Mangifera indica (known as mango) is a flowering plant in the cashew family, Anacardiaceae. Mango is originally from the Indian subcontinent, where it is a widespread plant. Still, there are also other warm areas throughout the world where we grow mango successfully, for example, Brazil and Mexico.
And yes, mango is such a popular fruit that it is a national fruit of even three countries! These countries are India, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
|Botanical Name||Mangifera Indica|
|Plant Type||Perennial (An Evergreen Tree)|
|Size (Fully Grown)||115 To 131 Feet (About 35 To 40 Meters) High|
|Sun Exposure||Full Sun|
|Soil Type||Well-draining And Aerated Soil That Contains A Lot Of Organic Matter|
|Soil pH||From 5.5 To 7.5|
|U.S. Hardiness Zones||10b, And 11|
|Native Area||Southern Asia (Indian Subcontinent)|
How Many Mango Varieties Are There?
Mango is a widespread and famous fruit in the Indian subcontinent, where it is called “the king of fruits.” Due to the warm environmental conditions in the region, the orchards grow massively. This is also why Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh are the leading mango growers and exporters in South Asia.
In recent years, China has increased its mango production and export massively. Some regions in East Africa and Central America also produce mangos where the climatic conditions are warm. We grow many mango varieties (over 500!) throughout the world, but these might be the most familiar to you if you live in the U.S.
- Tommy Atkins
Origins And History Of The Mango Tree
Mangoes are native to the Indian region. And humans have cultivated the tree there for over 4000 years. India and Pakistan, where wild mango forests are still a thing, are the main cultivation areas for this fruit. Mangoes dominate almost all the tropical regions.
Examples of these areas include South and Southeast Asia, Australia, Madagascar, East Africa, Brazil, and Central America. It also grows in subtropical regions such as Florida, South Africa, Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt.
As far as the subtropics are concerned, this crop was probably introduced in the south of Africa in the sixteenth century B.C. It reached the Canary Islands and Madeira until the second half of the eighteenth century and the United States (Florida and Hawaii), Australia, and Israel until the nineteenth century.
Via the Portuguese, who brought it to Brazil in the eighteenth century, this fruit entered America. But it’s also worth noting that the plant was also introduced in western Africa.
The Spaniards contributed to the expansion of mangoes in America since small generating trees were transported from the Philippines to Mexico. Their introduction to Southern Spain could not have happened until the twentieth century. And the opening of the excellent “Haden” cultivar in Florida in 1910 was the beginning of this crop’s modern production.
Mangoes are among the most produced and imported fruits globally. And only a bit ahead of mangoes are plants like bananas, pineapples, and apples.
How To Identify A Mango Tree?
With a thick trunk and long, rounded canopy, the mango tree is erect and branched. The tree’s leaves are lustrous and dark green. With long petioles and a leathery feel, they’re either elliptical or lanceolate. With cream-pink petals on branched panicles, the tree produces thick clusters of flowers.
The tree’s leaves are bright and dark green. With long petioles and a leathery feel, they’re either elliptical or lanceolate. With cream-pink petals on branched panicles, the tree produces thick clusters of flowers.
The flowers in broad terminal panicles (loose clusters) are small, pinkish, and fragrant. Some have stamens as well as pistils, and others only have stamens.
In size and character, the fruit varies greatly. The fruit can be oval, circular, heart-shaped, kidney-shaped, or slender and long in shape. The smallest mangoes are no larger than plums, while others can weigh even 4 to 5 pounds (1.8 to 2.3 kg). With shades of red and yellow, some varieties are brightly colored, while others are dull green.
Best Growing Conditions for Mangoes
As we know, mang trees like to grow in warm climates. But are there some other growing condition needs you should be aware of? Let’s find out!
What Temperature Do Mangoes Need To Grow Well?
In regions with very high temperatures, mango trees can grow and produce well. Remember, though, that the tree’s vegetative growth ceases when the temperature exceeds 115°F (about 46°C), and this situation gets even worse if there is an extended dry period present.
To grow this tree well, it needs an average largest temperature of 80 to 97°F (about 27 and 36°C). This is a temperature range that ensures the best growth and development, and if you live in the USA, Florida is one of the places where mangoes are even grown commercially.
Soil And Sun
The soil pH is essential when it comes to growing plants. That’s why, when you are growing a mango tree, the soil pH needs to be somewhere between 5.5 and 7.5. So, before you plant a mango tree, determine the soil pH by using a soil testing kit. If the pH isn’t optimal, mix in some organic materials such as peat moss a year before planting to increase the soil’s acidity.
Mango needs bright but indirect sunlight. After that, the plant needs as much light as possible when it begins to grow. If you want a specific amount of sun mango tree wants per day, here me out. At least six hours is a must, and eight to ten hours is a preference. With this in mind, choose the growth spot carefully!
Water And Fertilizing Needs
Because mango trees like to grow in places that drain well, watering two or three times a week should be enough. But keep in mind that prolonged irrigation on sandy soils, for example, might result in water runoff. This means that the water goes deeper than the roots, which is a waste of water and leaches nutrients.
When the plant is still young, mango trees need higher nitrogen doses, but they need less after bearing fruit. I recommend using an industrial organic fertilizer with a high potassium percentage for fruit-bearing plants, such as 5-8-10. But if that doesn’t sound good to you, you can also add these nutrients to your compost or other organic materials you spread over the tree if it’s necessary, of course!
Is It Safe To Eat / Consume Mangoes?
We all know that eating mangoes has multiple health benefits. Still, here we have mentioned the safety details of eating or consuming mango if you have some common medical problem or develop a new life inside you. Do you have pets? You can also figure out if the plant is pet-friendly from the details below.
Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women
Don’t overeat mangoes during pregnancy, even though they are a healthy fruit. This is because mangoes contain plenty of vitamin A, which means you can get an overdose, although this is a rare condition. With this in mind, it’s good to have mango in your diet if you are pregnant, but remember to eat in moderation.
Mangoes are also beneficial if you are breastfeeding because the plant is high in vitamin K and antioxidants.
The good news is that babies can eat mangoes! And once your baby turns about six months old, you can introduce mango to your baby. This is an age when your baby can start to eat other foods than breast milk and infant formula.
People With Allergies
Some people may be allergic to mangoes, and the reactions can be mild, but even a severe anaphylactic reaction is possible. So, if you know or notice that you are allergic to mangoes, avoid contacting the plant.
Try also to stay away from other plants in the Anacardiaceae plant family, plants like poison oak and poison ivy. But remember that plants like cashew shells and pistachios can posses a similar risk.
People With Diabetes
Mangoes are rich in carbohydrates and have high-calorie content. But when you eat them in moderation, they don’t influence your blood sugar levels too much.
As a good side note, if you have diabetes and want to keep your blood sugar levels a healthy level, the amount of mangoes you should eat is about 1 to 2 per day.
Besides being high in vitamins A, B6, C, and E, mango is also high in fiber, making it a nutritious plant for humans and animals. It’s a good snack, so your pet is going to enjoy it. Even though the fruit is soft when it’s ripe, but you should always break it into small pieces and remove the pit to prevent the possibility of choking.
Featured image credit – © claudia Otte – stock.adobe.com