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Mangosteen Trees

How do we recognize a mangosteen tree? More than knowing how a mangosteen fruit looks like and tastes like, we should also be aware of the actual tree that produces it.

Although a slow-grower, the mangosteen tree is erect, attaining twenty to eighty-two feet (or six to twenty-five meters) in height. It has a crown shaped like a pyramid. Its bark is dark in color and flaking while the inner bark contains yellow, gummy, bitter latex. The small-stalked yellowish-green leaves of the tree are oval or elliptic, thick, leathery, slightly glossy, and measure three to ten inches (or nine to twenty-five centimeters) long and two to four inches (or 4.5 to ten centimeters) wide. New growing leaves are rosy.

Mangosteen flowers are fleshy. They measure 1 1/2 to 2 inches (four to five centmeters) wide. In the same tree, flowers may be either male or both male and female (hermaphrodite). The former are thick with fleshy petals, yellowish-red inside, green with red spots on the outside, in groups of three to nine, and have many stames. The hermaphrodite flowers, on the other hand, are yellowish-green, blooms individually or in pairs, and fall off easily.

The mangosteen tree is best cultivated in the perfect soil and climate. Efforts have been made to make mangosteen orchards. But, because of their weird development patterns and unpredictable harvest times, these trees are then mostly found along rivers banks or lakes, as their roots require constant moisture.

Mangosteen trees take many years to produce fruit after planting. The tree will take about ten years or more to start bearing fruits from the time of planting. Unlike a common tropical fruit tree, the mangosteen tree will only reach the height of ten to twenty feet in the first few years of its life. But, as a tree matures to its full growth, it can produce approximately 500 mangosteen fruits per harvest.

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