Mangoes are juicy stone fruit (dupe) from numerous species of tropical trees belonging to the flowering plant genus Mangifera, cultivated mostly for their edible fruit. The majority of these species are found in nature as wild mangoes. The genus belongs to the cashew family Anacardiaceae. Mangoes are native to South Asia from where the “common mango” or “Indian mango”, Mangifera indica, has been distributed worldwide to become one of the most widely cultivated fruits in the tropics. Other Mangifera species (e.g. horse mango, Mangifera foetida) are also grown on a more localized basis. Mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, and the national tree of Bangladesh.
A common nickname for mangoes is actually ‘the king of fruits’. Beyond the sweet, luscious taste of mangoes, they also contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that assure your optimum health. For decades, mangoes have been used to soothe stomachs. Similar to papayas, mangoes contain certain enzymes with stomach comforting properties. As the popularity of mangoes has spread, many food manufacturers have introduced jellies, jams, and spices that include pure mango flavor.
According to research and studies published, it’s been demonstrated that dietary fiber has a positive effect on eliminating degenerative diseases, including certain cancers and heart conditions. Now you have even more reasons to include this delicious fruit in your daily diet. The more you participate in strenuous activities, the more bodily potassium you lose, which is yet another helpful side effect of mangoes – high potassium content!
FACTS BASE ON RESEARCH
Mangos are one of the most popular fruit in the World. They were first grown in India over 5,000 years ago. Mango seeds traveled with humans from Asia to the Middle East, East Africa and South America beginning around 300 or 400 A.D. The paisley pattern, developed in India, is based on the shape of a mango. A basket of mangoes is considered a gesture of friendship in India. Legend says that Buddha meditated under the cool shade of a mango tree. Mangos are related to cashews and pistachios. A mango tree can grow as tall as 100 feet. The bark, leaves, skin and pit of the mango have been used in folk remedies for centuries. Mangoes are found in two varieties, one from India and the other from the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Indian mangoes have a bright yellow or red color, while the Philippines species has a pale green color. The mango plant requires a frost-free climate, because the flowers and fruits will be damaged if the temperatures drop below 40° F. Mango trees create a scenic landscape and grow up to 65 feet.
They are also known for their longevity; some specimens are known to live for more than 300 years and continue to bear fruit. The leaves of mango trees are usually pale green in color, which darkens as they grow and increase in height. The young leaves are usually red in color. The flowers appear on a mango tree at the branch terminals.
The fruiting bodies of a mango tree grow at the rear end of the string-like stem (the former panicle). The size of the fruit is usually 2 to 9 inches long and shape may vary between being kidney shaped, oval or round. The flesh of mangoes is a similar consistency to peaches. The flesh is excessively juicy and radiates from the husk of a singular oval shaped seed. Mango fruit takes 100 to 150 days after flowering to fully mature.
NEXT WEEK: VARIETIES OF MANGO IN NIGERIA (2)
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