In the Arboretum Today
By Alfredo Chiri

MANGOSTEEN - Garcinia mangostana - Guttiferae

Donated by: CRFG/Todd Kennedy and planted in 1998 (r.f.-04)

Common names: Manggis, Mangosteen


Mangosteen is indigenous to Malaysia, and it is found growing in Thailand, Burma and the Philippines. Mangosteen is hailed as the "Queen of Fruits." The tree appears to be adapted best to strictly tropical areas and requires abundant moisture. It grows well in a wide range of soils, provided it is well drained. The most common species are Purple Mango-steen and Yellow Mangosteen. 

Mangosteen tree is a small broad-leafed evergreen. It has a short upright or pyramidal form, reaching a spread of 20 to 30 feet in diameter. The central trunk is upright and branched symmetrically. The leaves are elliptical in form and vary in size from 6 to 10 inches in length and 3 to 6 inches in width. Leaves are thick and leathery.

Flowers are greenish-white and are borne single or in pairs, usually at the end of the branches.

The fruit has a smooth skin and a thick rind, which encloses as many as 5 to 7 fleshy segments, in which the seeds are imbedded. The fruit is in the form of a small tangerine, flattened a little above and below, and changes from
clear green to reddish-purple when completely ripe. The flavor is slightly acidic but sweet. The pulp, the only part consumed, has excellent flavor, pro-claimed by many as the best among tropical fruits. The outer skin is up to 3/8 of an inch thick and rich in tannic acid, which makes the fruit insect resistant. 

Production normally begins in the eighth year after planting, producing a high yield, and the maximum production is reached in the 24th year of planting. It is a seasonal fruit, producing normally from June to August here in the USA. In the Asians countries it sometime produces two crops, one in the autumn, and one in early summer.

The fruit can be harvested between 13 to 14 weeks after fruit set. The ripening of the Mangosteen is divided into 6 color stages: (1) Green with trace of red, (2) Yellowish-red with trace of red, (3) Fully red, (4) Reddish-brown, (5) Purplish-red, (6) Deep purple. Fruit should be harvested during color stages (3) and (4). For immediate consumption, color stage (5). 

Mangosteen grows well on a wide range of soils, provided it is well drained. It prefers clay or sandy loam soil with organic matter content.

Traditionally seeds have propagated Mangosteen, but recently budgrafting has been successful in propagating the plants. There are no identified cultivar clones since the seeds are apomictic. Seeds can be boiled or roasted and
eaten. 

The fruit is consumed fresh and processed for making jam and juice.