Common Name: Mango, King of Fruits.
Latin Name: Mangifera indica.
Description (what it looks like): An evergreen tree with a broad thick canopy, grown for its delicious fruit. A slow growing, large tropical tree, growing up to 24m high and 24m wide. It can be pruned and kept to a manageable height for a suburban backyard (ideally 4m tall and 3m wide). The leaves are arranged alternately and are up to 25 cm in length and 10 cm wide. The leaves are pinkish when new. Pyramid clusters of small yellow to pink flowers appear during spring. Fruit grows in clusters and varies from kidney shaped to flatter and more elongated shapes. Fruits are either golden or green when unripe. The fruit turns red or yellow when ripe and weighs in around 300-350 grams when ripe.
Uses (function): Edible fruit. Huge shade tree to protect building from summer sun. Falling leaves make great mulch or kindle for starting fires. They can be grown in pots but will need to be kept well trimmed. Makes a great home for many wild animals (i.e. possums and birds).
Nutritional value: As it is related to species such as Poison Ivy and Poisonwood, the fruit may cause dermatitis in some individuals when eaten. Reactions can vary. Some individuals can not eat it at all, while others can eat it if the fruit is peeled, whereas others have no reaction of any kind. Mangoes contain high levels of fiber, pectin, vitamin C and E. Mango peel placed on the skin can help clear clogged pores and eliminate pimples. Mango leaves soaked in boiling water help normalize insulin levels in the blood.
Growing details (propagation, seed etc): Easily grown from seed. Slow growing tree takes many years to get up full height. The unripe fruit is green and turns yellow as it ripens. Wildlife enjoy mangoes very much, so the fruit needs protection otherwise you may not end up with much of a harvest. Can be harvested when fruit is plump, but still slightly green and left to ripen on the kitchen bench.
Best time to grow: Plant seedling out in spring or summer.
Soil: Rich, fertile soil with good drainage.
Sun: Full sun.
Water: Keep moist.
How to eat it: Fruits are totally mouth watering - a delightful treat with natural yoghurt. Mangoes can be eaten when unripe or ripe. Unripe mangoes can be cooked in stews or curries. Ripe mangoes can be peeled and the flesh cut away from the seed and enjoyed on its own, in fruit salads, made into jams, chutneys, baked into cakes, juiced or dehydrated.
- The Incredible Edibles - A Tropical Superfoods Guide by Tonielle Christensen.
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