The mangosteen, botanically Garcinia mangostana, is one of the most admired and loved tropical fruits and is known as the queen of fruits.
- Origin: Southeast Asia
- Common names: Mangosteen, Purple Mangosteen
- Scientific name: Garcinia mangostana
- Botanical family: Clusiaceae
- Edibility rating: 10/10
- Health Benefits: 8/10
- Maturity period: Seedlings: 8-10 years; Vegetative propagation: 5-6 years
- Fruiting season: June to August in India; varies in other regions
- Growing in containers: Not common
- Sunlight requirement: Full sun to light shade
- Growth habit type: Tree
- Average Height: 6-25 meters
- Average width (canopy span): 6-12 meters
- Growth rate: Slow
- Ease of growing: Easy
Mangosteen Fruit description and taste
The mangosteen has a thick, smooth, leathery, maroon skin surrounding aromatic, snow-white segments with juicy, soft flesh. The fruit has a round shape and a diameter of about 5 cm.
On average, the mangosteen has five or six triangular, flowery-scented wedges inside, which may be seedless or contain a few flat seeds. At their apex, mangosteen fruits have about four to eight flat, woody lobes arranged in a rosette. These correspond to the number of segments inside. The more lobes, the more wedges of fruit.
Mangosteen fruits offer a sweet and sour tropical flavour, a delicious mix of lychee, peach, strawberry and pineapple. Mangosteen fruits are usually eaten fresh or as juice.
Mangosteen can also be canned or frozen, but many say these methods detract from the flavour and delicate texture of this delicious tropical fruit.
To test the ripeness of the mangosteen, squeeze it. Ripe fruits are soft, yield to pressure and are relatively easy to peel.
Mangosteen can fight free radicals and strengthen the immune system.
It requires high humidity and rainfall and cannot tolerate temperatures below 5℃. Mature plants can withstand waterlogging for several days.
Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore grow mangosteen. They're also found in the Philippines, Sri Lanka and some parts of India.
The mangosteen is a slow growing tree. Mangosteen seedlings take about eight years to bear fruit. Seedlings in nursery bags benefit up to 3-4 years. It takes another 4-5 years for the plant to mature after it's planted in the ground.
Grafted mangosteen plants can bear fruit in 3 years and can be grown in a large container. However, grafted mangosteen plants have yet to prove themselves for successful commercial cultivation.
The fruiting season of the mangosteen is from the beginning of summer to the onset of winter.