SCIENTIFIC NAME: Garcinia mangostana
FAMILY: Guttiferae

Attractive broad-leafed evergreen tree with short columnar or pyramidal form of medium size. HEIGHT: 12 to 20 m.

The fruit are round with slightly flattened ends. When mature, the skin is reddish purple-to-black, 40 to 80 mm in diameter and 80 to 180 grams in weight. The pericarp is thick, 5 to 7 mm. Edible portion approx 30% by weight. The aril is white and juicy and consists of 4 to 8 segments, with usually one-to-two seeds. Flavour is sweet, delicate, slightly acid and melting. Generally described as the tropics' most delicious fruit.

With over 300 grafted Mangosteens now planted out in Nth. Qld., it is important that they be grown under the best conditions. They are rather exacting in their cultural requirements and the following hints will help them to thrive.

Field planting preferably should be in a medium-to-heavy soil with a reasonably high organic content. Sandy or light soils are generally unsatisfactory unless improved by adding at least an equal amount of heavy clay loam. Some Mangosteens have grown successfully in low-lying sandy swamp, where there is constant moisture and ample leaf mould.

Regular mulching to a depth of 100mm. (4 inches), is fairly essential. Constant soil moisture must be maintained at all times for young growing trees. Mature trees can tolerate short periods of dry weather.

Young growing trees should be fertilized every 3 to 4 months, except prior to winter; particularly if temperatures drop to below 5°C.

Most commercially sold liquid fertilizers are suitable but care should be taken to see that the application is weaker, rather than stronger than the recommended rates.

30 to 50% shade is essential for the first four years or at least until the tree is 2 metres high.

Mangosteens prefer hot, humid climates, but will grow in a cooler climate, provided they are protected from low winter temperatures. Mature trees have survived temperatures down to 1°C, with some defoliation while some very young trees have not survived temperatures below 3°C.

The purple Mangosteen is described by most books as the "tropics most delicious fruit" and lS certainly worth the extra care to bring it to fruition.

N.B. More detailed information is now available in the R.F.C.'s new Fact Sheet on the purple Mangosteen.

John Marshall,

DATE: July 1983

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