This article is about the fruit. For other meanings of the word Mango, see Mango (disambiguation).

The mango is a fleshy stone fruit belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is native to South Asia, from where it has been distributed worldwide to become one of the most cultivated fruits in the tropics. While other Mangifera species (e.g. horse mango, M. foetida) are also grown on a more localized basis, Mangifera indica – the 'common mango' or 'Indian mango' – is the only mango tree commonly cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions. It is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines, and the state tree of Pakistan.

In several cultures, its fruit and leaves are ritually used as floral decorations at weddings, public celebrations and religious ceremonies.


The English word "mango" (plural "mangoes" or "mangos") originated from the Tamil word māṅgai or mankay or Malayalam māṅga from the Dravidian root word for the same via Portuguese (also manga).[1][2][3][4] The word's first recorded attestation in a European language was a text by Ludovico di Varthema in Italian in 1510, as manga; the first recorded occurrences in languages such as French and post-classical Latin appear to be translations from this Italian text. The origin of the "-o" ending in English is unclear.[5]

When mangoes were first imported to the American colonies in the 17th century, they had to be pickled due to lack of refrigeration. Other fruits were also pickled and came to be called "mangoes", especially bell peppers, and by the 18th century, the word "mango" became a verb meaning "to pickle".[6]


Mango trees (Mangifera indica L.) grow up to 35–40 m (115–131 ft) tall, with a crown radius of 10 m (33 ft). The trees are long-lived, as some specimens still fruit after 300 years. In deep soil, the taproot descends to a depth of 6 m (20 ft), with profuse, wide-spreading feeder roots; the tree also sends down many anchor roots, which penetrate several feet of soil. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, 15–35 cm (5.9–13.8 in) long and 6–16 cm (2.4–6.3 in) broad; when the leaves are young they are orange-pink, rapidly changing to a dark, glossy red, then dark green as they mature. The flowers are produced in terminal panicles 10–40 cm (3.9–15.7 in) long; each flower is small and white with five petals 5–10 mm (0.20–0.39 in) long, with a mild, sweet odor suggestive of lily of the valley. The fruit takes three to six months to ripen.

The ripe fruit varies in size and color. Cultivars are variously yellow, orange, red or green, and carry a single flat, oblong pit that can be fibrous or hairy on the surface, and which does not separate easily from the pulp. Ripe, unpeeled mangoes give off a distinctive resinous, sweet smell. Inside the pit 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) thick is a thin lining covering a single seed, 4–7 cm (1.6–2.8 in) long. The seed contains the plant embryo.


Mangoes have been cultivated in South Asia for thousands of years[7] and reached East Asia between the fifth and fourth centuries BC. By the 10th century AD, cultivation had begun in East Africa.[7] The 14th century Moroccan traveler, Ibn Battuta, reported it at Mogadishu.[8] Cultivation came later to Brazil, the West Indies and Mexico, where an appropriate climate allows its growth.[7]

The mango is now cultivated in most frost-free tropical and warmer subtropical climates; almost half of the world's mangoes are cultivated in India alone, with the second-largest source being China.[9][10][11] Mangoes are also grown in Andalusia, Spain (mainly in Málaga province), as its coastal subtropical climate is one of the few places in mainland Europe that allows the growth of tropical plants and fruit trees. The Canary Islands are another notable Spanish producer of the fruit. Other cultivators include North America (in South Florida and California's Coachella Valley), South and Central America, the Caribbean, Hawai'i, south, west and central Africa, Australia, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asia. Though India is the largest producer of mangoes, it accounts for less than one percent of the international mango trade; India consumes most of its own production.[12]

Many commercial cultivars are grafted on to the cold-hardy rootstock of Gomera-1 mango cultivar, originally from Cuba. Its root system is well adapted to coastal Mediterranean climate.[13] Many of the 1,000+ mango cultivars are easily cultivated using grafted saplings, ranging from the "turpentine mango" (named for its strong taste of turpentine[14]) to the huevos de toro. Dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties serve as ornamental plants and can be grown in containers. A wide variety of diseases can afflict mangoes; see List of mango diseases.


