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10 November 2012 | last updated at 09:25PM

Fruit of the Maharajas

By Elaine Yim |

The mango tree is regarded as sacred and a symbol of love in Hindu culture, writes Elaine Yim

The fruit can be big, small, oval, round, apple or kidney-shaped.
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IN Hindu culture, the mango tree is regarded as sacred and a symbol of love. The mango has been cultivated in India since time immemorial. It was mentioned in ancient texts, praised by poets and highly regarded by Maharajas. It is regarded as the national fruit of India and considered the king of fruits.

Mango leaves are hung at entrances of homes to invite blessings and prosperity during festivals such as Deepavali and Ponggal, and auspicious occasions like weddings. They are also found in trays of offerings for use in prayers.

Mango trees are easy to grow and maintain. In Malaysia, there is no distinct fruiting season as flowering can occur all year round.

The name mango probably originated from the Tamil word mangai. The Malay name mangga or mempelam is from the Tamil word mangai and the Malayalam word amram respectively.

The scientific name Mangifera indica means a mango-bearing tree from India. There are hundreds of cultivars and more than 1,000 varieties of mango in the world. Popular ones include the Alphonso and Chaunsa from India/Pakistan, Tommy Atkins, Haden, Keitt and Van Dyke from the United States.

In Malaysia, we have Chok Anan, Nam Doc Mai, Mas Muda, Malgoa, Apple, MAHA 65, Golek and Harumanis and many more.

 Cultivars are differentiated by the size of the tree as well as weight, shape, texture, flavour and colour of the fruit.

The fruit can be big, small, oval, round, apple or kidney-shaped.


Native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the mango is a medium to large evergreen tree that can grow to about 30m tall and up to 10m wide. There are also dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties between 2.5m and 6m tall.

The tree has an umbrella-shaped crown, a stout trunk and strong roots that penetrate deep into the ground. The average life span of a mango tree is 20-25 years but some can live up to 100 years and still bear fruit.

The leaves are oval in shape. The shoots are orange-pink and change to a glossy red and green as they mature. Foliage is beautiful and dense.

The tiny white flowers are pollinated by the Asiatic honey bee (Apis cerana). The fruits take between three and six months to ripen and change from green to yellow, orange or red.

How to grow them

Propagation. You can buy a grafted mango tree from the nursery or grow one from seed. Growing from seed does not always guarantee a good quality fruit as it may not be identical to the parent tree.

North-Indian mango seeds are monoembryonic, containing only one embryo inside the seed husk while Southeast Asian mangoes are mostly polyembryonic i.e. they contain several embryos that are clones of the parent. It takes five to eight years for seedling trees to bear fruit. The trees can grow very huge and strong.

Grafted trees are more suited for the home garden. They are of a more manageable height and will bear good quality fruits in about three to four years’ time.

Before transplanting, place the new plant in the chosen location for a week or so to acclimatise it. Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and the same depth as the roots.

If the surrounding soil is too hard, loosen it so that the roots can penetrate easily. Add some compost to the bottom of the hole. Place the plant in the centre and refill until soil is level with the ground and water it.

Sunlight. Grow outdoors under the full sun.
Soil. The medium should be light and well-draining. It can adapt to a wide range of soils but loamy soil is most suitable.

Water. Regularly water when young and cut down when established. Do not overwater.

Fertilise. Wait for the transplanted tree to get established and grow stronger roots before applying a well-balanced fertiliser every three months during the first three years and every six months thereafter.

Harvesting. Yield will depend on weather changes, pest or diseases and mango variety. Mature trees can produce between 100 and several hundred fruits per fruiting season. Cover the developing fruits with paper bags.

Pruning. After harvest, prune back to a manageable size and height. Cut off branch tips to encourage flowering.

Pest and diseases. It may be attacked by branch borers and anthracnose disease. Weevils and fruit fly larvae may feed on the fruit.


• If you have more land, you can grow a few varieties of mango to enjoy multiple harvests at different times of the year. Plant them at least 6m apart.

• When harvesting, be careful of mango sap which may cause allergy and skin irritations.

I wish all my Hindu readers Happy Deepavali!

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While "Flavor" is very subjective, and each country that grows mangoes is very nationalistic, these are the mango varieties that are the most sought after around the world because of sweetnesss (Brix) and demand.

The Chaunsa has a Brix rating in the 22 degree level which is unheard of!
Carabao claims to be the sweetest mango in the world and was able to register this in the Guiness book of world records.
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Alphonso (mango)
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Alphonso (हापुस Haapoos in Marathi, હાફુસ in Gujarati, ಆಪೂಸ್ Aapoos in Kannada) is a mango cultivar that is considered by many[who?] to be one of the best in terms of sweetness, richness and flavor. 

It has considerable shelf life of a week after it is ripe making it exportable. 

It is also one of the most expensive kinds of mango and is grown mainly in Kokan region of western India.

 It is in season April through May and the fruit wei…

DHL (INDIA) makes gifting mangoes as easy as 1-2-3-....

Gifting mangoes is now easy with DHL
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 May 19, 2011, 14:04 IST

Come this summer pamper your loved ones abroad with a box of delicious mangoes through DHL’s Express Easy Mango service, a unique one-stop-shop and hassle-free service for gifting mangoes all across the world.

This unique service by DHL Express, the world’s leading express company, allows customers to send mangoes from India across the world to the following countries Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Hong Kong, Italy, Luxemburg, Maldives, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Qatar Singapore, Switzerland and Sweden.

Mangoes can be availed of free of cost by merely paying for the Air Express service. In addition, DHL Express assists customers with the necessary paperwork along with procurement of quality-grade Alphonso mangoes.

Commenting on the new service, Mr. R.S Subramanian, Country Head, DHL Express India said: “With the advent of the mango season, it is no wonder that DHL Express Ea…

GMO MANGOES : Philippines has been working on it since 2000 ...

The genetic engineering used in modifying mangoes is extremely similar to that of the papaya. 

This is because both mangoes and papayas posses the ACC (ACS2) gene. 

This gene is responsible for producing ethylene and the influence of ethylene on the fruit is that it controls the ripening and senescence after the fruit has been picked. 

The main purpose of this genetic modifying is to reduce the amount of ethylene produced and to lengthen the onset of this gas. 

Scientist extract this gene from ripe mango var 'Caraboa' and after they separate the gene it is then cloned and sequenced. They can then insert the isolated gene back in the genome and it will act as a disturbance to the enzyme calling for more ethylene to be produced. 

Alternately, an ACC deaminase gene is inserted and its function is to convert ACC into a different substance which results in less ethylene being produced. 

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