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The mango is any of the species of flowering fruit trees that belong to the taxonomic genus Mangifera. They are best known for developing mango fruits. The trees can be as tall as forty meters in height, and the fruits are about half a foot in length and weigh about one pound. The fruits can be green, red, yellow, or orange. The leaves are green and about half an inch long. They are cultivated in areas like Southern and Eastern Asia, North America, Central America, South America, Pacific Islands, and northeastern areas of Africa. The plant needs warm temperatures for life, preferably around seventy-five to eighty degrees Fahrenheit. Root growth occurs during wet times of the year. These fruits can carry diseases very easily that are not harmful to anything but the fruit themselves. The mango is the Philippines' national fruit.
Mangoes grow on trees that are generally about thirty to forty meters tall. The tree's taproot can grow up to twenty feet in distance into the soil. It has simple alternate evergreen leaves that are about twenty to thirty centimeters by five to fifteen centimeters. They can range from orange or pink in color in early life to dark red. Once they reach maturation, they turn into a dark green color.
This tree grows flowers that are in a panicle arrangement that can hold up to two thousand individual flowers. The flowers have five small, white or red petals that are half a centimeter to a centimeter in length. The flowers can give some people allergic reactions due to their respired substance. Flies and bees act as the pollinators for the flowers. Once the tree is alive for about a season to half a year, the mango fruit will ripen. These fruits can be orange, yellow, red, or green. A flat seed is located at the center of a mango. They grow at the end of a long stem which was the panicle flower stem. They are usually two to nine inches in length and are round or oval. They weigh about half a pound to one and a half pounds. The skin of the mango is much like a peach, but more smooth and leathery.
Once a mango tree has been alive for about a decade it can start growing flowers and fruit. The amount of flowers and mangoes grown on the tree depends on the weather and climate that the plant goes through. Usually dryer climates will make the mango plants grow more flowers than the wet climates. Most of these trees will create flowers and fruit heavily at one point in the year, but some will grow steadily throughout the year. In areas like the Philippines, they use different methods to help grow the flowers on mango trees. One way is called smudging which is like engulfing the tree in smoke. Other methods include exposing the roots to the air as opposed to buried in the ground, pruning the tree, girdling it, withholding nitrogen and irrigation, and adding salt to the roots.
Most types of mangoes have seeds that are called monoembryonic. This means that when they are planted they cannot reproduce themselves as a certain type. One main type of reproduction of mangoes is grafting. This process is where the scion near the top of the tree and the rootstock, the lower part, are joined. There are different types of the grafting method. The whip and tongue graft and the cleft graph are the two most popular variations. For the grafting method to work effectively, strong, growing rootstocks are necessary. For the top end of the tree, the scion, sections with swelling buds that are almost about to burst help the process. For more effectiveness, joining specifically the cambium of the scion and the rootstocks will help them to graft more easily, due to the fact that this area is where the cells are always dividing. Another method is called the wedge method. This is where two cuts sloping in out of the scion are made to make an arrow type of shape. A cut is also applied to the stock the same length as the scoin cut. Then the scion is placed into the stock to match up the cambiums. To keep them in place, placing wrap around the tree or taping it will help the process. Also, to prevent excess moisture from escaping, a bag over it will help this healing process. Another method is called the whip and tongue method. This uses cuts that are interlocking to make a stronger graft and help the healing process.
Mango fruit originated in Eastern India and the surrounding areas of Southern and Eastern Asia. Even today, almost half of all the mangoes in the world are cultivated in India. After this, the fruit was introduced to Africa and to South America. They are grown in tropical areas. Frost-free areas with warm temperatures are preferable for mango cultivation. Locations with cool dry seasons and high heat accumulation during the period of flowering and fruit developement. Rain or free moisture, or high humidity, heavy dew, and fog will help develope diseases on the fruit and flowers and force them to drop off the plant. This is why even though you will find the plant growing in wetter areas, the trees rarely will bear fruit when the moisture level is high. Outside of India, today mangoes are mainly grown in North america, South America, Pacific Islands, and parts of Asia. There are more than one thousand types of mangoes being cultivated all over the world. The Alphonso is a very popular type of mango grown in India. It is nicknamed the "King of Mangoes." Other types of mangoes include the huevos de toro, meaning "Bull's Testicles," and the "Turpentine Mango," which was named after its taste resembling turpentine. Although India grows almost half of the world's mangoes, it acconts for less than one percent of the world's mango trade.
Mango diseases and disorders
Mango fruit can be diseased by effects from leaves, the fruits, or soil. A main type of mango disease is called Anthracnose. This is where during the flowering and fruit development stage, this disease makes the flowers and fruit to grow black lesions and die. Anthracnose can be generated from growing the plant in wet conditions. As the fruit is becoming soft from the ripening process, its natural defense mechanisms die and the anthracnose infects the mango plant and create black lesions that rot through the fruit. Anthracnose is the main explanation for loss of mangoes post-harvest. Another harmful disease to the mango is the mango scab. It negatively affects all parts of the mango tree besides the flowers. Once infected by this disease, the plants grows scab lesions on the stems and leaves. When the fruits are young, this disease will cause the fruit to die and drop off the tree before maturation. These blemishes do not expand once the mango is picked. The disease is more common in wetter areas. A disease called Bacterial Black Spot affects the leaves and fruit. It is common in areas where the climate is windy and where the trees are not healthy and strong. Black lesions grow on the leaves with greasy margins on the leaf veins. Besides these diseases, harmful disorders can affect the skin and quality of the fruit. Jelly seed is ripening around the seed when not needed. Soft nose can induce premature softening of the mango's nose. Spongy stem end is the breaking down of the skin and vascular tissue in the stem of the tree. Internal breakdown can break down the flesh of the fruit and set off premature ripening.
- Culture Sheet R. K. Brummitt. Royal Botanic Gardens. 1992
- Mango Multiple authors. Wikipedia
- Mango Unkown author. 1996, California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.
- Flowering Plant Reproduction MJ Farabee. Unkown Publisher. June 06 2007
- Mangifera indica L. Morton, J., Julia F. Morton 1987.
- Mango Botany and Taxonomy Unkown Author. Unkown Publisher. September 15 2006