Pistachio

PISTACHIO

B/W sketch

Pistacia vera L.

Anacardiaceae

Common Names: Pistachio, Pistache.

Related Species: Mt. Atlas Pistache (Pistacia atlantica), Chinese Pistache (P. chinesis), Terebinth Pistache (P. terebinthus)

Distant Affinity: Cashew (Anacardium occidentale), Mango (Mangifera indica), Ambarella (Spondias cytherea), Yellow Mombin (Spondias mombin), Red Mombin (Spondias purpurea), Imbu (Spondias tuberosa) and others.

Origin: The pistachio tree is native to western Asia and Asia Minor,from Syria to the Caucasus and Afghanistan. Archaeological evidence in Turkey indicate the nuts were being used for food as early as 7,000 B.C. The pistachio was introduced to Italy from Syria early in the first century A.D. Subsequently its cultivation spread to other Mediterranean countries. The tree was first introduced into the United States in 1854 by Charles Mason, who distributed seed for experimental plantings in California, Texas and some southern states. In 1875 a few small pistachio trees, imported from France were planted in Sonoma, Calif. In the early 1900’s the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture assembled a collection of Pistacia species and pistachio nut varieties at the Plant Introduction Station in Chico, Calif. Commercial production of pistachio nuts began in the late 1970’s and rapidly expanded to a major operation in the San Joaquin Valley. Other major pistachio producing areas are Iran and Turkey and to a lesser extent, Syria, India, Greece, Pakistan and elsewhere.

Adaptation: Pistachios thrive in areas which have winters cool enough to break bud dormancy and hot, long summers. They are drought resistant and very tolerant of high summer temperatures, but cannot tolerate excessive dampness and high humidity. The tree has about the same cold resistance as almonds and olives but flowers later in spring than almonds. Chill requirements are estimated at 600 to 1,500 hours. In this country the pistachio is best adapted to the hot, drier regions of California and the Southwest, especially California’s central valley and southern California inland areas. Pistachio trees are not particularly suitable as container plants.

DESCRIPTION

Growth Habits: The pistachio is a broad, bushy, deciduous tree which grows slowly to a height and spread of 25 to 30 feet, with one or several trunks. The trees are inclined to spread and droop, and may initially need staking. Their open habit and attractive foliage make them valuable ornamentals. Under favorable conditions pistachio trees live and produce for centuries.

Foliage: The large, grayish leaves have 3 to 5 roundish, 2 to 4 inch-long leaflets.

Flowers: Pistachios are dioecious with male and female flowers on separate trees. Male and female trees must be present for fruit to set, or a branch from a male tree may be grafted on a female tree. The small, brownish green flowers are without petals and borne on axillary racemes or panicles in early summer. Wind carries the pollen from the male to the female flowers.

Fruit: The reddish, wrinkled fruits are borne in heavy clusters somewhat like grapes. Although known as a nut, the fruit of the pistachio is botanically a drupe, the edible portion of which is the seed. The oblong kernel is about 1 inch in length and 1/2 inch in diameter and protected by a thin, ivory-colored, bony shell. Normally the shells split longitudinally along their sutures when mature. Under unfavorable conditions during nut growth, the shells may not split open. The color of the kernel varies from yellowish through shades of green, which extends throughout the kernel. In general the deeper the shade of green, the more the nuts are esteemed. Pistachio nuts are rich in oil, with an average content of about 55%. The trees begin bearing in 5 to 8 years, but full bearing is not attained until the 15th or 20th year. Pistachios tend toward biennial bearing, producing heavy crop one year followed by little or none the next. Production of nuts is also influenced by drought, excessive rain, heat or cold and high winds.

CULTURE

Location: Pistachios should be planted in full sun. The size of the slow growing trees can be further controlled by pruning. When planting, avoid rough handling since the budded tops are easily broken away from the understock.

Soil: The trees do best on soils that are deep, friable and well drained but moisture retaining. It can, however, survive in poor, stony, calcareous, highly alkaline or slightly acid, or even saline soils. The root is deeply penetrating.

Irrigation: Pistachios will tolerate considerable drought but do best with deep, infrequent waterings.

Fertilization: Since pistachios grow slowly, they do not require large quantities of nitrogen fertilizer. A spring feeding of a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 NPK should be adequate.

Pruning: Pruning can be important to commercial growers in order to shape the trees for mechanical harvesting, but less so for the home orchardist. The trees should be trained to a modified central leader with 4 or 5 main scaffold limbs branching about 4 ft. from the ground. After initial training, little pruning is needed except to remove interfering branches. Heavy pruning reduces yield.

