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Garcinia mangostana L.

Garcinia mangostana L.




Mangostana garcinia Gaertner

Vernacular Names








Manggustan, manggis.








Cay mang cut.



Geographical Distributions

Garcinia mangostana is only known as a cultivated species, although there have been occasional reports of wild specimens in Malaysia. It closely resembles G. hombroniana Pierre and G. malaccensis T. Anderson, which are indigenous in Malaysia (the former is also indigenous in the Nicobar Islands). G. mangostana may be an allotetraploid hybrid of these two species; if so, it originated in Peninsular Malaysia. Cultivation has long been limited to Southeast Asia, ranging from Indonesia eastwards to New Guinea and Mindanao (the Philippines) and north via Peninsular Malaysia into the southern parts of Thailand, Burma and Vietnam, and to Cambodia. Only during the last two centuries has the crop spread to other tropical areas, including Sri Lanka, South India, Central America, Brazil and Queensland, where orchards of G. mangostana now cover small areas.


Garcinia mangostana is a dioecious tree, up to 6-25 m tall, with a straight trunk, and symmetrically branched that forms a regular pyramidal crown, in conformity with the architectural model of Attims. All parts of the plant exude yellow latex when damaged.

The leaves are arranged opposite, with short petioles clasping the shoots so that the apical pair conceals the terminal bud. The blades are oblong or elliptical, measuring 15-25 cm x 7-13 cm, thickly leathery, entire, cuspidate at the apex, hairless and olive-green above, yellow-green beneath with pale green color at central nerve, prominent on both sides and with many evenly spaced prominent side nerves.

The flowers are solitary or paired at apices of branchlets, with short and thick pedicels about 5.5 cm in diametre. The 4 sepals are arranged in 2 pairs. There are 4 petals, which are thick and fleshy and yellow-green with reddish edges. There are usually many staminodes which are 1-2-seriate that measure about 0.5 cm long. The ovary is sessile, nearly globular, 4-8-celled with prominent sessile and with 4-8-lobed stigma.

The fruit is a spherical and smooth berry, measures 4-7 cm across, turning dark purple when ripens, with persistent sepals and still crowned by the stigma lobes. The pericarp is about 0.9 cm thick and purple. None to 3 of the cells contain a fully developed seed and enveloped by a white seed coat.

Ecology / Cultivation

Garcinia mangostana is a crop of the humid tropics, often found in association with the durian. It thrives in conditions of high temperature, high humidity, a short dry season to stimulate flowering and an uninterrupted water supply. The growth is slow. Both leaves and fruit are susceptible to sunburn. Shade is required during the early years and shelter throughout life. Protection is offered by other trees in mixed orchards (Thailand) and in home gardens. Stress should be avoided; a tree, which is visibly suffering from diseases, seldom recovers. There is much confusion over rainfall and soil requirements, but an assured year-round supply of water is essential. In spite of the weak root system, the tree tolerates heavy soils, which impede water movement, provided transpiration is limited by a sheltered site and high humidity. Under dry conditions, irrigation is needed at small soil moisture deficits, and thick mulches are very beneficial. Traditional growing centres within 100 latitude from the equator, but orchards in Queensland, Madagascar, Honduras and Brazil indicate that the potential range of G. mangostana extends to 180 latitude in warm frost-free areas. The tree is grown up to 1000 m elevation in the tropics, but the growth rate is higher in the lowlands.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Verheij, E.W.M. and Coronel, R.E. (Eds.). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.2: Edible fruits and nuts. 1992.

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