The six most common mango (Mangifera indica) varieties available in the United States are “Ataulfo,” “Francis,” “Haden,” “Keitt,” “Kent” and “Tommy Atkins,” according to the National Mango Board. Mangoes are tropical trees that thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. With protection from frost, and deep mulch in winter, it’s possible they may survive in zone 9.
Mangoes, members of the Plantae kingdom, belong to the Anacardiaceae family, known as the cashew family. They share their genus, Mangifera, with a handful of other mangoes, such as Mangifera minor, Mangifera gedebe and Mangifera mucronulata, which either do not fruit or produce inedible fruit. Other mango species with edible fruit include Mangifera foetida, Mangifera pentandra and Mangifera odorata. Mangifera indica’s species name, indica, references its origin in India.
Mangos are native to southern Asia. There are two main types, one from India and Myanmar, and one from Indochina and the Philippines. Indian mangoes produce deeply colored, uniform fruit. The other mangoes produce elongated, kidney-shaped fruit. Mangoes were introduced to Hawaii by 1825, to Florida in 1833 and to California in 1880.
Mangoes thrive in frost-free areas. If the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, flowers and young fruit often die. Trees usually suffer damage below 30 degrees F. Indian mangoes, the kind most often grown in North America, are intolerant of humidity and summer fog and require warm, dry weather to set fruit. Protect young plants in winter by covering them with burlap, providing a lath shelter, orchard heating or warming lights.
Of the six common Mangifera indica cultivars, four are commonly grown in California and Florida -- “Haden,” “Keitt,” “Kent,” and “Tommy Atkins.” All four originated as chance hybrid seedlings in Florida mango groves. The cultivar “Ataulfo” (Mangifera indica “Ataulfo”), a yellow mango with a sweet flavor and creamy texture, is grown primarily in Mexico, and “Francis” (Mangifera indica “Francis”) comes mainly from Haiti. It has a soft, juicy texture and is bright green with yellow overtones.
- Mango.org: Varieties and Availability
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Mangifera Indica Mango
- Virginia Tech: Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation: The Meanings of Latin Names
- Agroforestry.net: Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry: Mangifera Indica (Mango)
- California Rare Fruit Growers: Mango
- Texas A&M University Agrilife Extension: Mango
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Mango Growing in the Florida Home Landscape
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