Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana Linn.) is the finest fruit of the world it has
high potential for both domestic and export markets.
The fruits dark violet or deep brownish-purple skin and white edible portion
make it one of the most valuable fruits of the tropics.
It is consumed fresh and also in processed forms.
Many Westerners enjoy its delicious taste and consider it a health food.
Mangosteen is known as "Queen of Fruits' belongs to family Guttiferae.
Its origin is in Malaya and can now be found in Northern Australia, Brazil,
Burma, Central America, Hawaii, Southern India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri
Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and other tropical countries.
In India, it is generally cultivated in the lower elevations of Nilgiri hills and to
a limited extent in Kerala and West Bengal.
Mangosteen is one of the most widely recognized tropical fruits and has
universal appeal because of its quality in color, shape and flavour.
Description of mangosteen:
• The mangosteen is a small to medium height evergreen
tree, 6 - 25 m tall with a straight trunk and evenly spaced
branches, which form a conical crown.
• The dark green shiny leaves are oblong to elliptical, 19 -
23 cm long and 7 - 10 cm wide.
• Only female flowers are produced on the ends of
branchlets. They have four petals, which are yellow/green
with red margins.
• The fruit is rounded and dark purple in colour when ripe.
It is 4 - 7 cm in diameter and weighs 55 - 75 g.
• The pulp, which is very light and soft with an exquisite
flavour, is best eaten fresh, preferably after chilling the
fruit in a refrigerator.
Uses of mangosteen:
Most parts of the mangosteen tree can be used for medicinal purposes.
The leaves and bark can be used as an astringent for the cure of aphtha or
thrush, a fungal disease affecting the tongue and throat.
A leaf infusion can be applied to wounds.
The rind is effective in curing chronic intestinal catarrh.
Rind consists of 7.15% tannin, and is used to tan leather and dye fabric
Dried fruit rind is used pharmaceutically as an astringent.
Seed contains 30% valuable oil used in skin preparations, soap and shampoo.
Fruits contain flavones and xanthones, which are compounds used in
medicines and as antibacterial agents.
The mangosteen is ultra-tropical. It requires a wet lowland tropical climate.
It is killed at temperatures below 5° C and sunburns occur at temperature above 38°
It grows upto 1500 m above mean sea-level.
It ordinarily requires high atmospheric humidity and an annual rainfall of at least
127 cm and no long periods of drought.
The tree is not adapted to limestone and does the best in deep, rich organic soil,
especially sandy loam or laterite.
In India, the most productive specimens are on clay containing much coarse material
and a little silt.
Sandy alluvial soils are unsuitable. Sandy soil low in humus contributes to low
The tree needs good drainage and the water table to be about 1.8 m below ground
Elite mangosteen varieties are unknown, though it has been cultivated for
The occurrence of natural variability is also limited by the fact that ‘seeds’
are of asexual origin, they are formed from nucellar tissue in the
However, a general grouping of cultivated mangosteen into 2 types is
possible: one with large leaves and fruits of variable size and the other with
small leaves and small fruits.
In Philippines, a variety called Jolo produces fruits that are larger, with big
seeds but more delicious pulp than the common cultivated type.
Propagation by seeds
On average, the fruit produces 4-8 arils (segments) with about 1 to 2 seeds.
Seeds germinate well only under high seed moisture content.
Viability is reduced when air moisture content falls below 20%.
When sowing is delayed by 5 days, germination is reduced by 75%.
If seeds need to be transported to distant places, they should be kept in moist
coir dust or clean newspaper to prevent dehydration.
To minimize deterioration, the seed may be stored in moist coir dust in
airtight containers up to 3 months.
Seed can also be stored while inside the fruit for 3 to 5 weeks.
The seeds have a high germination rate of over 90% if they are fresh. The plants above are less
than six months old.
Cleft grafting has been found to be highly successful.
Plants for rootstocks should be in a state of active growth.
Compatible rootstocks include G. mangosteena, G. kydia, G. venulosa, and G.
Preparation of rootstock
Select rootstocks from plants that have been propagated from seedlings and
are highly, about 1.5-2 years of age, about 30-40 cm in height, and with the
same stem diameter as that of the scion (1.6-2.0 cm).
Grafting is more successful by having the same stem size for rootstock and
scion, because the cambiums or growing tissue can match closely.
Put potted seedlings for rootstocks in a shaded area and precondition them by
applying 2-4g of ammonium sulphate per seedling 15-20 days before grafting.
Grown primarily in back yards and gardens, these attractive pyramidal
evergreen trees grow to a height of 25 m.
Effort was made to establish commercial orchards, however, obstacles yet to
be overcome include difficulties in propagation, the slow growth period,
problems in harvesting, and yield.
A spacing of 10-12 m is recommended. Planting is preferably done at the
beginning of the rainy season.
Pits 1.2 x 1.2 x 1.3 m are prepared at least 30 days in advance, enriched with
organic matter and topsoil and left to weather.
The young tree is put in place very carefully so as not to injure the root and
given a heavy watering.
Partial shading with palm fronds or by other means should be maintained for 3
to 5 years.
Through pruning is not essential, however, it is a good practice to prune old,
diseased and damaged branches, and those branches that touch the soil and
suckers that grow up from the base of the trunk.
Severe pruning and removal of growing tips or branches should be avoided.
It is better to prune when the tree does not have flowers, fruits or new
flushes of leaves.
Mangosteen needs regular irrigation at those places where rainfall is light
and good drainage where rainfall is heavy.
The frequency of irrigation should be decided on the basis of weather and
Mulching with grass or dried leaves helps the trees as the process conserves
Manuring and fertilization
Mangosteen crop in the field is often not fertilized, but when in nursery, a mixture of N: P: K (20:20:20)
containing trace minerals may be given to each seedling at the rate of 5 ml/4 litres of water.