Propagation: The pistachio is usually propagated in California by budding or grafting selected scions onto seedling stocks of P. atlantica, P. terebinthus and P. integerrima. These rootstock species are used because of their vigor and resistance to nematodes and soil borne fungi.

Pests and Diseases: A number of fungi attack the pistachio. The most serious fungal disease in California is Verticillium wilt, which can quickly kill trees of varying age. Most pistachios are now grafted to Verticillium resistant P. integerrima rootstock. The trees are also sensitive to the oak root fungus, Armillaria mellea. Insect pests include the aphid, Anapleura lentisci and several species of leaf-footed bugs and stink bugs. The nuts are also very attractive to squirrels and some birds, including bluejays and woodpeckers.

Harvest: The nuts are harvested when the husk or hull covering the shell becomes fairly loose. A single shaking will bring down the bulk of the matured nuts, which can be caught on a tarp or canvas. A fully mature tree may produce as much as 50 pounds of dry, hulled nuts. The hulls should be removed soon after to prevent staining of the shells. To enhance splitting, the hulled nuts may then be dipped into water to moisten the shell and spread out in the sun to dry. One method of salting the split nuts is to boil them in a salt solution for a few minutes, then redry and store them. Stored in plastic bags pistachios will last for at least 4 to 6 weeks in the refrigerator. Frozen they will last for months.

The pistachio is unique in the nut trade due to its semi-split shell which enables the processor to roast and salt the kernel without removing the shell, and which at the same time serves as a convenient form of packaging. About 90% of California pistachios are consumed as in-shell snacks. Shelled pistachios are utilized commercially in confectionery, ice cream, candies, sausages, bakery goods and flavoring for puddings. They can also be added to dressings, casseroles and other dishes.

Commercial Potential: Pistachio nuts are considered one of the prime edible nuts, along with almonds, macadamias and cashews. The production of pistachio nuts in California has increased dramatically in recent years, from some 4-1/2 million pounds in 1977 to over 80 million today. With additional promotion, production is estimated to ultimately exceed 129 million pounds.

CULTIVARS

Many varieties of pistachio have been developed, because the crop has been grown for several thousands of years. In California some 13 cultivars have been tested, including Kerman, Ibrahmim, Owhadi, Safeed, Shasti and Wahedi (largest nuts of any cultivar). The first nut bearing cultivars tested at Chico, Calif. were Bronte, Buenzle, Minassian, Red Aleppo, Sfax and Trabonella. Kerman is liked by importers and processors for its size, crispness and snap when eaten. A sister seedling of Kerman, Lassen, also produces good quality large-sized nuts. The standard male cultivar is Peters. The Kerman and Peters cultivars are more fully described below.

Kerman
Female. Nut above average in size. Shells split well, are easily opened by hand. Kernel size above average, of high quality, readily shaken or knocked from tree when ripe. Tree vigorous, upright-spreading. Blooms late, produces heavily but biennially. By far the leading commercial cultivar in the U.S. Originated in Chico, Calif. from seeds imported from Iran.
Peters
Male. Good producer of pollen, its blossoming coinciding with early blossoming cultivars, as well as the later blooming Kerman. Has a tendency to be a loppy, weak grower, especially when propagated on P. vera roots. Originated in Fresno, Calif. by A. B. Peters.

FURTHER READING

  • Duke, James A. CRC Handbook of Nuts. CRC Press. 1989. pp. 240-243.
  • Robert and Lance Walheim. Western Fruit and Nuts. HP Books, Inc. 1981. p. 166.

See Index of CRFG Publications, 1969 – 1989 and annual indexes of Fruit Gardener for additional articles on the pistachio.


Here is the list of additional CRFG Fruit Facts.


© Copyright 1997, California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.
Questions or comments? Contact us.

Fruit Cultural Data — P

 

