"The Wise Gardener!"
The Sensual Pulse of the Tropics!

The Deliciously Tropical, Magnificently Melting
Flavour Of The Queen Of All Fruits: The Mangosteen!

(Garcinia mangostana)



Common Name : Mangosteen

Family : Guttiferae

Scientific Name : Garcina mangostana Linn

Mangosteen is native to Malaysia. The main mangosteen growing areas in Sabah are Sandakan, Keningau and Tenom. Thailand and Malaysia are the main producing countries.

The mangosteen is a slow-growing tree. The slow growth is attributed to its poor root system; it has a long taproot but with very poor lateral root development. Its trunk is erect with dark-brown bark, which contains the yellow, gummy, bitter latex. It has a dense pyramidal crown and can grow to a height of 15 m.

Leaves are thick, leathery, dark-green, slight glossy above, yellowish green and dull beneath with conspicuous pale midrib. It has a short stalk with ovate-oblong or elliptic shape and in an opposite arrangement.

The flower is unisexual and dioecious. However, male tree is extremely rare and the female trees have infertile staminoles. The male flowers are in clusters of 3 – 9 at the branch tips. The female flowers are borne simply or in pairs at the tip of young branchlets.

The fruit is round, purple in color and has a smooth, thick and tough pericarp. The pericarp contains bitter yellow latex and purple staining juice. The fruit has a prominent calyx at the stem end and 4 – 8 triangular, flat stigma lobes which always corresponds to the number of fleshy segments of the fruit. The fruit contains 4 – 8 triangle segments of white, juicy and soft flesh. The fruit may be seedless or having 1 to 5 fully developed seeds. The flesh is slightly acidic and adhered to the seeds.


In mangosteen, there is only one cultivar. The fruits are produced without fertilization being taken place i.e. apromatic. The progenies obtained from seeds are generally fairly uniform. However, the Department of Agriculture, Malaysia has registered two clones namely GA 1 and GA 2. Observation shows that there are two fruit forms-one with a flat apex, which tastes sweeter and another with pointed apex that is more acidic/ sourly.


Mangosteen requires high humidity and an annual rainfall of 1200 mm or more without prolonged dry months. However, it requires a short period of dry spell for flower induction. The optimum temperature range is 25 - 35°C.

Mangosteen prefers deep, fertile, well-drained and slightly acidic soils with high organic matter. It does not do well on soils with high pH. However, some of the productive mangosteen trees are found growing near the banks of streams, lakes, ponds or canals where the roots are almost constantly wet.




The germination rate, vigor and precocity of mangosteen is related more to the seed weight. Therefore, only plum and fully developed seeds are selected for planting. Mangosteen can also be propagated vegetatively by means of top grafting.

Field Establishment

The recommended spacing for mangosteen is 7 m x 7 m. Planting is preferably carried out at the onset of the rainy season as the young mangosteen is very sensitive to moisture stress. The planting holes should be of dimension not less than 60 cm x 60 m x 60 m. The top soil is mixed with 10 kg of organic manure and 0.5 kg of CIRP before filling the hole. Extreme care must be taken during planting because mangosteen has a long delicate top root and poor lateral root system. The seedlings are ready for field planting when they have reached a height of 30 cm or an age of 2 years. The newly planted seedlings require shade and mulching is highly recommended for better moisture retention.


An adequate and balance nutrient supply will promote early cropping of mangosteen. The manuring schedule is given in Table 1.

Table 1: Manuring schedule of mangosteen

Age (yr.)

Fertilizer type

Rate (kg) per tree per yr.



15: 15: 15




15: 15: 15




15: 15: 15




15: 15: 15




12: 12: 17: 2




12: 12: 17: 2




12: 12: 17: 2




Water Management

Although mangosteen requires a short dry spell to promote flowering, it needs adequate water supply during the fruiting season. Irrigation will ensure better fruit set and the production of quality fruit.


