An Eco-sustainable World
ArborealSpecies Plant

Mangifera odorata

Mangifera odorata

The fragrant mango or kuweni mango, kuini, kuwini, saipan mango (Mangifera odorata Griff. 1854) 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. odorata.
The terms are synonymous:

– Mangifera foetida var. bakkill Miq.;
– Mangifera foetida var. bombom Blume;
– Mangifera foetida var. kawini Blume;
– Mangifera foetida var. mollis Blume;
– Mangifera foetida var. odorata (Griff.) Pierre;
– Mangifera oblongifolia Hook.fil..
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 specific epithet odorata refers to the intense odor emanating from its flowers.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Mangifera odorata is a plant native to tropical south-east Asia, corresponding to the Malaysian area.
Its natural habitat is unknown because it grows only in cultivated specimens and is believed to be a hybrid of Mangifera indica and Mangifera foetida; however in Malaysia it grows up to around 1000 m altitude in areas with high rainfall regularly distributed throughout the year.
It is grown throughout Southeast Asia, from peninsular Thailand, to Malaysia, Indonesia and the southern Philippines. It has also occasionally been cultivated in southern Vietnam and the Mariana Islands.

Description –
Mangifera odorata is an evergreen tree that grows up to 15-20 m in height, or slightly higher, with globose or almost columnar foliage.
The bark is greyish in color and exudes an irritating resin with an intense odor.
The leaves are oblong-lanceolate in shape, 15-35 cm long and up to about 10 cm wide, leathery.
The inflorescences grow in a terminal position, are panicle-shaped, up to 50 cm long, dense, with flowers of about 6 mm in diameter with intensely odorous yellowish petals tinged with pink.
The flowers, which give off a pleasant scent and appear yellowish-green in color, have a reddish-brown rachis. The petals are lanceolate and yellowish at the base but later turn dark red. The apex or tip of the petal is pale pink. The sepals, which appear to be red-brown or partially green, are oval in shape and about 3–4 mm long. Inside the flower there is a fertile stamen which serves for reproduction and is about 5 mm long. The staminodes are approximately 1.5–2 mm long. The ovary is round in shape, yellowish to dark red in color and approximately 3-5 mm long. The pollen is elliptical and tapers towards the poles.
The fruits are oblong, flattened drupes, 10-12 cm long, greenish in color when ripe, the pulp is yellowish, fibrous, with a strong odor and flavor of turpentine, sweet or spicy when consumed.
The seed inside is flat in shape with a hairy/fibrous surface.

Cultivation –
Mangifera odorata is a popular fruit-producing plant of local economic importance in areas where mango (Mangifera indica) cannot be grown satisfactorily because the climate is too humid.
The tree is commonly grown for its fruit in Borneo, Sumatra and Java, where it is mainly grown mixed with other tree species in home gardens and village orchards. It is also occasionally grown in southern Vietnam and on the Christmas and Guam islands.
For its cultivation, keep in mind that it is a plant of lowland tropical areas, which thrives at altitudes lower than 1,000 meters. It is most often found in areas with fairly abundant and evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year, although it also grows in areas with moderate rainfall as long as there are no prolonged periods of drought and in monsoon climates.
The plant grows well in areas where the average annual rainfall can range from 1,200 to 3,267 mm, the minimum annual temperature is 18 – 24 °C, the maximum annual temperature is 21 – 33 °C and the average annual temperature is 25 – 28 °C.
It is a plant that is quite tolerant of various types of wind and different soil conditions.
Seedlings usually take 6 – 9 years to produce fruit.
Furthermore, the tree can produce two crops per year in areas where two dry seasons prevail.
It is a polymorphic species, of which different forms are distinguished, among these:
– The Bembem, which is an inferior form. The fruit has a strong odor and flavor of turpentine which is reminiscent of the fruit of M. foetida, the leaves are leathery.
– Kaweni, which has a less fibrous pulp and a delicate turpentine flavour. The best forms are very palatable.
– Gandarassa, from the Banten area of West Java, is a rare and little-known form that is said to be superior to kaweni, less sweet but juicier and with a less strong smell.
– The Sangay, which is distinguished by its yellow color when ripe from the greenish “Huani” fruit.
This plant reproduces by seed (which is often polyembryonic); the varieties selected for grafting.

Customs and Traditions –
Mangifera odorata is a plant known by various common names, including: “bembem”, “kuweni”, “kaweni” (Indonesian); “wani”, “huani” (Malay); “fragrant mango”, “kuweni mango”, “kuini”, “kuwini”, “saipan mango” (English); “mangue odorante”, “manguier à fruit odorant”, “manguier odorant” (French); “juani”, “kuwini” (Spanish).
The fruits should be eaten fully ripe and peeled, contact with the immature pulp can cause serious allergic reactions. The wood, of poor quality, is rarely used.
While the fruit can be eaten raw, it is usually prepared or incorporated into something else, such as chutneys. The fruit pulp of M. odorata is also a good source of nutrition. When M.odorata has not reached maturity, its pulp is a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C and vitamin E”.
The ripe pulp is good to eat due to the presence of proteins, ashes, fats, soluble carbohydrates and vitamin B.
The seed kernel of the fruit is rich in fats, proteins, carbohydrates and ash.
The peel or skin is an excellent source of fiber, minerals, β-carotene and ascorbic acid.
Other uses include agroforestry uses. The plant, with its canopy, is suitable in permaculture systems, where it is traditionally grown with vegetables or bananas under it.
The wood is used locally under the name “machang,” but is reportedly of poor quality.
From an ecological point of view, this plant is a source of nourishment for: Bactrocera dorsalis, Ciripestis eutraphera, Coptotermes, Coptotermes cuvignathus, Cryptorhynchus frigidus, Deanolis albizonalis, Marasmiellus scandens and Marasmius crinis-equi.
As regards its state of conservation, this plant is not detected in nature and the detection data are considered, however, lacking and are not cataloged as endangered, threatened or extinct. Its genetic material is stored in germplasm repositories where it can be used for future cultivars and research uses. For this reason the plant is classified as “Data Deficient” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (2013).

Preparation Method –
Mangifera odorata is a plant known and cultivated both for food and medicinal purposes.
The fruits are eaten raw or cooked. They have a yellow-orange and firm pulp, fibrous, sweet and sour, juicy, with a pungent odor and turpentine flavor in some forms.
The best forms are much appreciated as table fruit. Fruits must be peeled very often due to the presence of an acrid juice in the peel, which can also be reduced by macerating in diluted lime water before consumption.
The fruits are also used to make chutneys and pickles.
From the grains of the seeds a sort of flour is obtained which is used in the preparation of delicacies such as “dodol” (made from glutinous rice) and “jenang pelok” (a thick poppy preparation obtained from turmeric rhizomes).
It also finds use in folk medicine, where the bark is recommended for external application in hysteroepilepsy, in the form of a compound similar to a cosmetic mixture.

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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