Key
Chill Hours between 32°F and 45°F, less hours above 65°F
Water D = dry, W = wet, M = medium
Genus Species Common Name Harm Kill Chill Water Soil/pH
Pachyrhizus erosus Jicama 32°F 20°F
Panax quinquefolium Ginseng -10°F -30°F
Pandanus odoratissimus Pandanus
Pandanus veitchii Striped Screw Pine
Papea capensis South African Cherry
Parkia biglobosa African Locust
Parmentiera alata Mexican Calabash
Parmentiera edulis Guajilote 32°F 28°F
Passiflora alata Fragrant Granadilla 30°F 28°F
Passiflora antioquiensis Banana Passion Fruit
Passiflora caerulea Blue Passion Flower 20°F
Passiflora cincinnata Crato Passion Fruit
Passiflora edulis Purple Passion Fruit 30°F 24°F 6.5-7.5
Passiflora edulis var. flavicarpa Yellow Passion Fruit 26°F
Passiflora foetida Love-in-a-mist 30°F 28°F
Passiflora herbertiana Passion Flower
Passiflora incarnata Maypop 28°F 20°F
Passiflora laurifolia Jamaican Honeysuckle
Passiflora ligularis Sweet Granadilla 26°F W
Passiflora maliformis Sweet Calabash Warm
Passiflora mollissima Banana Passion Fruit <28°F
Passiflora platyloba Montesa Granadilla
Passiflora quadrangularis Giant Granadilla 30°F 28°F W
Passiflora serrato Digitata
Passiflora serrato digitata Tagua-Tagua
Passiflora vitifolia Grape-leaved Passion Fruit
Passiflora Buah Susu
Pereskia aculeata Barbados Gooseberry 30°F 25°F
Persea americana Avocado 28°F 0
Persea americana drymifolia Mexican Avocado 25°F 6-8
Persea borbonia Bay Tree
Persea nubigena Guatemalan Avocado
Persea scheideana Coyo
Phoenix canariensis Canary Island Date 25°F 18°F
Phoenix dactylifera Date Palm 26°F 22°F D Alkaline
Phoenix reclinata Senegal Date 27°F 25°F
Phoenix rupicola East Indian Wine Palm 26°F 22°F
Phoenix sylvestris India Date 22°F 20°F
Phoenix zeylanica Ceylon Date
Phyllanthus acidus Otaheite Gooseberry 32°F 28°F W Any
Phyllanthus emblica Emblic 30°F 28°F W 6.0-8.0
Physalis ixocarpa Tomatillo 32°F 28°F
Physalis lobata Purple Ground Cherry
Physalis peruviana Poha 31°F
Pimenta dioica Allspice Tree 30°F 26°F
Pinus edulis Pinyon Pine
Piper methysticum Kava Kava 32°F 28°F
Piper nigrum Black/White Pepper 32°F 32°F
Pistacia vera Pistachio 10°F 800-1000 D >7.0
Platonia insignis Bakuri W
Pleiogynium solandri See P. timorensis
Pleiogynium timoriensis Burdekin Plum 30°F 25°F
Podocarpus macrophyllus Japanese Yew 28°F 25°F
Pollia sorzogonensis Pollia
Pometia pinnata Fijian Longan 33F 30°F
Poncirus trifoliata Trifoliate Orange <-13°F
Poraquieba sericae Umari
Pourouma cecropiifolia Amazon Tree-Grape 38°F 32°F
Pouteria caimito Abiu 33°F 30°F W Acid
Pouteria campechiana Canistel 32°F 26°F D Any
Pouteria hypoglauca 28°F 27°F
Pouteria obovata Lucma 27°F
Pouteria sapota Mamey Sapote 32°F 28°F W
Pouteria viridis Green Sapote 32°F 26°F
Prinsepia sinensis -20°F
Prunus americana American Plum -35°F
Prunus armeniaca Apricot -15°F 350-1000
Prunus armeniaca dasycarpa Black Apricot
Prunus avium Sweet Cherry 700-1300
Prunus besseyi Western Sand Cherry
Prunus bokhara Bokhara Plum
Prunus carolinianus Wild Orange
Prunus cerasus Sour Cherry 1200
Prunus davidiana David Peach
Prunus depressa Sand Cherry
Prunus domestica Plum 250-500
Prunus domestica Plum, European 800-1100
Prunus dulcis Almond 0°F 200-700 M
Prunus fasciculata Wild Almond
Prunus lyonii Catalina Cherry
Prunus maritima Beach Plum
Prunus mume Ume (Japanese Plum/Apricot)
Prunus persica Peach -10°F -25°F 50-1100
Prunus persica nectarina Nectarine 200-800
Prunus pumila Sand Cherry
Prunus salicifolia Capulin 30°F 26°F
Prunus salicina Japanese Plum 700-1000
Prunus serotina Black Cherry -50°F
Prunus subcordata Sierra Plum
Prunus tomentosa Nanking Cherry -50°F
Prunus umbellata Sloe Plum W/D
Prunus virginiana Choke Cherry
Pseudanamomis umbellulifera Monos Plum 32°F 25°F
Psidium cattleianum Red Strawberry Guava 23°F W/D
Psidium cattleianum lucidum Yellow Strawberry Guava
Psidium friedrichsthalianum Costa Rica Guava
Psidium guajava Guava 26°F 4.5 – 9.4
Psidium guineense Brazilian Guava
Psidium littorale See P. cattleianum
Psidium microphyllum Puerto Rican Guava
Psophocarpus tetragonolobus Winged Bean
Psoralea esculenta Breadroot
Punica granatum Pomegranate (Wonderful) 5°F 0°F 0-200 D Any
Pyrus bretschneideris Chinese White Pear 7
Pyrus communis Pear 0-600
Pyrus cydonia Smyrna Quince
Pyrus pashia Wild Himalayan Pear
Pyrus pyrifolia Chinese Pear
Pyrus salicifolia Willow Leaf Pear
Pyrus serotina Asian Pear 450
Pyrus usseriensis Chinese Asian Pear -62°F 7
A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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Mango

MANGO

B/W sketch

Mangifera indica L.

