National Geographic : 1903 Aug
THE INTRODUCTIO easily cut with a knife. In the best varieties the fiber is almost entirely wanting and the entire fruit consists of a mass of juicy, usually orange-colored pulp. The Anacardiacee, to which the mango belongs, include also the tur pentine tree (Pistacia terebinthus), the original source of turpentine, and it seems not at all unlikely that the char acteristic odor of the mango is in real ity due to the presence of turpentine or some closely allied substance. Ex udations of a transparent resinous sub stance similar to that of the turpentine tree are frequently to be noticed in the mango. The mango (Mangifera indica) is said by De Candolle to be native in South Asia or the Malay Archipelago, and re cent authors report it as wild in the forests of Ceylon and the regions at the base of the Himalayas, especially to ward the east, at an altitude of from 1,000 to 2,000 feet. Its culture is very ancient, as shown by references in San skrit mythology and ancient Hindu folk lore. For so old and so useful a plant, its distribution was comparatively limited until historic times. To the west it had not passed the Red Sea, being unknown in Egypt, while to the east it had ap parently not reached the islands of the Pacific. The species is not well adapted for distribution by natural agencies, and man has probably been chiefly responsi ble for its dissemination. In the New World it seems to have been first introduced into Brazil, al though it is not known at what date. The mango is now a common fruit throughout the Tropics of the world. It has been developed to the highest state of perfection in its home in India, where the number of well-marked va rieties is enormous. Mr Maries, of Durbhungah, has collected over 500 varieties, 1oo of which he characterizes as good. Thirty-four of these varieties N OF THE MANGO 325 he describes in Watt's Dictionary of Economic Products of India. Ceylon is also famous for its mangoes. Both the east and the west coasts of Africa have several good varieties. In Aus tralia the culture is fast increasing, and it bids fair to become one of the most popular fruits. One very fine variety is said to exist in the island of St Helena. The mango is the most highly prized fruit of Guam, where there is a fine seedling variety. Its cultivation in that island is, however, not a success, owing probably to the thin soil, which affords such a shallow footing that the hurri canes uproot the trees in all exposed localities. In the Hawaiian Islands Mr William C. Stubbs * reports: "'The mango is receiving perhaps more atten tion just now than any other fruit. As many as twelve or fifteen varieties have already been introduced. It is a de licious fruit, and decidedly ornamental in any ground." In the New World, Trinidad and Jamaica have the largest collections, although the drier regions of Central America and Mexico may be found to offer better seedling varieties. In spite of the many discouraging frosts that have visited Florida, planters of that state are actively engaged in propagating good varieties by budding, grafting, and inarching, and, if visited with no further misfortune, will in a few years produce considerable quan tities of high-grade fruit. The mango will grow in a variety of conditions, and it seems to have little preference as to soil, the most important requirement being a deep soil that is well drained. As to climate, it is much more exacting, and the fact that the tree may thrive well in a given locality and yet fail to produce fruit should be kept always in mind. The mango will be prolific only in regions subjected to a * Bull No. 95, Office of Experiment Stations, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Report on the Agricultural Resources and Capabilities of Hawaii, p. 40.