The mangosteen tree is found predominantly in Southeast Asia in countries like China,
Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and
Philippines. There has been attempts to grow them in the
US but it has not been successful. In Hawaii, the
tree has not acclimatized and is rare in those islands. Neither
has it been successful in California. The soil and climate in
Florida is very unfavorable. Some plants have been grown for a
time in containers in greenhouses. One tree, protected and grown
in special soil lived to produce a single fruit before
succumbing to winter cold.
The mangosteen is ultra-tropical and
cannot tolerate temperatures below 40º F (4.44º C), nor above
100º F (37.78º C). Seedlings are killed at 45º F (7.22º C).
It is limited in Malaya to
elevations below 1,500 ft (450 m); In Madras it grows from
250 to 5,000 ft (76-1,500 m) above sea-level; and attempts to
establish it north of 200 latitude have failed.
Mangosteen ordinarily requires
high atmospheric humidity and an annual rainfall of 50 inches
(127 cm) and no long periods of drought. In Dominica,
mangosteens growing in an area having 80 inches (200 cm) of rain
yearly required special care, but another locality with 105
inches (255 cm) and better moisture- holding soil capacity,
Mangosteen is not adapted to
limestone and requires deep, rich organic soil, especially sandy
loam or laterite. In India, the most productive specimens are on
clay containing coarse material and a little silt. Sandy
alluvial soils are not suitable for the mangosteen tree and sand
low in humus contributes to the tree's low yields. Mangosteen
needs good drainage and the water table ought to be about 6 ft
(1.8 m) below ground level. The mangosteen must be sheltered
from strong winds and salt spray.
Technically, the so-called "seeds" are not true seeds but
adventitious embryos, or hypocotyl tubercles, inasmuch as there
has been no sexual fertilization. Some of the seeds are
polyembryonic, producing more than one shoot. The individual
nucellar embryos can be separated, if desired, before planting.
Inasmuch as the percentage of
germination is directly related to the weight of the seed, only
plump, fully developed seeds should be chosen for planting. Even
these will lose viability in 5 days after removal from the
fruit, though they are viable for 3 to 5 weeks in the fruit.
Soaking in water for 24 hours expedites and enhances the rate of
germination. Generally, sprouting occurs in 20 to 22 days and is
complete in 43 days.
The young plants take 2 years or
more to reach a height of 12 in (30 cm). Fruiting may take
place in 7 to 9 years from planting but usually not for 10 or
even 20 years.
propagation of the mangosteen is difficult.
-Morton, J. 1987. Mangosteen. p. 301–304. In:
Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.
Season In The Philippines
Mangosteen is among the exotic
fruits found at outdoor markets during harvest season in the
Philippines. Pictured is a vendor at the Kidapawan City's
Fruit Festival on August, 2007.