Mangoes are generally sweet, although the taste and texture of the flesh varies across cultivars, some having a soft, pulpy texture similar to an overripe plum, while others firmer, like a cantaloupe or avocado and some may have a fibrous texture. For consumption of unripe, pickled or cooked fruit, its skin can be consumed but has potential to cause contact dermatitis of the lips, gingiva or tongue in susceptible people. Under-ripe mangoes can be ripened by refrigeration for 4–5 days.[15]


Mangoes are widely used in cuisine. Sour, unripe mangoes are used in chutneys, athanu, pickles,[16] side dishes, or may be eaten raw with salt, chili, or soy sauce. A summer drink called Aam panna comes from mangoes. Mango pulp made into jelly or cooked with red gram dhal and green chillies may be served with cooked rice. Mango lassi, is popular throughout South Asia,[17] prepared by mixing ripe mangoes or mango pulp with buttermilk and sugar. Ripe mangoes are also used to make curries. Aamras is a popular thick juice made of mangoes with sugar or milk, and is consumed with bread, rice or pooris. The pulp from ripe mangoes is also used to make jam called mangada. Andhra Aavakaaya is a pickle made from raw, unripe, pulpy and sour mango, mixed with chilli powder, fenugreek seeds, mustard powder, salt and groundnut oil. Mango is also used in Andhra to make Dal preparations. Gujaratis use mango to make chunda (a grated mango delicacy)

Mangoes are used in preserves such as moramba, amchur (dried and powdered unripe mango) and pickles, including a spicy mustard-oil pickle and alcohol. Ripe mangoes are often cut into thin layers, desiccated, folded, and then cut. These bars are similar to dried guava fruit bars available in some countries. The fruit is also added to cereal products such as muesli and oat granola.

Unripe mango may be eaten with bagoong (especially in the Philippines), fish sauce or with dash of salt. Dried strips of sweet, ripe mango (sometimes combined with seedless tamarind to form mangorind) are also popular. Mangoes may be used to make juices, mango nectar, and as a flavoring and major ingredient in ice cream and sorbetes.

Mango is used to make juices, smoothies, ice cream, fruit bars, raspados, aguas frescas, pies and sweet chili sauce, or mixed with chamoy, a sweet and spicy chili paste. It is popular on a stick dipped in hot chili powder and salt or as a main ingredient in fresh fruit combinations. In Central America, mango is either eaten green mixed with salt, vinegar, black pepper and hot sauce, or ripe in various forms. Toasted and ground pumpkin seed (called pepita) with lime and salt are the norm when eating green mangoes. Some people also add soy sauce or chili sauce.

Pieces of mango can be mashed and used as a topping on ice cream or blended with milk and ice as milkshakes. Sweet glutinous rice is flavored with coconut, then served with sliced mango as a dessert. In other parts of Southeast Asia, mangoes are pickled with fish sauce and rice vinegar. Green mangoes can be used in mango salad with fish sauce and dried shrimp. Mango with condensed milk may be used as a topping for shaved ice.

Nutrients and phytochemicals

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 250 kJ (60 kcal)
Carbohydrates 15 g
- Sugars 13.7
- Dietary fiber 1.6 g
Fat 0.38 g
Protein 0.82 g
Vitamin A equiv. 54 μg (7%)
- beta-carotene 640 μg (6%)
- lutein and zeaxanthin 23 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.028 mg (2%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.038 mg (3%)
Niacin (vit. B3) 0.669 mg (4%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.197 mg (4%)
Vitamin B6 0.119 mg (9%)
Folate (vit. B9) 43 μg (11%)
Choline 7.6 mg (2%)
Vitamin C 36.4 mg (44%)
Vitamin E 0.9 mg (6%)
Vitamin K 4.2 μg (4%)
Calcium 11 mg (1%)
Iron 0.16 mg (1%)
Magnesium 10 mg (3%)
Manganese 0.063 mg (3%)
Phosphorus 14 mg (2%)
Potassium 168 mg (4%)
Sodium 1 mg (0%)
Zinc 0.09 mg (1%)
USDA Nutrient Database

