MANGO TOMMY (Mangifera indica L.).

Family: Mangifera indica L.
Origin: Northwest India.
Principle Producers: Tropical America, Southeast Asia and the Philippines.


The mango is one of the most important fruits in tropical and subtropical areas of all over the world. The precise place of origin of the mango is a controversial subject nevertheless it is accepted that the fruit comes from the Asian continent.

The mango belongs to the family Anacardiaceae, which has 73 genera and about 850 species. In the genus Mangifera about 69 species are recognized, of which only 15 of them produce edible fruits. Mangifera indica (the common or Indian mango) is the most common and widely distributed species.

The mango tree is an erect, medium to large evergreen that can reach heights from 10 to over 20 metres. Its canopy tends to be broad and rounded and it has roots that burrow 6-8 metres into the ground. These trees are long-lived.

Mango leaves are lanceolate and are arranged alternately. The colour of these varies with age, when young they can be reddish or pale green but as they grow the colouration turns darker green.

The flower of the mango is small and reaches 5-10 mm in diameter and is a yellowish green or reddish colour. They are produced in terminal panicles or inflorescences, whose length could vary from a few centimetres to 30-40 cm. Each panicle can possess between 400-5000 flowers.

The fruit is a fleshy drupe, its size, shape, colour and weight varies depending on many factors. Fruit weight can range from less than 100 grams to more than 2 kilograms and can take 100 to 120 days to form from flowering to ripening.

Among the most widespread varieties of mango are: Tommy Atkins, Ataulfo, Haden, Kent and Keitt.

The mango grows in different soils from very fertile to those sparse in nutrients, provided the soil is deep, permeable, well drained and slightly acidic with a pH between 5.0 and 6.8 and a water table below 2.5 m. The mango is suited to an area bordering the tropics, from 23 ° 27 'N to 23 ° 27' south, with respect to the Equator. In the tropics mango is cultivated from around sea level up to an altitude of 1700m and in the subtropics at sea level.

In Colombia, the mango is grown at altitudes greater than 1200 metres but at reduced production levels and of a lower quality. For commercial cultivation of mango to succeed it should be grown below 600 metres, with a defined dry season of 3 months or so, in order to promote an abundant and healthy bloom prior to the initial development of the fruit, this helps prevent fungus attacks on the flowers and fruits (Goguey, 1993).

The lack of rainfall during the flowering period is the most important factor for successful mango cultivation. The optimum temperature for growth and healthy production is between 24 and 27 ° C (ProFrutal, 1994). The average annual rainfall should be around 750mm; humidity allows growth of the trees with little or no irrigation. Weather conditions, particularly the temperature determine the time of flowering and fruit ripening.
According to Galvis and Herrera (1995), mango cultivation in relatively low humidity is preferred. Ambient humidity greater than 70% interferes with pollination and affects the health of the fruit. According to the same source, a high amount of sunlight promotes flowering, fruiting, development and fruit colour.
Scattering the trees at a distance no closer than 10 metres between them, enables an appropriate distribution of sunlight, trees should be planted mainly in light soils. Strong winds cause flowers, fruits and branches to fall (Goguey, 1993).

The output of the mango crop faces constraints from several sources which limit commercialisation, especially for exportation, among which: diseases such as anthracnose and powdery mildew; the presence of fruit flies, thrips, mites and ants; the alternation of production; excessive tree size which restricts phytosanitary activities and impedes harvesting and the concentration of the harvest between June and August, that fosters an oversupply causing a lower value of the product.
There are many varieties that differ from one growing area to the next: the size, the colour of the skin and the pulp, the variety of flavour, the aroma of the fruit and other such features.
Given its content of natural antioxidants the mango is a fruit of great interest nutritionally. A mango of 300 grams is sufficient for all the vitamin C and vitamin A an adult requires and is an excellent source of beta carotene in addition to its adequate fibre content.

Harvest Calendar