Pruning in mangosteen is only confined to the removal of dead and diseased branches.


Mangosteen is relatively free from pests and diseases. The major insect pests are the leaf eating insect (Stictoptera sp) which feeds on the young leaves and shoots, the leaf miner (Phyllocnictis citrella) which bores into the leaves, and beetle which lays eggs on the fruit and its larvae feeds on the flesh and seeds. The first two insect pests can be controlled by using methamidophos and fenthion, while the third, by destroying all infested fruits. The diseases include canker (Zignoella gorcirea), which affects the branch resulting in defoliation and death of the tree, and pink disease (Corticium salmonicolor) that infects the trunk and branch causing wilting and leaf drop.

The canker-infected trees should be destroyed by burning to avoid the spreading of the diseased. Pink disease can be controlled by removing the infected parts and treating with tridemorph and improving air circulation.   A physiological disorder called "gamosis" is found on mangosteen. The disorder is the exodus of yellow latex on the fruit surfaces and branches. The affected fruits become harden and the flesh tastes bitter. Gamosis also occurs inside the fruit. However, in most instances gamosis is the result of physical injury.


The fruits of mangosteen take 5 to 6 months to mature from fruit setting. Ripeness is judged by the full development of color and the softening of fruits. MARDI has developed a ripening index to determine the right timing for harvesting. The color index consists of six scales, 0 to 5. Fruits with color index 1 to 3 can be harvested for export market and for fruits to be served immediately index 4 to 5 is used. Extreme care should be taken to avoid damage to the skin of the fruits and dropping the fruits to the ground.

The ripening index of Mangosteen:

Color index 0 : Greenish-yellow with trace of red.

Color index 1 : Reddish-yellow with patches of red on the whole fruit.

Color index 2 : Reddish with patches of bright red.

Color index 3 : Dark brown

Color index 4 : Purplish-red

Color index 5 : Dark-purple

Under optimum conditions, Mangosteen usually begins to fruit 6 – 8 years after planting. Cropping is irregular and the yield varies from tree to tree and from season to season. The first crop may yield 100 – 300 fruits per tree and about 500 in a full-grown tree. The yield steadily increases up to 1000 – 2000 fruits per tree in the 10th – 20th year of cropping.

Ripe mangosteen can be stored for 3 – 4 weeks under a temperature of 5°c - 10°C.

Mangosteen is usually eaten fresh. The food value is given in Table 2. It is one of the finest fruit in the world; it is often called "queen of fruits". It fetches a high price in oversea market. The mangosteen flesh can also be canned or made into jam. However, the delicate typical mangosteen flavor is lost in canning. The seeds are sometimes eaten after boiling and roasting. The fruit rind has many uses, for example, in tanning leather, production of blank dye, jelly and in treating dysentery, skin disorders, cystitis, gonorrhea and glut.

Table 2: Nutrient Composition of mangosteen


Food composition/100 gm edible portion



Moisture, %


80.2 – 84.9

Energy, cal


60 - 63

Protein, g


0.5 -0.6

Fat, g


0.1 – 0.6

Carbohydrate, g


14.3 – 15.6

Total sugar, g


16.42 – 16.82

Fibre, g


5.0 – 5.1

Ash, g


0.2 – 0.23

Calcium, mg


0.01 - 8

Phosphorous, mg


0.02 - 12

Iron, mg


0.20 - 12

Sodium, mg



Potassium, mg



Vitamin B1, mg



Vitamin B2, mg



Niacin, mg



Vitamin C, mg


1.0 – 2.0



The mangosteen is expected to generate a total gross income of RM 244,185 per hectare and a total production cost of RM 391,705 during the estimated economic life span of 25 years. The estimated total net income which did not take into account on capital cost is estimated at RM 147,519 or equal to a yearly income of RM5,900 per hectare. The break-even point is estimated at 18th year after planting and the economic farm size is 0.7 hectare.

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