Garcinia Mangostana Known as Mangosteen

MANGOSTEEN Garcinia Mangostana L., family Clusiaceae (Guttiferae)

Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana L.) is known as the “Queen of Fruits”. Its origin is in Southeast Asia, probably the Malay Archipelago. It can now be found in Northern Australia, Brazil, Burma, Central America, Hawaii, Southern India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Siri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and other tropical countries.

Mangosteen is one of the most widely recognized tropical fruits and has universal appeal because of its quality in color, shape and flavor. Demand often exceeds supply. The fruit is 2-3 in ( c m) in diameter. A thick reddish-purple rind covers the aril or pulp which is segmented like that of an orange. The white, moist, soft and juicy flesh is sweet and aromatic, has high sugar content, but is low in vitamins and minerals. It is usually eaten fresh, but can be stored successfully for short periods of time. It is also canned, frozen, or made into juice, preserves, and syrup. Mangosteen is also used as a pharmaceutical (Kanchanapoom and Kanchanapoom, 1998; Martin, 1980; Nakasone and Paull, 1998).

No other tropical fruit has been so highly praised as the Mangosteen. The combination of beautiful coloring and interesting shape with a delicate, enticing flavor ranks it above all other fruit of the Asiatic tropics. The mangosteen has none of the insipid flavor ascribed to many tropical fruits, and it is almost universally liked by the individuals tasting it for the first time.

Purported by many whom have had the luxury of tasting it as being the best tasting fruit in the world. While possibly a bit extreme, the mangosteen is instantly liked by many who eat it. The soft flesh, resembling a bright white tangerine, has a deep grape-strawberry like flavor that melts in the mouth. Unfortunately, its high popularity, extreme growing conditions, and restrictions on importation to the United States, find the fresh fruit nonexistent outside the tropics.

Origin and Distribution of Mangosteen (Garcinia Mangostana)

The place of origin of the mangosteen is unknown but is believed to be the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas; still, there are wild trees in the forests of Kemaman, Malaya. Corner suggests that the tree may have been first domesticated in Thailand, or Burma. It is much cultivated in Thailand–where there were 9,700 acres (4,000 ha) in 1965–also in Kampuchea, southern Vietnam and Burma, throughout Malaya and Singapore. The tree was planted in Ceylon about 1800 and in India in 1881. There it succeeds in 4 limited areas–the Nilgiri Hills, the Tinnevelly district of southern Madras, the Kanya-kumani district at the southernmost tip of the Madras peninsula, and in Kerala State in southwestern India. The tree is fairly common only in the provinces of Mindanao and Sulu (or Jolo) in the Philippines. It is rare in Queensland, where it has been tried many times since 1854, and poorly represented in tropical Africa (Zanzibar, Ghana, Gabon and Liberia). There were fruiting trees in greenhouses in England in 1855. The mangosteen was introduced into Trinidad from the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, England, between 1850 and 1860 and the first fruit was borne in 1875. It reached the Panama Canal Zone and Puerto Rico in 1903 but there are only a few trees in these areas, in Jamaica, Dominica and Cuba, and some scattered around other parts of the West Indies. The United States Department of Agriculture received seeds from Java in 1906 (S.P.I. #17146). A large test block of productive trees has been maintained at the Lancetilla Experimental Station at Tela, Honduras, for many years. Quite a few trees distributed by the United Fruit Company long ago have done well on the Atlantic coast of Guatemala. In 1924, Dr. Wilson Popenoe saw the mangosteen growing at one site in Ecuador. In 1939, 15,000 seeds were distributed by the Canal Zone Experiment Gardens to many areas of tropical America. It is probable that only a relatively few seedlings survived. It is known that many die during the first year. Dr. Victor Patiño has observed flourishing mangosteen trees at the site of an old mining settlement in Mariquita, Colombia, in the Magdalena Valley and the fruits are sold on local markets. Dierberger Agricola Ltda., of Sao Paulo, included the mangosteen in their nursery catalog in 1949.

Despite early trials in Hawaii, the tree has not become well acclimatized and is still rare in those islands. Neither has it been successful in California. It encounters very unfavorable soil and climate in Florida. Some plants have been grown for a time in containers in greenhouses. One tree in a much protected coastal location and special soil lived to produce a single fruit and then succumbed to winter cold.

The rind of partially ripe fruits yields a polyhydroxy-xanthone derivative termed mangostin, also ß-mangostin. That of fully ripe fruits contains the xanthones, gartanin, 8-disoxygartanin, and normangostin. A derivative of mangostin, mangostin-e, 6-di-O-glucoside

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