Name Variations Edit
About Mangosteen Edit
Wikipedia Article About Mangosteen on Wikipedia
The mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is a tropical evergreen tree, believed to have originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas. The tree grows from 7 to 25 meters tall. The edible fruit is deep reddish purple when ripe. In Asia, the mangosteen fruit is known as the "Queen of Fruits," while the durian (Durio spp.) is known as the "King of Fruits." It is closely related to other edible tropical fruits such as button mangosteen and lemondrop mangosteen.
The outer shell of the fruit is rather hard, typically 4-6 cm in diameter. Cutting through the shell, one finds a white, fleshy fruit 3-5 cm in diameter. Depending on the size and ripeness, there may or may not be pits in the segments of the fruit. The number of fruit pods is directly related to the number of petals on the bottom of the shell. On average a mangosteen has 5 fruits (round up figure).
Its taste may be compared to that of an underripe strawberry, with hints of sweet orange. Its seed, however, is not edible and if one accidently bit into it, one would be in for a very bitter experience. There is a story, possibly apocryphal, about Queen Victoria offering a cash reward to anyone who could deliver to her the fabled fruit. Although it is available in cans and frozen, mangosteen is rarely sold fresh in Western countries other than in some Asian grocery stores; they are illegal to import as whole fruit into the United States due to fears that they harbor the Asian fruit fly which would devastate US crops if it were ever introduced. This barrier to entry may be eliminated in the future as new produce irradiation techniques spread in popularity. Other products derived from the mangosteen fruit may be legally imported into the United States and are used to produce a variety of juices and nutritional supplements.
The mangosteen, along with other popular Asian fruits such as the rambutan and the longan, is now being grown and sold on some of the Hawaiian islands, although they are presently not being exported to the continental US due to the reasons stated above. However, Hawaiian growers are working with a Honolulu irradiation facility for future export to the continental United States. The mangosteen is also grown, and very popular in Central Africa, and particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. An ultra-tropical, the Mangosteen tree must be grown in consistently warm conditions; exposure to temperatures below 40F will generally kill a mature plant.