Scientific Name: Mangifera indica
Common Names: Mango, Manako
Duration: Perennial, Evergreen
Growth Habit: Tree
Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized food plant is native to tropical Asia. Mango has been cultivated in India for thousands of years. It was introduced to Hawaii in the early 1800s.
Flower Color: Dull greenish to tinged purplish brown
Flowering Season: Winter, Spring. It mainly flowers in the cooler months of December through April.
Height: Up to 130 feet (40 m) tall
Description: The numerous, small, drably colored flowers are in erect, fuzzy, red-stemmed panicles at the branch tips. The flowers are followed by dangling, 2 to 6 inch (5 to 15 cm) long, lopsided, upside down teardrop-shaped to egg-shaped, yellow, yellowish green, orange, red, pink, purplish, or multicolored fruits with juicy, yellow to orange flesh and a single, very large, flat, tan, fibrous seed. The leaves have wavy margins, parallel pinnate veins, a pale midrib, and are shiny, dark green above, lighter green below, hairless, leathery, alternate, and oblong-lanceolate in shape. The young leaves are a distinctive pinkish red to bronze color. The periods of new leaf growth are known as leaf flushing, and the Mango trees are very easy to spot and identify at these times. The young trees have a broad, rounded crown and a short trunk, while the older trees have a slender, oval crown and a tall trunk. The bark is brown with numerous small fissures.
Here in Hawaii, Mangos grow in lush valleys, along roadsides, and in former homesites at lower elevations. These trees can live for several hundred years and attain great heights.
Edible – The flesh of the ripe fruits is edible and delicious raw, cooked, dried, juiced, or pickled. This is the same familiar Mango species available in food markets, but commercial varieties have larger fruit and are typically smaller trees. Honey from Mango flowers is sweet and uniquely flavorful.
Note: Wild Mangos can be infected with Anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides), a fungus that causes spreading black decay spots on ripe fruit. Fruits with anthracnose are safe to eat and taste fine, but they don't last very long after ripening and quickly begin to rot. The common cultivated Mango variety "Rapoza" grown here in Hawaii is resistant to this disease.
Foul-smelling – The crushed leaves have a resinous, turpentine-like odor. If not eaten or cleaned up, the fallen fruit ferments and can create an overpowering reek of alcohol under the tree. Later, the fallen fruit develops a strong, repulsive odor of decay.
Poisonous – The sap, leaves, green unripe fruit, and the petiole and skin of the ripe fruit contain cross-reactive oleoresins that can cause contact dermatitis (rashes) in persons already highly sensitive to Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron spp.). Smoke from the burning plants can cause eye and respiratory irritation, so Mango wood should not be used as firewood.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Anacardiaceae – Sumac family
Genus: Mangifera L. – mango
Species: Mangifera indica L. – mango
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