It may be applied to soil as well as foliage once in 15 days.
Because soils vary in fertility, it is difficult to specify common fertilizer dose.
The general recommended dose is given in Table it can be modified depending on soil type and tree
Annual fertilizer and manure recommendation for mangosteen plant
Age of the tree
1-2 0.25 20
2-4 0.50 20
4-6 1.00 40
6-8 2.00 50
8-14 4.00 60
Over 15 7.00 60
Flowering and fruiting:
Mangosteen has been reported to flower in alternate years, similar to other perennial crops e.g. mangoes.
The plant requires a stress period of about 3 - 4 weeks to ensure uniform flowering.
After a dry period of three or more weeks, mangosteen can be induced to flower by applying irrigation
Flowering can be induced during off-season, depending on plant vigour and climate, and in combination
with proper pruning, adequate nutrition and irrigation.
In Southern Thailand it was observed that application of paclobutrazol 3 months before natural
flowering increases flowering by almost 10%.
Foliar spray application of a mixture of 0.25% thiourea and 3% dextrose in 20 litres of water induces
flushing of a further 80%.
Extensive flowering can produce a large number of fruits that are below the minimum size of 80 g.
Flower- and fruit-thinning activities are recommended to remedy such a situation.
Small fruit can also be caused by low plant nutrients, poor soil conditions or water stress during the fruit
Pick fruits that have turned violet, or approximately 113 - 119 days after
Pick every 2 - 3 days.
It takes about 5 months from flowering to fruit ripening.
Ripeness is judged by full development of color and slight softening.
Picking may be done when fruits are slightly under ripe but they must be
fully mature (developed) or they will not ripen after picking.
YOUNG MANGOSTEEN FRUIT WEEKS RIPE MANGOSTEEN. IT STARTS TO TURN A DARK
AWAY FROM FULL RIPENESS. PURPLE COLOUR.
When provided with appropriate care and management, mangosteen bears
fruit five to six years after field planting.
Mangosteen usually flowers only once annually.
However, flowering occurs twice annually following a dry period.
Fruit set is highly variable. In India, there are two distinct fruiting seasons,
one in the monsoon period July - October and another from April - June.
Hand picking is desirable to prevent fruit from falling to the ground,
damaging the peel.
Damage due to impact is one of the most serious problems in mangosteen,
reducing fruit quality.
If trees are too tall, use a long pole with a hook and a basket to prevent the
fruit from falling to the ground.
The yield varies from tree to tree and from season to season.
The first crop yields 200 to 300 fruits.
Average yield of a full-grown tree is about 500 fruits.
The yield steadily increases up to 30th year of bearing when crops of 1,000
to 2,000 fruits are obtained.
In Madras, individual trees between the ages of 20 and 45 years, have
borne 2,000 to 3,000 fruits.
Productivity gradually declines thereafter, though the tree will fruit at 100
years of age.
Protection from insect, pest and diseases:
Only a few insect pests affecting mangosteen have been reported, possibly due to its bitter sap.
Common pests include:
Tussock caterpillar (Eupterote favia Cramer), which feeds on the leaves.
Coconut scale insect (Aspidotus destructor Sig.), which forms colonies underneath the leaves
causing leaf yellowing and stunted growth.
Leaf miner (Phyllocnistis citrella), which burrows into the leaves. If the infestation is not serious,
leaf miner can be controlled by biological agents.
In isolated cases plants may be infested by mites, mealy bugs and ants.
Mites damage the fruit surface with small bites and scratches, making it unattractive for market.
Ants on trees, trunk and branches can damage the growing tips and inhibit new growth.
Growers should monitor new flushes as they emerge for evidence of insect feeding damage.
Insecticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis are effective in controlling leaf-eating caterpillars.
Azadirachtin extract from neem plants is also found to be effective in controlling leaf eating
caterpillars in Thailand.
Diseases of mangosteen include gummosis, anthracnose, bacterial blight,
and sooty mould.
Gummosis is caused by the yellow latex produced by the branches of the
fruit itself, and seeps into its flesh giving it a bitter taste.
Fruits exposed to strong sun may also exude latex.
Gamboge are physiological disorders in mangosteen.
Gamboge is characterised by yellow exudation of gum on the fruits and branches.
Fruits with gamboge have a bitter taste and are completely inedible.
Heavy and continuous rains during fruit ripening favour gamboge in certain
Gamboge is more pronounced in fruits exposed to direct sunlight, and in crop that
matures in summer.
2. Fruit splitting
Fruit splitting results in swollen arils with a mushy pulp.
Heavy and continuous rains during fruit ripening favour fruit splitting in certain
Fruit spotted with yellow resin Desecrated yellow latex in the aril
Mangosteen fruit should be handled and packed with care especially to avoid
damage from the attached peduncle.
It is recommended to treat the surface of the fruit with Bordeaux mixture to avoid
rot during shipping and the shipment should ensure that the fruit arrives at the
market near or at maturity.
In dry, warm and closed storage, mangosteen can be stored for 20 to 25 days.
Longer periods cause the outer skin to toughen and the rind to become rubbery;
later, the rind hardens and becomes difficult to open and the flesh turns dry.
Ripened mangosteen keeps well for 3 to 4 weeks in storage at 4°-13° C.
Trials in India have showed that optimum conditions for cold storage are
temperatures of 4°-6° C and relative humidity of 85 to 90%, which maintain the
quality for 49 days.
It is recommended be wrap fruits in tissue paper and packed 25 to 30 fruits in light
wooden crates with padding.