Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

mango one of the finest and most popular tropical fruits, has been cultivated in India since 2000 BC or earlier. The Indian mango, Mangifera indica, is the descendant of a wild tree still found in NE India. It is only one of over 40 (60, say some authorities) Mangifera spp, which grow in the region from India east to the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, and of which nearly half have edible fruits. But of all these M. indica is indisputably supreme; indeed, the judicious Purseglove (1968) has called it ‘king of all fruits’. It thrives only in regions where there are clearly defined seasons, and is thus more often found in the northern part of SE Asia than in Malaysia and Indonesia where local species of Mangifera have evolved to adapt to growing conditions.