizing and regular watering during the growing season.

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Nithya Venkat

Comments

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 25, 2020:

Thank you Devika for your visit and comments. You said it mango is the best fruit tree.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 23, 2020:

Many types of Mango I had no idea of. I enjoy Mango. You informed me about one of the best fruit tree. Photos and information are well applied.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 22, 2020:

Mangoes are my favorite too, and as you say, they are seasonal, and the excitement is more! Thank you for your appreciation Chitrangada.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 22, 2020:

HaremCinema, it is amazing that there are so many different varieties today. Thank you for your visit and comment.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 22, 2020:

Thank you Mary for your visit and comments. I hope you get to eat mangoes soon.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 22, 2020:

Vellur, thank you for posting this article on mangoes. I love mangoes and missed eating so much of it because I avoided going to Chinatown, where they sell several varieties. I now know the richness of this fruit.

HaremCinema on September 22, 2020:

I had no idea that there were different types of mangoes, never mind so many.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 22, 2020:

Excellent information about the king of fruits, mango. Mango has remained my favourite fruit, since childhood. Since it’s seasonal, so the excitement around this delicious fruit is slightly more.

You have provided some important botanical information about the mangoes, which is educational as well as interesting. I enjoyed reading the article and came to know many details, which I wasn’t aware of.

Thanks for sharing, this well written article.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 21, 2020:

I agree some traditional decoctions do help, thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 21, 2020:

There are so many mango varieties nowadays due to hybrid varieties being produced. Thank you for your visit and comments.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 21, 2020:

Thank you Linda, I am glad that you enjoyed reading this article.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 21, 2020:

Thank you Dora, I am happy you got to know more about mangoes through this article.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 20, 2020:

Although I have known mangoes all my life, there are some facts in your article that I didn't know: for example, types of mango and uses of the tree bark. Thank you.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 19, 2020:

I love the taste of mangoes. Thanks for sharing all of the information about the trees and their fruit, Nithya. You've included a lot of facts in your article. I enjoyed learning about new types of mangoes that I've never heard of before.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 19, 2020:

I never realized that there were so many different types of mangoes. Thanks for showing us how the trees and blossoms appear, plus information about the nutrients of eating mangoes.

Danny from India on September 19, 2020:

Yes you are right Nithya. We have to take medications but there are traditional medicine experts in India (Goa) , where they have medications to not let the diabetes spike., one among them being mango leaves method.

There are a lot of theories floating about curing diabetes by mango leaves. Even I was skeptical but there are reports of people whose diabetes has not spiked to that level where it used to be before.

There is no cure for diabetes but some traditional decoctions if taken for a certain duration keep the sugar levels in check.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 19, 2020:

Thank you for your visit and comments Danny. Mango leaves have medicinal benefits but cannot be substituted in the place of regular medication prescribed by a doctor.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 19, 2020:

They are the Tommy Atkins variety Bill. I am happy you enjoyed reading, thank you for your visit.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 19, 2020:

I love mangoes in a curry too, they taste great in chutneys. Thank you for your visit and comments Lorna.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 19, 2020:

Mangoes are delicious to eat as is or in a fruit salad. Thank you for your visit FlourishAnyway.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 19, 2020:

Thank you Ankita, I am glad you enjoyed this article.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 19, 2020:

Thank you Helna, mangoes are my favorite too.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 19, 2020:

There are so many mango varieities and each one of them taste great. Thank you for your visit Louise.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 19, 2020:

Thank you for your visit and comments Rosina. Mangoes are my favorite too.

Danny from India on September 19, 2020:

Nitya, you have touched on the topic very close to people's heart & stomach. It is not for any reason it is hailed the king of fruits. I have heard that the leaves of mangoes are a sure cure for diabetes.

The recipe goes like this:

Put around 15 raw leaves in a container filled with water(150ml) and bring it to half the quantity. Strain the mixture and keep it overnight.

Drink in the mornings for 3 months before breakfast and your insulin levels will rise.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 19, 2020:

That was a fun read since I knew nothing about mango trees. Thanks for the information, my friend. I like those purple ones the best, the look of them hanging in the tree...very cool!

Lorna Lamon on September 19, 2020:

This was such an interesting article Nithya and I love mango's particularly in a curry. I wasn't aware there were so many different varieties, or that they had so many health benefits. Unfortunately, we don't have the climate to grow them, however, I enjoyed reading about them. Thank you for sharing.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 19, 2020:

I don’t eat them often because they are expensive here, however I recently bought a few to include in a fruit salad. I enjoyed reading about the variety of types and uses.

Ankita B on September 19, 2020:

I enjoyed reading your article about mangoes and its different varieties. Greatly informative and well structured.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on September 18, 2020:

Sally, eating ripe mangoes as soon as you pluck from trees taste great and you must have had fun eating them with your siblings. Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

Helna on September 18, 2020:

I love mangoes. A lot of good Information. Jesus Loves you. May God Bless You. Have faith in Jesus. Blessings.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on September 18, 2020:

That was really interesting to read. I had no idea there were so many variety of mango's. I love this fruit.

Rosina S Khan on September 18, 2020:

Vellur, it was nice knowing about mango trees and mangoes all around the world. I particularly enjoyed reading the article because mango is my favorite fruit. Thank you for a great article.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on September 18, 2020:

One of my favorite fruits. I grew up in SA where we were fortunate enough to be be abe to pick our own mangoes. Some of the smaller types of mango were very fibrous but also very flavourful. I remember fondly the times my siblings and I would eat them in the bath so that the juice could flow unchecked, to prevent the juice from staining our clothing. My siblings and I liked to comb the left over fibers on the pips with our teeth:)