Burmese (mingut); Dutch (manggis,manggistan); English
(mangostan,king's fruit,mangosteen); Filipino (mangis,mangostan);
French (mangoustanier,mangostanier,mangouste,mangostier); German
(Mangostanbaum); Indonesian (manggis); Lao (Sino-Tibetan) (mangkhut);
Malay (sementah,manggis,semetah,mesetor); Portuguese
(mangusta,mangosta,mangostao); Spanish (mangostan,palo de
cruz,mangostao); Thai (mangkhut); Vietnamese (caay mwang cujt,mang cut,kandis,cay mang cut)
The mangosteen is a small, evergreen tree, very slow-growing, erect witha pyramidal crown; attains 6-25 m in height, has dark-brown or nearlyblack, flaking bark, the inner bark containing yellow, gummy, bitter latex.Leaves opposite, short-stalked, ovate-oblong or elliptic, leathery and thick,dark-green, slightly glossy above, yellowish-green and dull beneath; 9-25cm long, 4.5-10 cm wide, with conspicuous, pale midrib. New leaves rosy.Flowers 4-5 cm wide, fleshy, may be male or hermaphrodite on the sametree. The former are in clusters of 3-9 at the branch tips; there are 4 sepals and 4 ovate, thick, fleshy petals, green with red spots on the outside, yellowish-red inside. Stamens many, fertile and sterile. The hermaphrodite are borne singly or in pairs at the tips of young branchlets; their petals may be yellowish-green edged with red or mostly red, and are
quickly shed.Fruit a subglobose berry, capped by the prominent calyx at the stem end, with 4-8 triangular, flat remnants of the stigma in a rosette at the apex,dark-purple to red-purple and smooth externally, 3.4-7.5 cm in diameter.The rind is 6-10 mm thick, red in cross-section, purplish-white on the inside; contains bitter yellow latex and a purple staining juice. There are 4-8 triangular segments of snow-white, juicy, soft flesh (actually the arils of the seeds).The fruit may be seedless or have 1-5 fully developed seeds. Seed ovoidoblong, somewhat flattened, 2.5 cm long and 1.6 cm wide that cling to the flesh. Flesh slightly acid, mild to distinctly acid in flavor, acclaimed to be exquisitely luscious and delicious.The generic name is after L. Garcin (1683-1751), a naturalist and a correspondent of Linnaeus.
At low altitudes in Sri Lanka, the fruit ripens from May to July; at higher elevations, in July and August or August and September. In India, there are 2 distinct fruiting seasons, one in the monsoon period (July-October) and another from April through June. Puerto Rican trees in full sun fruit in July and August; shaded trees, in November and December.
The mangosteen is ultra-tropical. It cannot tolerate temperatures below 4 deg C, nor above 38 deg C. It is limited in Malaysia to elevations below 450 m. In Madras it grows from 76-1 500 m above sea-level. It ordinarily requires high atmospheric humidity and an annual rainfall of at least 1 270 mm, and no long periods of drought. The tree needs good drainage and the water table ought to be about 1.8 m below ground level. The mangosteen must be sheltered from strong winds and salt spray, as well as saline soil or water.
Altitude: 76-1 500 m
Mean annual rainfall: 1 200 mm
Mean annual temperature: 4-38 deg C
Soil type: The tree is not adapted to limestone and does best in deep, rich organic soil, especially sandy loam or laterite,
which have good drainage. In India, the most productive specimens are on clay containing much coarse material and a
little silt. Sandy alluvial soils are unsuitable and sand low in humus contributes to low yields.