The Mango Tree (revised)

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The Persians carried it to East Africa around the tenth century. Mango was commonly grown in India before the earliest visits of the Portuguese who apparently introduced it to West Africa early in the sixteenth century and later to Brazil in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. After becoming established in Brazil, the mango was carried to the West Indies, where it was first planted in Barbados about and later in the Dominican Republic.

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It reached Jamaica about and, by the eighteenth century it was also found growing on the mainland of Central America. By it is also recorded in Mexico, in the Yucatan Peninsula. Mango seeds were imported into Miami from the West Indies in In Puerto Rico, mangos have been grown since about , but in the University of Puerto Rico began a program of mango improvement with the introduction and testing of over cultivars.

In Hawaii, mango was first recorded in an introduction of several small plants from Manila in Morton, It is now found in all the tropical and subtropical regions such as the Canary Islands, Madeira, along the shores of the Mediterranean, Australia, the Persian Gulf region, and in southern Brazil and the southern USA. It also thrives in open and disturbed areas along roadsides, pastures, and secondary wet and dry forests Orwa et al.

It is very common in abandoned gardens, plantations and old farms Bally, Bioversity International promotes and coordinates germplasm collections in all important mango-growing countries. Flowers are visited and possibly pollinated by flies, ants, beetles and bats, but bees appear to be the most effective pollinators. Bisexual flowers are predominantly outcrossing and exhibit protogynousdychogamy, but trees are generally self-compatible and the occurrence of geitonogamy is common.

Normally only the buds at the compressed shoot tip partake in extension growth and flowering. Vigour finds expression in shoots of larger size and in the leafing out of more often up to five lateral buds at the shoot tip. With the onset of bearing, the number of flushes is reduced to two or three, including the dry-season flush which coincides with flowering.

Studies of several mango cultivars have revealed biennial flowering at the twig level, which means that shoots emerging from twigs which have flowered are unlikely to flower in their turn, even where flowering did not result in fruiting. Also, shoots of the last flush before flowering are less likely to break into bloom than twigs of previous flushes which have gone through much longer quiescent periods.

In many Indian cultivars these tendencies are so strong that prolific bloom or late flushing necessarily lead to failure of the following bloom, thus leading to biennial bearing.


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In India, the general flowering season is between January and March. In south-east Asia, flowering starts at the beginning of the rainy season and fruits ripen at the end of the rainy season Orwa et al. Studies of several mango cultivars have shown biennial flowering but most varieties flower only once a year.

The inflorescence can reach full bloom from the time of flower initiation within days and the fruits ripen after months. One in perfect flowers can be expected to yield a fruit Troup, ; Kostermans and Bompard, The mango thrives both in the subtropics and the tropics. In the subtropics the cold months ensure excellent floral induction, but late frosts are a major risk: tender parts of the tree are killed by frost. In the tropics the mango grows almost anywhere up to m elevation, but for fruit production a prominent dry season lasting more than 3 months is necessary.

A flowering flush is produced during the dry season, but contrary to the subtropics, flowering is erratic and a yield-limiting factor. Rainfall ranges from to mm per year in tropical centres of production.

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Mangoes grow in a wide range of soils and moisture regimes. The trees are drought-tolerant, and on the other hand do not seem to suffer from occasional flooding. A deep rooting depth 2. A high pH is less detrimental than acid soils, the preferred range being 5. Some 25 fungus diseases affect mango, the most serious and widespread disease being anthracnose Glomerella cingulata. Anthracnose infects shoots, flowers and fruits; it is particularly ruinous if the trees flower under wet conditions.

The dark-brown spots can develop at any time. Other fungus diseases are powdery mildew Oidium mangifera e which infects flowers and fruitlets as well as the leaves , and leaf spots and various storage rots of the fruit. Malformation of inflorescences, caused by Fusarium sacchari in conjunction with mites, affects the trees in the subtropics but apparently does not thrive in the warmer tropical climates.

There are also several bacterial diseases.

The Mango (Cabi)

Mango hoppers Amritodus atkinsoni and Idioscopus spp. A host of other insects can do serious damage, such as mango mealybug Drosicha mangiferae , Perissopneumon ferox , mango gall midges Erosomyia indica , Dasineura amaramanjarae, Procystiphora mangiferae, Amradiplosis allahabadensis, Procontarinia , mango shoot gall psylla Apsylla cistellata, Pauropsylla brevicornis , fruit flies Bactrocera, Ceratitis capitata, Anastrepha , fruit-sucking moths Eudocima, Achaea , fruit borers, thrips, ants, termites Isoptera , grey weevil Myllocerus , flea weevil Rhynchaenus mangiferae , leaf-cutting weevil Deporaus Eugnamptus marginatus , aphids, stone weevil Sternochetus , leaf-eating caterpillars, shoot borers, leaf miners Acrocercops , bark-eating caterpillars Indarbela quadrinotata , stem borers Batocera , coccids and mango leaf webbers Orthaga, Lamida carbonifera.

This species is mainly moved and dispersed by humans through the commercialization and consumption of its fruits. In addition to humans, fruits are also eaten and dispersed by large variety of animals including monkeys, bats, elephants, hornbills, raccoons and porcupines Orwa et al.


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  5. Mango is cultivated for the fruit which can be eaten in three distinct ways, depending largely on the cultivar: unripe mature green, very popular in Thailand and the Philippines ; ripe the common way to enjoy mango throughout the world ; and processed at various stages of maturity, in the form of pickles or chutneys, dried slices, canned slices in syrup, juice, puree or paste, etc. The green fruit is also used to flavour fish and meat dishes in the same way as tamarind and other sour fruits. Seed kernels form a by-product of processing; they can be used as feed for cattle and poultry.

    In India the kernels are also important as a famine-food, but the astringency has to be removed by boiling, roasting or soaking the kernels for a long time. Young leaves are eaten fresh or cooked as a vegetable.

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    Dried flowers or bark and decoctions of the kernels serve as astringents in traditional medicine. Extracts of unripe fruit and of bark, stems and leaves have shown antibiotic activity. The wood is fairly strong, hard and easy to work but it must be treated with preservatives when used in construction and outdoor applications. It makes excellent charcoal and is also used to culture mushrooms. Mangoes are an important component of the diet in many less developed countries in the subtropics and tropics.

    In regions of the world that have experienced low living standards and serious nutritional deficiencies their attractiveness and flavour have also enhanced the quality of life. Surplus production has increasingly been processed and fruit of certain cultivars is destined for export as fresh fruit. No part of the fruit is wasted. Mango wood is a low quality timber, and the bark of the tree is an important source of tannins for curing leather. The fruit also has some medicinal characteristics Garrido and Valdes, Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies.

    Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, pp. Anderson DJ et al. Studies on structure in plant communities. The structure of some dwarf-heath and Birch-copse communities in Skjaldfannardalur, north-west Iceland. Anderson DL et al. Insect pollination of Mango in Northern Australia. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, Arogba SS, Physical , chemical and functional properties of Nigerian Mango Mangifera indica kernel and its processed flour.

    Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 73 3 Bailey IH, The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture Vol. London, UK: Macmillan Co.

    Bally ISE, Mangifera indica mango. Species Profiles for Pacific islands Agroforestry [ed. Windhoek, : Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Bonad ND, Origin and distribution of Mango. Philippine Geography Journal, 26 1 Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. Barbados: University of the West Indies. Burgess PF, Timbers of Sabah. Sabah Forest Record No. Sabah, Sandakan: Forest Department.

    Burkill IH, Champion HG, Trevor G, Manual of Indian silviculture: Pt. I: General silviculture, and Pt. II: Silvicultural systems.

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