Anacardiaceae

Common Names: Mango, Mangot, Manga, Mangou.

Related species: Bindjai (Mangifera caesia), Horse Mango (M. foetida), Kuweni mango (M. odorata).

Distant affinity: Cashew (Anacardium occidentale), Gandaria (Bouea gandaria), Pistachio (Pistacia vera), Marula (Sclerocarya birrea), Ambarella (Spondias cytherea), Yellow Mombin (Spondias mombin), Red Mombin (Spondias purpurea), Imbu (Spondias tuberosa).

Origin: The mango is native to southern Asia, especially Burma and eastern India. It spread early on to Malaya, eastern Asia and eastern Africa. Mangos were introduced to California (Santa Barbara) in 1880.

Forms: The mango exists in two races, one from India and the other from the Philippines and Southeast Asia. The Indian race is intolerant of humidity, has flushes of bright red new growth that are subject to mildew, and bears monoembryonic fruit of high color and regular form. The Philippine race tolerates excess moisture, has pale green or red new growth and resists mildew. Its polyembryonic fruit is pale green and elongated kidney-shaped. Philippines types from Mexico have proven to be the hardiest mangos in California.

Adaptation: Mangos basically require a frost-free climate. Flowers and small fruit can be killed if temperatures drop below 40° F, even for a short period. Young trees may be seriously damaged if the temperature drops below 30° F, but mature trees may withstand very short periods of temperatures as low as 25° F. The mango must have warm, dry weather to set fruit. In southern California the best locations are in the foothills, away from immediate marine influence. It is worth a trial in the warmest cove locations in the California Central Valley, but is more speculative in the coastal counties north of Santa Barbara, where only the most cold adapted varieties are likely to succeed. Mangos luxuriate in summer heat and resent cool summer fog. Wet, humid weather favors anthracnose and poor fruit set. Dwarf cultivars are suitable for culture in large containers or in a greenhouse.

DESCRIPTION

Growth Habit: Mango trees make handsome landscape specimens and shade trees. They are erect and fast growing with sufficient heat, and the canopy can be broad and rounded, or more upright, with a relatively slender crown. It is ultimately a large tree, to 65 ft., but usually half that size in California. The tree is long-lived with some specimens known to be over 300 years old and still fruiting. In deep soil the taproot descends to a depth of 20 ft, and the profuse, wide-spreading feeder roots also send down many anchor roots which penetrate for several feet.

Foliage: The leaves are dark green above and pale below, usually red while young. The midrib is pale and conspicuous and the many horizontal veins distinct. Full-grown leaves may be 4 to 12-1/2 in. long and 3/4 to 2 in. wide, and are generally borne in clusters separated by a length of naked stem bearing no buds. These naked stems mark successive flushes of growth. Each flush of growth will harden off to a rich green color before the next flush of growth begins.

Flowers: The yellowish or reddish flowers are borne in inflorescences which appear at branch terminals, in dense panicles of up to 2000 minute flowers. These flowers respire a volatile substance, causing allergic and respiratory problems for some persons. Pollinators are flies, hoverflies, rarely bees. Few of the flowers in each inflorescence are perfect, so most do not produce pollen and are incapable of producing fruit. Pollen cannot be shed in high humidity or rain. Fertilization is also ineffective when night temperatures are below 55° F. Mangos are monoecious and self-fertile, so a single tree will produce fruit without cross pollination. Polyembryonic types may not require pollination at all. Branches may be ringed to induce flowering, but the results are mixed.

Fruits: The fruits grow at the end of a long, stringlike stem (the former panicle), with sometimes two or more fruits to a stem. The fruits are 2 to 9 inches long and may be kidney shaped, ovate or (rarely) round. They range in size from 8 ounces to around 24 ounces. The flower scar at the apex is prominent, in some cultivars bulging from the fruit. The leathery skin is waxy and smooth, and when ripe entirely pale green or yellow marked with red, according to cultivar. It is inedible and contains a sap that is irritating to some people. The quality of the fruit is based on the scarcity of fiber and minimal turpentine taste.