The energy value per 100 g (3.5 oz) is 250 kJ (60 kcal), and that of the apple mango is slightly higher (79 kcal per 100g). Mango contains a variety of phytochemicals[18] and nutrients.[19]

Mango peel and pulp contain other compounds, such as pigment carotenoids and polyphenols, and omega-3 and -6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.[20]

Although not confirmed scientifically, mango peel pigments may have biological effects,[18][21] including carotenoids, such as the provitamin A compound, beta-carotene, lutein and alpha-carotene,[22] polyphenols[23][24] such as quercetin, kaempferol, gallic acid, caffeic acid, catechins, tannins, and the unique mango xanthonoid, mangiferin,[25] which are under preliminary research for their potential to counteract various disease processes.[26][27] Phytochemical and nutrient content appears to vary across mango species.[28] Up to 25 different carotenoids have been isolated from mango pulp, the densest of which was beta-carotene, which accounts for the yellow-orange pigmentation of most mango species.[29] Peel and leaves also have significant polyphenol content, including xanthonoids, mangiferin and gallic acid.[30] Work presented at the Australian Health and Medical Research Congress at Melbourne, showed that certain compounds in the mango skin help fight diseases such as diabetes, control cholesterol levels and prevent some forms of cancer.[31]

The mango triterpene, lupeol,[32] is an effective inhibitor in laboratory models of prostate and skin cancers.[33][34][35] An extract of mango branch bark called Vimang, isolated by Cuban scientists, contains numerous polyphenols with antioxidant properties in vitro[36] and on blood parameters of elderly humans.[37]

The pigment euxanthin, known as Indian yellow, is often thought to be produced from the urine of cattle fed mango leaves; the practice is described as having been outlawed in 1908 due to malnutrition of the cows and possible urushiol poisoning.[38] This supposed origin of euxanthin appears to rely on a single, anecdotal source, and Indian legal records do not outlaw such a practice.[39]

Potential for contact dermatitis

Contact with oils in mango leaves, stems, sap, and skin can cause dermatitis and anaphylaxis in susceptible individuals.[40] It contains mangiferen, resinous acid, mangiferic acid, and the resinol called mangiferol. Those with a history of poison ivy or poison oak contact dermatitis may be most at risk for mango contact dermatitis.[41] Cross-reactions between mango allergens and urushiol, a chemical in poison ivy and poison sumac that can cause dermatitis, have been observed.[42] Urushiol is also present in mango leaves and stems. During its primary ripening season, it is the most common cause of plant dermatitis in Hawaii.[43] After contacting it, reactions may not be immediate. Eyelids, face, or other parts of the body may even swell because of this. It irritates the skin and may even blister the skin. Also, burning of the mango wood, leaves, etc. should be avoided because fumes could be dangerous.

Cultural significance

The mango is the national fruit of India,[44] Pakistan and the Philippines. It is also the national tree of Bangladesh.[45] In India, harvest and sale of mangoes is during March–May and this is annually covered by news agencies. "Frooti" is an Indian mango drink and the Coca-Cola company started their own drink, called "Maaza", in order to compete with it.[46]

The Mughal emperor Akbar (1556-1605 AD) is said to have planted a mango orchard having 100,000 trees in Darbhanga, eastern India.[47] The Jain goddess Ambika is traditionally represented as sitting under a mango tree.[48] In Hinduism, the perfectly ripe mango is often held by Lord Ganesha as a symbol of attainment, regarding the devotees potential perfection. Mango blossoms are also used in the worship of the goddess Saraswati. No Telugu/Kannada New Year's Day called Ugadi passes without eating ugadi pachadi made with mango pieces as one of the ingredients. In Tamil Brahmin homes mango is an ingredient in making vadai paruppu on Sri Rama Navami day (Lord Ram's Birth Day) and also in preparation of pachadi on Tamil New Year's Day.

