Mangifera indica, commonly known as mango, is a species of flowering plant in the family Anacardiaceae. It is a large fruit tree, capable of growing to a height of 30 metres (100 feet). There are two distinct genetic populations in modern mangoes – the "Indian type" and the "Southeast Asian type".
It is a large green tree, valued mainly for its fruits, both green and ripe. Approximately 500 varieties have been reported in India. It can grow up to 15–30 metres (50–100 feet) tall with a similar crown width and a trunk circumference of more than 3.7 m (12 ft). The leaves are simple, shiny and dark green.
Red-yellow flowers appear at the end of winter, and also at the beginning of spring. Both male and female flowers are borne on same tree. Climatic conditions have a significant influence on the time of flowering. In South Asia, flowering starts in December in the south, in January in Bihar and Bengal, in February in eastern Uttar Pradesh, and in February–March in northern India. The duration of flowering is 20–25 days for the Dasheri variety, while panicle emergence occurs in early December and flower opening is completed by February. The Neelum variety produces two crops a year in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, but it flowers only once in North Indian conditions.
The mango is an irregular, egg-shaped fruit which is a fleshy drupe. Mangos are typically 8–12 centimetres (3–5 inches) long and greenish yellow in color. The fruits can be round, oval, heart, or kidney shaped. Mango fruits are green when they are unripe. The interior flesh is bright orange and soft with a large, flat pit in the middle. Mangos are mature in April and May. Raw mangos can be used in the making of pickles and chutneys. Ripe mangos are a popular fruit throughout the world. The skin and pulp account for 85% of the mango's weight, and the remaining 15% comes from the stone (seed).
Mangiferin (a pharmacologically active hydroxylated xanthone C-glycoside) is extracted from mango at high concentrations from the young leaves (172 g/kg), bark (107 g/kg), and from old leaves (94 g/kg). Allergenic urushiols are present in the fruit peel.
Mangoes are believed to have originated from the region between northwestern Myanmar, Bangladesh, and northeastern India. M. indica were domesticated separately in South Asia and Southeast Asia over centuries, resulting in two distinct genetic populations in modern mangoes – the "Indian type" and the "Southeast Asian type". The species was first described by Linnaeus in 1753.
Distribution and habitat
Since their domestication in southeastern Asia, mangoes have been introduced to other warm regions of the world. The tree grows best in well-drained sandy loam; it does not grow well in heavy wet soils. The optimal pH of the soil should be between 5.2 and 7.5.
Urushiols in the fruit peel can trigger contact dermatitis in sensitised individuals. This reaction is more likely to occur in people who have been exposed to other plants from the family Anacardiaceae, such as poison oak and poison ivy, which are widespread in the United States.
The wood is known to produce phenolic substances that can cause contact dermatitis.
The tree is more known for its fruit rather than for its timber. However, mango trees can be converted to lumber once their fruit-bearing lifespan has finished. The wood is susceptible to damage from fungi and insects. The wood is used for musical instruments such as ukuleles, plywood and low-cost furniture.
The mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, and is the national tree of Bangladesh.