Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Garcinia mangostana - Manggis 山竹

Garcinia mangostana L.  is known as manggis in its region of origin – the Malay archipelago.  At other part of the world, it is colloquially known as mangosteen.    The local Malays crowned it as the “Queen of Fruits”, side by side with Durian as the “King of Fruits”.

Manggis is a tropical evergreen tree from the family Clusiaceae, formerly known as Guttiferae, which also include about 37 genera.  The genus Garcinia has at least another 50 species.

Young manggis fruits are white in colour.  As the fruits mature, they turn into green and finally dark purple when ripened.  By then, the fruits have grown up to 8cm in diameter, capped by a prominent green calyx, with a flat remnants of the stigma in a rosette at the bottom.  The rosette are supposedly correspond to the number of the aril sections.  The skin ( exocarp ) is hard, but easily squeeze-open.  The rind is about 10cm thick, spongy and reddish in colour. 

Edible arils are white, 4 – 8 segments, wedge-shaped, soft, sourly to sweet, mildly aromatic and fleshy.  Most seeds are infertile, with only 2 or 3 fully developed recalcitrant seeds.  The seeds must be kept moist to remain viable until germination.  It is interesting to know that the seeds are nucellar in origin, and not of the result of fertilization.

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