Dried mango skin and its seeds are also used in Ayurvedic medicine.[16] Mango leaves are used to decorate archways and doors in Indian houses and during weddings and celebrations like Ganesh Chaturthi. Mango motifs and paisleys are widely used in different Indian embroidery styles, and are found in Kashmiri shawls, Kanchipuram silk sarees, etc. Paisleys are also common to Iranian art, because of its pre-Islamic Zoroastrian past.

In Tamil Nadu, the mango is considered,[by whom?] along with banana and jackfruit, as one of the three royal fruits (Mukkani-முக்கனி) occupying first place in terms of sweetness and flavor. Ma-pala-vazhai (மா-பலா-வாழை).

Famous Urdu poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib was very fond of mangoes. There are many anecdotes concerning his love for mangoes.[49] Rabindranath Tagore was fond of mangoes and has written poems about its flowers- aamer monjori. Poet Sa'd Bin Ard has written some poems about mangoes.

In the West Indies, the expression "to go mango walk" means to steal another person's mango fruits. This is celebrated in the famous song, The Mango Walk.

In Australia, the first tray of mangoes of the season is traditionally sold at an auction for charity.[50]

The Classical Sanskrit poet Kālidāsa sang the praises of mangoes.[51] Historical records mention Mughal emperor Akbar ordering the planting of 100,000 mango trees.[52]

Many tales of mangoes are found in the historically significant books of India, suggesting that the existence of this fruit in Indian sub-continent before anywhere else can be traced on globe.[53][54]

Production and consumption

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates worldwide production at nearly 35,000,000 tonnes (39,000,000 short tons) in 2009 (table below). The aggregate production of the top 10 countries is responsible for roughly 80% of worldwide production. India is the biggest producer of mangoes.

Top producers of mangoes, mangosteens, guavas, 2010–11
Country/State Production in millions of tons
~ 16.34
 People's Republic of China
~ 4.35
~ 2.55
~ 1.78
~ 1.63
~ 1.31
~ 1.19
~ 1.05
 World total
~ 38.6


Many hundreds of named mango cultivars exist. In mango orchards, several cultivars are often crossed to improve pollination. Many desired cultivars are monoembryonic and must be propagated by grafting or they do not breed true. A common mono-embryonic cultivar is Alphonso, an important export product, considered as "the king of mangoes".[46]

Cultivars that excel in one climate may fail elsewhere. For example, Indian cultivars such as Julie, a prolific cultivar in Jamaica, require annual fungicide treatment to escape a lethal fungal disease known as anthracnose in Florida. Asian mangoes are resistant to anthracnose.

The current world market is dominated by the cultivar Tommy Atkins, a seedling of Haden that first fruited in 1940 in southern Florida, U.S. It was initially rejected commercially by Florida researchers.[56] For example, 80% of mangoes in UK supermarkets are Tommy Atkins. Despite its fibrous flesh and only fair taste, growers worldwide have embraced the cultivar for its exceptional productivity and disease resistance, shelf life, transportability, size and appealing color.

Alphonso, Benishaan and Kesar mango varieties are popular varieties in India's southern states, while the Chaunsa variety, among others, is popular in the northern states and Pakistan.

Generally, ripe mangoes have an orange-yellow or reddish peel and are juicy for eating, while exported fruit are often picked while underripe with green peels. Although producing ethylene while ripening, unripened exported mangoes do not have the same juiciness or flavor as fresh fruit.

Like other drupaceous fruits, mangoes come in both freestone and clingstone varieties.


See also

  • Aavakaaya South India pickled mango
  • Ethanolic extract of mango peel
  • Mangosteen, an unrelated fruit with a similar name.


Further reading

  • Litz, Richard E. (editor, 2009). The Mango: Botany, Production and Uses. 2nd edition. CABI. ISBN 978-1-84593-489-7
  • Susser, Allen (2001). The Great Mango Book: A Guide with Recipes. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-1-58008-204-4

External links

  • Common Mango
  • Mango
  • Mango Nutrition Information from USDA SR 22 database
  • Mango-related dermatitis
  • species