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This tree is king

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VERSATILE MANGO The fruit is everybody's favourite
VERSATILE MANGO The fruit is everybody's favourite

The ubiquitous mango tree is a gardener's delight

Telugu: Mamidi, Hindi: Aam, Tamil, Malayalam: Manga. Kannada: Mavinhannu. Mangifera Indica - Family Anacardiaceae India. A native of South East Asia, medium or large-sized, it is a quick-growing tree. It bears dense mass of glossy, dark green, narrowly elliptic or lancealate, somewhat leathery, tapering leaves. It bears large panicles of small pinkish-white flowers at the end of the branchlets, usually from January to March followed three months later by the fruit. A second crop is sometimes obtained in August-September. The round oblong or ovoid fruit is somewhat flattened with a more or less pronounced break near the apex. It may weigh from 60 gm to 1 1/2 kg or more, has a thick or thin skin and when ripe, is reddish yellow. The flesh has a distinct pleasant aromatic flavour, juicy, sometimes fibrous. In the centre is the large fibrous ovoid flat seed, often referred to as stone. Ripe fruits are mostly eaten fresh as a dessert fruit, also made into jellies, jams, squash, ice-creams and preserves. The fruit contains sugar, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and Vitamin B and C. Raw mangoes are used in curries, chutneys, and juices.There are many varieties, different in size, shape, flavours and juiciness. The kernel of the seed is dried and powdered and then made into gruel and porridge in some parts of the country. It contains a large quantity of protein.Mango is considered an auspicious tree and in India it has been grown from early times. Propagation is by from seeds or grafting and it requires rich, deep, well-drained soil and manure once a year. Prune or cut all superfluous or weak branchlets. The mango tree thrives also in rainy climates. Also used as an ornamental tree, it puts out new leaves at the same time as its flowering.CHITRA RADHAKRISHNAN

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