The flesh of a mango is peachlike and juicy, with more or less numerous fibers radiating from the husk of the single large kidney-shaped seed. Fibers are more pronounced in fruits grown with hard water and chemical fertilizers. The flavor is pleasant and rich and high in sugars and acid. The seed may either have a single embryo, producing one seedling, or polyembryonic, producing several seedlings that are identical but not always true to the parent type. It is impossible to distinguish true-to-type from zygotic seedlings from the same fruit. Some seedlings produce numerous tiny, parthenocarpic fruits which fail to develop and abort. Mango trees tend to be alternate bearing.

CULTURE

Location: The mango grows to a good size and casts a dense shade, but the roots are not destructive. It requires full sun and perfect air drainage in winter. It does best at the top or middle level of a slope. A windbreak should be provided in exposed areas. The trees may also need staking. In the desert it needs the shade of other trees; or plant on the north side of the house. In the garden or near the coast, plant against a south wall, or in an area surrounded by paving, to provide maximum heat. In the greenhouse, full light and free air movement are important to avoid disease.

Soil: Mangos will grow in almost any well-drained soil whether sandy, loam or clay, but avoid heavy, wet soils. A pH between 5.5 and 7.5 is preferred. They are somewhat tolerant of alkalinity. For good growth, mangos needs a deep soil to accommodate their extensive root systems.

Irrigation: Irrigation should start when the weather warms: February in the desert, April at the coast. Continue every one to two weeks, more often in light soils, nearly continuously in the desert, until the fruit is harvested. Irrigation may be discontinued when rains are sufficient to maintain soil moisture. In the greenhouse keep watered until the fruit is harvested, then reduce to the minimum required to avoid wilting. Watering is then increased after one to two months to initiate a new bloom and growth cycle.

Fertilization: Mango trees require regular applications of nitrogen fertilizer to promote healthy growth flushes and flower production. Chelated micronutrients, especially iron, are also often necessary. A feeding program similar to one used for citrus is satisfactory, but do not fertilize after midsummer. Organic fertilizers perform best, since the trees are subject to fertilizer burn. Young trees are particularly sensitive to over-fertilizing, but respond well to fish emulsion. Sandy soils require more fertilizer than loam or clay.

Pruning: Healthy trees require little pruning, although pruning to stimulate new growth promotes uniform annual bearing. Removing some flower clusters during a heavy bloom year may also alleviate alternate bearing. Mangos may be pruned to control size in late winter or early spring without a loss of fruit. Sap and debris can cause severe dermatitis, similar to poison oak. It is best to avoid burning prunings or litter.

Frost Protection: During the first two years, the trees should be given some protection such as an overhead cover during any frost threat. Once the tree is 3 to 4 feet high, overhead protection is difficult but still worthwhile, especially if an unusual cold snap is predicted. Frost damage can also be avoided by erecting an overhead lath shelter, orchard heating, placing lights under the canopy, or using foam or straw trunk wraps. Do not prune dead parts until all frost danger is past.

Propagation:

Seedlings are a gamble. Supermarket fruits may have been treated to sterilize, or chilled too long to remain viable. These seeds are normally discolored gray. To grow mangos from seed, remove the husk and plant the seed (before it dries out) with the hump at soil level. The seeds normally germinate in two to four weeks, and do best with bottom heat. Multiple polyembryonic seedlings should be carefully separated as soon as they have sprouted so not to loose the cotyledons. Seedling mangos will bloom and bear in three to six years.

Some success at grafting can be obtained in April and September, but better luck is more likely during May through August. Small plants with a diameter of a pencil graft well with the common whip graft. On larger trees the crown groove bark graft allows several scions to be put on at once. Fully grown trees may be topworked by crown or groove bark graft, or prune hard and whip graft sprouts later. Plastic bagging with a few drops of moisture improves the graft’s chances of being successful.

Graft in the second year, using cleft, side or tongue (splice) graft in midsummer. Scion and stock should be swelling for a new flush of growth. Grafts are most successful if the leaves are allowed to remain below the graft, but remove suckers. Use pencil-sized scions of hard wood with three or four nodes. Cover with loose punctured white paper bag for shade.

If top working, do not dehorn the entire tree at one time; leave at least two fully leafed branches intact. Marcottage is feasible in humid climates or greenhouses, but results in few plants. Although budding is rare in California; it can be done by using a shield bud in an inverted T, at the moment the tree begins a new growth flush. Cuttings are rarely successful, although experiments have shown that rooting may be improved by treating with ethylene, which destroys the root-inhibiting hormone in the cambium.

