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Garcinia mangostana, mangosteen (or, occasionally, mongosteen) is a medium to large evergreen tree in the Clusiaceae family, native to Malaysia, but cultivated occasionally throughout southeast Asia and in Central America and the U.S. for its edible fruit, which is considered by some commentators to be the “prince of fruits,” the most delicious of all tropical fruits.

Mangosteen trees reach heights of 9 to 20 m (30 to 65 ft). The simple, alternate, evergreen leaves are thick and leathery, elliptical to oblong, up to 25 cm (10 in) long. The fragrant rose-pink flowers, which occur singly, are around 5 cm (2 in) across, with 4 or 5 sepals and petals, and 8 to many stamens. The smooth round fruit is 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 in) across, dark purple or deep wine red, with sepals persisting on the thick fruit stalk. The fruit contains 5 to 7 triangular sections, each containing a large seed surrounded by fleshy white pulp (the aril) with a sweet-sour flavor.

Mangosteen fruits, which have a high sugar content, are generally eaten fresh or in salads, purees, or sorbets. The seeds can be used for oil (they contain up to 15% oil). Related species of Garcinia produce a yellow resin that is used for medicinal purposes and as a dye, and many of the species are used for timber for construction and furniture-making.

(Bailey et al. 1976, Flora of China 2012, Hedrick 1919, van Wyk 2005.)


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