MANGO: THE QUEEN OF
Published in The Nimbin Good
beginning of each year, the mango
season is always something to look forward too. This beautiful, luscious fruit
may be eaten raw, in green mango chutneys, in daiquiris, in
salads, with meats - in fact anyway you can think of. They are
among the most enjoyable
all tropical fruits.
The original home of the mango (Mangifera indica) was eastern
India, where it had been cultivated for at least 4,000 years. The
Buddha was given a grove of mangoes so he could meditate peacefully in their
shade, while the Mogul Emperor Akbar (1556-1605) was recorded as
having planted an orchard of 10,000 mango trees. Amongst Hindus, the
tree and its foliage played an important role in religious ceremonies
and folklore. From India, the mango has spread to all tropical
and subtropical regions worldwide and is
enjoyed everywhere for its delicious flavour.
mango is a tropical tree, which will live a long and productive life, ultimately growing up to 20m. Mangoes cope well with most soil types, so long as they are well
drained. If the soil is too rich and over fertilised, vegetative
growth will be stimulated at the expense of flowering and fruiting,
resulting in lower crop yields. Mature
mango trees are able to take light frost, but below about -3 oC
will damage mature trees and kill small ones.
ideal climate for mangoes is where there is a very pronounced
wet season - 4 months of rain followed by a long dry season. In the
Northern Rivers, rain can fall over much of the year, although spring
is usually dry. This causes problems with fungal diseases, especially
if it rains during the spring flowering season. Even so, once the rains have
stopped, you can spray the flowers and leaves with antifungal
preparations, which should allow a good cropping. It is very important to
select varieties that have at least some resistance to the fungal
diseases - black spot and anthracnose.
When propagating from seed, it is important to know that there are
two types of mangoes.
Monoembryonic - only produces one sexual seedling, which may vary
considerably from the parent plant in productivity and fruit
Polyembryonic - produces several embryos - one sexual and the others
asexual, being identical to the parent tree. All these seedlings may be
planted and nearly all will be same as the parent tree. Two of the better
known polyembryonic varieties are Nam Doc Mai and Bowen, both of which can be propagated from
seed and usually come up true to type.
For monoembryonic varieties, grafted plants are available, although they can be quite expensive to buy -
over $20 -
but they are well worth the extra cost. Grafted plants may start producing flowers within the first year of
planting. However, you must remove all the flowers for the first three years, as
drain the small plant of vital energy reserves. Daleys Fruit Tree
Catalogue (www.daleysfruit.com.au) gives a good listing of the many
mango varieties they offer for sale. Select an early, a mid and a late variety
and you should have fruit for three wonderful months. Consider
planting those varieties which have good resistance to fungal
diseases, as this will save you much spraying.
Season. Glenn is a sweet, strong, juicy flavoured mango, with moderate resistance to Anthracnose and very good resistance to Bacterial Black Spot.
Mid Season. The Bowen variety
(Kensington Pride) is the Australian standard variety, with excellent
flavour, very juicy and aromatic. It is an excellent
cropper, but it may yield irregularly in wet cold areas. Bowen has
susceptibility to Anthracnose and Black Spot.
Late Season. Valencia Pride is believed by some to set the taste standard. The highly coloured fruit is large and beautiful. It is a vigorous and upright tree and
best time to pick the fruit is when the green colour is fading, but
the flesh is still firm. However, that assumes that you do not have to
compete with the wildlife. Once the bats start eating the fruit, I
strip our trees of fruit to get in early. Fortunately, mango fruit can
be picked green and it will still ripen well. Any surplus can be
frozen for re use several months later, although it will not taste as
good as the fresh fruit. Alternatively you may choose varieties
that produce fruit that may be eaten green (eg: Nam Doc Mai is the only green mango
variety on offer from Daleys). The green mangoes are generally sweet
without a starchy flavour. They can be grated in salads, pickled,
soaked in sugar syrup, dried or salted. Mangoes are very versatile
in the kitchen and may be used in a wide range of recipes.
weed potential of mangoes in our area appears very limited. Even so, Daleys did report
that there was concern about mangoes becoming a weed in
Plant several mango trees
in your garden or house orchard and in a few years you can start
enjoying your own delicious fruit directly off your own trees.