The Mango is a suitable and productive tree for growing in a container or greenhouse. Start with established plants of named cultivars. Select the finest Indian cultivars, which are most rewarding for the effort involved. A large tub is required, with casters for easy moving. In the greenhouse, the atmosphere should be kept dry as possible to avoid anthracnose. Place a fan nearby to move the air around trees and use ventilators. The plants should be hosed down in the morning on a weekly basis to control mites. A regular spraying of appropriate pesticides for anthracnose and mealybug may also be needed.

The location of the intended planting will dictate the choice of cultivars. Seedlings selected under California conditions have provided cultivars suitable for coastal counties. Florida cultivars are generally more suitable in the desert and Central Valley.

Pests and Diseases: Scale, mealybugs and mites are frequent pests in the greenhouse and orchard. In the greenhouse, thrips often turn leaves rusty brown. Malathion is the conventional spray for insect pests; sulfur works on mites. Gophers are attracted to the roots. The flower panicles, young fruit and leaves are subject to powdery mildew (Oidium mangiferae), especially in rainy weather or frequent fog. A spray of powdered kelp at bud break will often control it. Sodium bicarbonate and fungicide sprays are also effective. Trees planted in pavement openings seldom develop mildew.

Bacterial spot (Colletotrichum oleosporides) distorts and turns developing leaves black and disfigures developing fruit. Infection may spread to fresh young growth. Anthracnose can be controlled with bimonthly applications of copper spray or captan as a growth flush begins, and until the flowers open. Resume spraying when the fruits begin to form. Mango trees are very sensitive to root loss that can occur from digging, transplanting or gopher damage. “Soft nose,” a physical disorder of shriveling at the fruit apex, seems associated with excessive nitrogen in soil. Exposed fruits sunburn in high temperatures.

Fruit Harvest: Mango fruit matures in 100 to 150 days after flowering. The fruit will have the best flavor if allowed to ripen on the tree, although winter-maturing fruits must be ripened indoors in coastal California. Ripening fruit turns the characteristic color of the variety and begins to soften to the touch, much like a peach. Commercial marketability requires 13% dissolved solids (sugars). When the first fruit shows color on tree, all of that size fruit or larger may be removed; repeat when remaining fruit colors. Do not store below 50° F.The fruit ripens best if placed stem end down in trays at room temperature and covered with a dampened cloth to avoid shriveling. Mangos ripen in June from January bloom in interior California, and October from April bloom on the coast. Less time is required to mature greenhouse fruit.

Commercial potential: The mango is the apple (or peach) of the tropics, and one of the most commonly eaten fruits in tropical countries around the world. The fruit is grown commercially on a small scale in Florida. In California a large planting in the Coachella Valley has now reached production stage. The quality of the fruit is generally comparable to Florida mangos, but has other advantages., i.e. the lack of fruit fly and seed weevil populations. Mexico, and to a lesser extent Central America, is a major supplier to U.S. markets today.

