For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

How do mangoes grow

For many people who live in colder climates, it is sometimes interesting to see where tropical fruits come from and how they grow.

The mango belongs to the family Anacardiaceae in the genus Mangifera. The family consists of 41 species of which the mango (Mangifera indica) is the most important. Compared to citrus and bananas, mangoes are the third most important crop in the tropics.

The mango tree is an evergreen medium to large (9 – 35 m) tree. The tree has a long tap-root up to 6 m in depth and dense mass of feeding roots just beneath the soil surface. Mango leaves are simple leaves that are entire, leathery, short, pointed and oblong to lanceolate. Crushed leaves of many cultivars emit a distinct turpentine odour. New leaves are formed in periodic flushes about two to three times a year. In mature trees the first flush during the dry season is usually transformed into a flower flush.

The mango is tolerant to a wide range of climatic conditions. It is successfully cultivated, under conditions which vary from very hot, very humid to cool and dry, to very hot and arid.
Mangoes are an excellent source of vitamins C and A, both important antioxidant nutrients. Vitamin C promotes healthy immune function and collagen formation. Vitamin A is important for vision and bone growth.
They are a good source of dietary fiber. Diets low in fat and high in fiber-containing grain products, fruits and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of some types of cancer.

They contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals.