|Binomial name||Mangifera indica|
Other Common Names:
The other common names for the mango tree are manga, manja, mangot and manguier.
There are over 500 named varieties of the mango. The generic name is derived from 'mango', the Indian name for the fruit, and the Latin 'fero' ('I bear').The mango is known as the 'king of fruit' throughout the world. The name 'mango' is derived from the Tamil word 'mangkay' or 'man-gay'.
Mango is a tall evergreen tropical tree growing up 30 - 100 feet tall with a dense, heavy crown. The trunk is stout and the bark brown, smoothish, with many thin fissures; thick, becoming darker, rough and scaly or furrowed; branchlets rather stout, pale green and hairless.
The mango is native to southern Asia, especially Burma and eastern India. It spread early on to Malaya, eastern Asia and eastern Africa.
The mango tree grows best in full sun, good drainage and on different types of soil. Mango tolerates drought and salt tolerance. The mango thrives in both the subtropics and the tropics.
Land should be prepared by deep ploughing followed by harrowing and levelling with a gentle slope for good drainage.Once the seed of the mangoes are planted it germinates in two to four weeks and in a perod of three to six years it starts yielding fruits.The best favourabe time for grafting is April through September.In dry areas they can be planted with a space of 10 m x 10 m and in areas which has a heavy rainfall and rich soil they can be spaced apart by a distance of 12 m x 12 m.One year old healthy, straight growing grafts from reliable sources can be planted at the centre of pits along with the ball of the earth intact during rainy season in such a way that the roots are not expanded and the graft union is above the ground level.In the initial years of the growth irrigation and shade are an important factors and care should be taken to see that they grow straight.Factors like the one meter from the base on the main trunk should be kept free from branching and the main stem can be allowed thereafter spaced at 20-25 cm apart in such a way that they grow in different directions.
The flowers of the Mango tree bloom from May through April.
Pests and Diseases
Powdery mildew is one of the most serious diseases of mango affecting almost all the varieties where white superficial powdery fungal growth on leaves, stalks of panicles, flowers and young fruits may occur.Anothere major disease is die back whic causes drying of twigs and branches followed by complete defoliation.
The fruit, bark, latex, leaves and the seeds of the mango are used for its commercial and medicinal purposes.
• An infusion of the leaves or bark helps against hypertension and promotes a good blood circulation.
• Charred and pulverized leaves make a plaster to remove warts and also act as a styptic.
• Seeds are used to treat stubborn colds and coughs, obstinate diarrhoea and bleeding piles.
• The bark is astringent, homeostatic and antirheumatic.
• The bark contains mangiferine and is astringent and employed against rheumatism and diphtheria in India.
• The resinous gum from the trunk is applied on cracks in the skin of the feet and on scabies, and is believed helpful in cases of syphilis.
• Extracts of unripe fruits and of bark, stems and leaves have shown antibiotic activity.
• In some of the islands of the Caribbean, the leaf decoction is taken as a remedy for diarrhea, fever, chest complaints, diabetes, hypertension and other ills.
• A combined decoction of mango and other leaves is taken after childbirth.
• The fruit is also used to flavour fish and meat dishes.
• Young leaves are cooked as a vegetable.
• Seed kernels are a by-product of processing; they can be used as feed for cattle and poultry.
• It is an important honey plant, secreting large quantities of nectar.
• The wood makes excellent charcoal and firewood.
• The wood is used for many purposes, including indoor construction, meat-chopping blocks, furniture, carpentry, flooring, boxes, crates and boat building (canoes and dugouts).
• The fruit is eaten raw and is used most of the Indian cuisine.
The mango has strongly associated with the spiritual and cultural life of India. It has been found from the Indus Valley Civilization. It is associated with the Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Its leaves, fruits, wood and twigs were used in the Hindu rituals and ceremonies.
The Mango tree plays a sacred role in India; it is a symbol of love and some believe that the Mango tree can grant wishes. In the Hindu culture hanging fresh mango leaves outside the front door during Ponggol (Hindu New Year) and Deepavali is considered a blessing to the house. Mango leaves are used at weddings to ensure the couple bear plenty of children (though it is only the birth of the male child that is celebrated - again by hanging mango leaves outside the house).Hindus may also brush their teeth with mango twigs on holy days (be sure to rinse well and spit if you try this at home - toxic).
Many Southeast Asian kings and nobles had their own mango groves; with private cultivars being sources of great pride and social standing, hence began the custom of sending gifts of the choicest mangos. The Tahis like to munch mango buds, with Sanskrit poets believing they lend sweetness to the voice. Burning of mango wood leaves and debris is not advised - toxic fumes can cause serious irritation to eyes and lungs. Mango leaves are considered toxic and can kill cattle or other grazing livestock. In India, a certain shade of yellow dye was attained by feeding cattle small amounts of mango leaves and harvesting their urine. Of course as stated above, this is a contraindicated practice, since mango leaves are toxic and cattle are sacred. It has since been outlawed.