CULTIVARS

Aloha
Origin San Diego, Jerry Staedeli, 1971. From Hawaiian seed. Tree spreading, light bearer, according to rootstock affinity. Fruit large (14-18 oz.), dull yellow covered with red. Early (Oct-Nov). Susceptible to anthracnose. For coast.
Brooks
Origin Miami, 1916. Seedling of Sandersha. Tree somewhat dwarf. Fruit medium to large (10-20 oz.), kidney-shaped, green with yellow shoulder, rather fibrous. Very late. Resistant to anthracnose. For greenhouse and containers.
Cambodiana
Origin Miami, 1910. Seedling of Saigon. Philippine type. Fruit small to medium, elongated ovate, yellow-green, juicy, flavor acid. Early. For greenhouse.
Carabao
Origin Philippines. Philippine type. Fruit medium (10 oz.), elongated, kidney-shaped, light green blushed yellow. Seed very large, flesh stringy, acid, juicy. Early midseason. For greenhouse.
Carrie
Origin Delray Beach, Florida, 1940. Seedling of Sophie Fry. Tree dwarf. Fruit varies from small to 12 oz., regular ovate, green-yellow, fiberless, flavor high. Early. For foothills, interior and greenhouse.
Cooper (syn. Cooper No. 1 or 3)
Origin Hollywood, Floyd Cooper, 1948. Tree spreading, dense. Fruit large (16-20 oz.), long, green. Flesh high quality. Late. For foothills.
Costa Rica
Origin East Los Angeles, Gilbert Guyenne, 1980. >From seed from Costa Rica. Fruit small to 10 oz., elongated, flat, pale green, juicy. Very early. For coast and foothills.
Doubikin
Origin Kelmscott, West Africa, Arnold Doubikin, 1965. Two sibling seedlings of Kensington pass under this name. Tree dwarf, rounded, slow growing, fruits in two years from seed. Polyembryonic. Fruit round, large (12-16 oz.), midseason. For coast, foothills, greenhouse.
Earlygold
Origin Pine Island, Florida, 1943. Tree upright. Fruit medium to 12 oz., obliquely round, orange with red blush, fiberless, seed often abortive. Very early. Resistant to anthracnose. For coast.
Edgehill
Origin Vista, Calif., Paul Thomson, 1920s. Indian type. Tree upright, hardy, vigorous. Monoembryonic. Blooms early. Produces small to medium (8-12 oz.), almost fiberless fruit, green with red blush. Resists mildew, subject to soft nose. Midseason (Nov-Dec). For foothills.
Edward
Origin Miami, Edward Simmons, 1948. Hybrid of Haden X Carabao. Intermediate between Indian and Philippine forms. Tree dense, compact. Fruit medium to large, elongated ovate, apex often oblique, yellow green with red blush. Seed very small, easily removed. Flavor excellent. Early. For interior.
Fascell
Origin Miami, 1936. Seedling of Brooks. Pat. #451. Tree open, slow. Fruit medium to large, elongated flattened, yellow with pink blush, flesh acid. Early. For coast and inland.
Gouveia
Origin Honolulu, Ruth Gouveia, 1946. Tree upright, open, Fruit medium to large,(10-20 oz.), long ovate, green becoming bright red. Sweet, juicy, no fiber. Late, uneven ripening. For coast and inland.
Haden
Origin Coconut Grove, Capt. Haden, 1910. seedling of Mulgoba. Indian type. Tree spreading. Fruit large (to 24 oz.), regular ovate, yellow almost covered with red, flavor mild, little fiber. Early. Susceptible to anthracnose and alternate bearing, traits imparted to its progeny. For interior and greenhouse.
Irwin
Origin Miami, F.D. Irwin, 1945. Seedling of Lippens. Florida’s leading local market cultivar. Tree very small. Fruit medium, 12-16 oz., elongated, ovate regular in form, orange yellow with deep blush, flesh bland, fiberless. Mid-season. For foothills, interior, greenhouse.
Julie
Origin Trinidad. Tree dwarf, slow growing. Fruit small (6-10 oz.), flat oblong, obliquely almost two-nosed, orange, rather fibrous, juicy, sweet. Late. For containers, greenhouse.
Keitt
Origin Homestead, 1945. Probably seedling of Mulgoba. Fruit large (20-26 oz.), ovate with slightly oblique apex, green, flesh rich, fiber only around seed. Resists mildew. Late. For interior. Florida fruiting July Aug., sometimes to Sept.
Kensington Pride (syns. Pride of Bowen, Bowen Special)
Origin Bowen, Queensland, 1960s. Generally propagated as seedling strain. Polyembryonic. Tree rounded, vigorous. Fruit medium to large, almost round with pink blush. Flavor sweet. Standard Australian mango cv. Fruit tends to drop at small size. Midseason. For foothills.
Kent
Origin Coconut Grove, 1944. Seedling of Brooks. Tree upright. Fruit large (20-26 oz.), regular ovate, greenish yellow with red shoulder, flesh rich, fiberless. Late midseason. For interior.
MacPherson
Origin Encinitas, L.L. Bucklew, 1944. Tree dense, low branching. Fruit small (6-8 oz.), yellow-green with red blush, flesh fairly good. Midseason. For coast.
Manila
Origin Mexico, a seedling race common in Veracruz state. A seedling strain from Hawaii. Philippine type. Tree dwarf, dense. Fruit small to 10 oz., shaped long, flat, yellow, flavor sharp. Subject to anthracnose. Early (Oct-Dec), late picked fruit best. For coast and foothills.
Mulgoba
Origin Bombay; distinct from ancient cv. Mulgoa. Fruit medium, 16 oz., greenhouse.
Ott
Origin La Habra heights, William Ott, 1948. Seedling of Saigon. Tree dwarf. Fruit medium, to six inches, orange-yellow with pink blush. Season very early.
Piña (syn. Pineapple)
Origin Mexico, a seedling strain. Philippine type. Tree upright. Fruit small to 12 oz., shape ovoid, orange yellow. Flavor suggests pineapple. Early midseason (Nov-Dec). For foothills.
Pirie (syn. Paheri)
Origin India, ancient. Tree broad, spreading. Fruit small (8-10 oz.), almost round, apex oblique, yellow with red blush. Juicy, fiberless, rich flavor. Alternate bearing; blooms every 18 months. Early midseason. For greenhouse.
Reliable
Origin San Diego, Calif., Jerry Staedeli, 1966. Seedling of Sensation. Tree broad, dense, slow. Fruit size varies from 10-20 oz., shape oblong, yellow blushed red. Rarely misses a crop. Subject to anthracnose, soft nose. Long ripening season (Oct-Feb). For coast and foothills.
Sensation
Origin Miami, 1941. Tree broad, rounded. Fruit small, round with oblique apex, yellow with red blush, fibers few. Late. For interior.
T1
Origin Vista, Paul Thomson, 1969. Seedling of Edgehill. Tree low, spreading. Vigor dependent upon rootstock. Fruit medium to large, 6-8 inches, shape broad oval, green with red blush, fiberless. Subject to anthracnose, resists mildew, soft nose. Late midseason (Dec-Jan), very late on coast (Jan-Feb). For coast, foothills, interior, containers.
Thomson (syn. Thomson Large Seedling)
Origin Vista, Paul Thomson, 1966. Manila seedling, polyembryonic. Tree spreading, vigor dependent upon rootstock. Fruit small to medium, (6-12 oz.), yellow, shape flat, to eight inches. Resists mildew. High fiber under chemical fertilizer regime. Season early, long (September-November), ripens well indoors if picked prematurely. For coast.
Tommy Atkins
Originated from a seed planted in the 1920s at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Commercially grown for export in Florida. Tree full, dense. Fruit medium to large, 16 oz. with thick skin, regular ovate, orange-yellow covered with red and heavy purple bloom. Firm, juicy, medium fiber, fair to good quality. Flavor poor when over fertilized and irrigated. Resists anthracnose. Early, ripens well if picked immature. For interior.
Villaseñor
Origin Los Angeles, 1950s, Sr. Villaseñor. Tree dwarf, spreading, responds to strong rootstock. Fruit medium, to 12 oz., shape ovate, color greenish yellow, pink blush, flavor mild. Late midseason (Dec Jan). For coast, foothills.
Winters (syn, M20222, Southland)
Origin Miami, USDA, 1959. Seedling of Ono, Philippine type, polyembryonic. Tree broad, production variable. Fruit medium, to 14 oz., smaller in desert, shape half-round, yellow blushed red. Subject to anthracnose, resists soft nose. Parthenocarpic fruit will reach full size. Season midseason (Nov-Dec), ripens well if picked immature. For coast, foothills, interior.
Zill
Origin Lake Worth, 1930. Seedling of Haden. Tree very spreading, open. Fruit small, 8-12 oz., almost round, apex oblique, yellow with blush, little fiber. Ripens early. For greenhouse.

