Mangosteens

12 Interesting Facts About Mangosteens

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Introduction

The mangosteen is a unique and delicious fruit that originates from Southeast Asia. Often referred to as the “queen of fruits,” mangosteens have a sweet, tangy flavor unlike any other. Though they may look like oranges on the outside with their reddish-purple rind, the inside of a mangosteen contains a fragrant, soft, white flesh that melts in your mouth.

Mangosteens have been prized for centuries in Asia, but they have only recently gained popularity in Western countries. Read on to learn 12 fascinating facts about this exotic superfruit.

Facts About Mangosteens

Mangosteen
Mangosteen by mttsndrs is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 .
  1. Mangosteens grow on evergreen trees that can grow over 100 feet tall. The trees produce fruit after 7-10 years and reach peak production at around 20 years old.
  2. The mangosteen is related to other tropical fruits like the mango, rambutan, lychee, and longan. However, the mangosteen is the only fruit that comes from the Garcinia mangostana tree.
  3. Mangosteens have a thick, leathery rind that contains bitter yellow latex. The rind turns from green to dark red or purple as the fruits ripen. To open, you score the rind with a knife and break it along the score line to access the sweet, slightly tart flesh inside.
  4. The white arils (seed pods) inside a mangosteen are arranged in a circle like the segments of an orange. The arils contain one to eight bitter seeds that you don’t eat.
  5. Mangosteens contain high levels of xanthones, which are natural chemical compounds found in certain plants. Research indicates xanthones have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and potential anticancer effects.
  6. Mangosteens provide lots of fiber, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. Just one fruit contains over 20% of your RDA for vitamin C.
  7. Over 200 cultivars of mangosteen exist, but only six are grown commercially. The most popular cultivars are Purple Mangosteen and Maha.
  8. Mangosteens do not travel or store well compared to other tropical fruits. Their rind is delicate and they must be picked at peak ripeness. For this reason, fresh mangosteens are hard to find outside of producing countries.
  9. However, demand for mangosteens is rising globally. Commercial production expanded from the Sunda Islands of Indonesia to India, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, Puerto Rico, and Ecuador.
  10. Mangosteens are very difficult to grow outside of tropical environments because they require hot, humid weather year-round. The trees also take over a decade to produce fruit, making mangosteens an expensive crop.
  11. The mangosteen was once banned for export from Indonesia and Malaysia. These countries feared mangosteens would become invasive species if their seeds entered other countries. The ban was lifted in the mid 1900s.
  12. Mangosteens earned the nickname “the queen of fruit”┬áin Southeast Asia, not only for their supreme taste but also because of an old legend. As the story goes, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom loved mangosteens so much that she offered a reward to anyone who could bring her fresh mangosteens.

FAQ

mangosteen!
mangosteen! by dennis is licensed under CC BY 2.0 .

What is the scientific name of the mangosteen?

The scientific name of the mangosteen is Garcinia mangostana.

Where is the mangosteen native to?

The mangosteen is native to tropical lands surrounding the Indian Ocean, with its main growth areas being Southeast Asia, southwest India, and other tropical regions such as Colombia and Puerto Rico.

How is the mangosteen fruit described?

The fruit of the mangosteen is sweet and tangy, with juicy, somewhat fibrous flesh and an inedible, deep reddish-purple colored rind when ripe.

What are some traditional uses of the mangosteen?

Various parts of the mangosteen plant have been used in traditional medicine in Southeast Asia, for treating skin infections, wounds, dysentery, urinary tract infections, and gastrointestinal complaints.

Where is the major production of mangosteen concentrated?

The major production of mangosteen occurs in Southeast Asia, particularly in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Additionally, successful production has been reported in Colombia and Puerto Rico.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the mangosteen is a unique, delicious fruit packed with nutrients, subtle flavors, and centuries of mystique. Though mangosteens are not yet as common as other tropical fruits, demand for these exotic treats is on the rise. The mangosteen’s potential health benefits combined with its unforgettable taste ensure it will remain the “queen of fruit” for years to come.


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