An Eco-sustainable World
ArborealSpecies Plant

Mangifera zeylanica

Mangifera zeylanica

The Sri Lanka wild mango (Mangifera zeylanica (Blume) Hook.fil., 1878) is an arboreal species belonging to the Anacardiaceae family.

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Division Magnoliophyta,
Class Magnoliopsida,
Subclass Rosidae,
Sapindales Order,
Family Anacardiaceae,
Genus Mangifera,
Species M. zeylanica.
The term is synonymous:
– Buchanania zeylanica Blume, 1851.

Etymology –
The term Mangifera comes from the Indian word mángo, name of a fruit, and from féro porta: which produces fruits similar to those of a mango.
The epithet zeylanica comes from the Latin zeylanica, that is, from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), in reference to the area of origin.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Mangifera zeylanica is a wild, evergreen species endemic to Sri Lanka. Its natural habitat is mainly that of the forests of intermediate and humid areas up to 800 meters, but it can also be found in the Dry Zone along watercourses and in the wet areas of valleys. It also grows, at low population density, scattered here and there in forests and, like many native plants, is declining in unprotected areas.

Description –
Mangifera zeylanica is a large, majestic, slow-growing evergreen tree that can reach 35 meters in height.
It has a straight trunk, up to 90 cm in diameter, and has no buttresses. The bark of older trees is rough, deeply fissured, with stripes 2–3 cm wide and dark to light brown in color. The inner bark is orange-brown. The wood is greyish white, soft and coarse-grained.
The leaves are dark green, stiffly leathery, hairless and exude a mango aroma when damaged. The leaves are scattered, partly aggregated at the ends of the twigs. They have a spatulate or obovate-oblong or oblanceolate shape, from 1.5 x 4 to 5 x 16 cm, usually 3 x 9 cm, tapering towards the base, with a rounded apex in adult trees and a pointed apex of 7–13 cm in saplings . The margins are slightly curved and narrowly running at the base along the petiole. The midrib is raised on both leaf surfaces. Nerves: lateral nerves from 7 to 14 pairs. The petiole is thin, 1–3 cm.
The flowers are grouped in inflorescences; these are hairless, erect panicles, up to 20 cm long, terminal. The flowers are whitish and creamy yellow, 4 mm in diameter, not glomerulated. Lanceolate, minute, deciduous bracteoles. thin pedicel, 1 mm. The petals are twice as long as the sepals. The sepals are 5, ovate, acute, 2 x 1.5 mm. The petals are 5, elliptical, 3.5 x 2 mm. Large, cushion-shaped disc with 5 globose lobes. 1 fertile stamen (rarely 2), 2 mm long.
The ripe fruit is yellowish in color and with a red tinge. It has the shape of a mango, ovoid, slightly flattened, with a small beak, up to 6.5 x 5 x 4 cm, and a thin peel. When ripe, that is, when it falls from the tree, it is very juicy and fluid with soft, fine fibers. The yellow pulp has a pleasant sweet flavour, but is slightly acidic when unripe. Hard endocarp with longitudinal veins, 5 x 2.5 x 3 x 12 cm.

Cultivation –
Mangifera zeylanica is an evergreen tree that produces tasty fruit but is not yet in cultivation.
It is a very rare plant in nature and in decline.
It is a rarely cultivated species and sometimes used as a rootstock for Mangifera indica.
Propagation occurs in nature by seed.

Customs and Traditions –
Mangifera zeylanica is one of the two tallest trees in the Anacardiaceae family. The fruits are edible and have an excellent taste.
The plant is known by various common names including: “atamba” (ඇටඹ), “aetamba”, “wal amba” (Sinhalese); and “kaddu-ma” in Tamil; “Ceylon mango”, “Sri Lankan mango”, “wild mango” (English); “mangueira de Ceilão” (Portuguese).
The plant was first described by the noted British botanist and explorer Joseph Dalton Hooker in 1876.
The fruit is eaten by villagers.
The softwood was used to make tea cases and the like. The tree is not cultivated, but could be used to cross-breed and improve mango varieties and as a rootstock.
Locally the wood, which is greyish-white in colour, is soft, coarse-grained and has been used for brake blocks of railway carriages, packing cases, etc.
It is also used to make everyday objects, small boats and as fuel.
All parts of the plant have been variously used in traditional medicine and today it is a possible source of polyphenolic compounds, in particular mangaferin, extracted from the bark, which has demonstrated interesting properties in the fight against heart disease and cancer.
In the agroforestry field, the tree could be used in selection programs to improve mango varieties.
From an ecological point of view, it is underlined that it is a rare plant and that it is in decline due to habitat loss. In fact, it has been designated as “vulnerable” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (2010).

Preparation Method –
Mangifera zeylanica is a plant whose fruits are edible raw.
They have an excellent flavour, pleasantly sweet when fully ripe, that is, when they fall naturally from the tree.
It is occasionally eaten raw or pickled (but it is not good).
All parts of the plant have been variously used in traditional medicine.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

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Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and food uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; we therefore decline any responsibility for their use for healing, aesthetic or food purposes.

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