FURTHER READING

  • California Avocado Society Yearbook. 1940. pp. 7.
  • Collins. The Mango in Puerto Rico. USDA BPI Bulletin 28, 1903.
  • Gangolly, S. R. et al. The Mango. New Delhi, Indian Council of Agriculture Research, 1957.
  • Higgins. The Mango in Hawaii. Honolulu, Hawaii AES Bulletin 12, 1906.
  • Maxwell, Lewis S. and Betty M. Maxwell. Florida Fruit. Lewis S. Maxwell, Publisher. 1984. pp. 61-63.
  • Morton, Julia F. Fruits of Warm Climates. Creative Resources Systems, Inc. 1987. pp. 221-237.
  • Naik, K. C. and S. R. Gangolly. Monograph on Classification and Nomenclature of South Indian Mangos. Madras, Supt. of Government Press, 1950.
  • Ortho Books. All About Citrus and Subtropical Fruits. Chevron Chemical Co. 1985. pp. 61-64.
  • Pope, W. T. Mango Culture in Hawaii. Honolulu, Hawaii AES Bulletin 58, 1929.
  • Popenoe, F. W. The Mango in Southern California. Journal of Economic Botany, vol. 1, pp. 153-200.
  • Popenoe, W. Pollination of the Mango. USDA Bulletin 542, 1917.
  • Ruehle, G.D and R.B., Ledlin. Mango Growing in Florida. Univ. of Florida AES Bulletin, 1955.
  • Samson, J. A. Tropical Fruits. 2nd ed. Longman Scientific and Technical. 1986. pp. 216-234.
  • U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Yearbook, 1901, 1907, 1910.
  • Yee, W. The Manago in Hawaii. Honolulu, Univ. of Hawaii CES Circular 388, 1958.

See Index of CRFG Publications, 1969 – 1989 and annual indexes of Fruit Gardener for additional articles on the mango.


Here is the list of additional CRFG Fruit Facts.


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