Mangoes are juicy stone fruit (drupe) from numerous species of tropical trees belonging to the flowering plant genus Mangifera, cultivated mostly for their edible fruit.
The majority of these species are found in nature as wild mangoes. The genus belongs to the cashew family Anacardiaceae. Mangoes are native to South Asia, from where the “common mango” or “Indian mango”, Mangifera indica, has been distributed worldwide to become one of the most widely cultivated fruits in the tropics. Other Mangifera species (e.g. horse mango, Mangifera foetida) are grown on a more localized basis.
Mango trees grow to 35–40 m (115–131 ft) tall, with a crown radius of 10 m (33 ft). The trees are long-lived, as some specimens still fruit after 300 years. In deep soil, the taproot descends to a depth of 6 m (20 ft), with profuse, wide-spreading feeder roots and anchor roots penetrating deeply into the soil. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, 15–35 cm (5.9–13.8 in) long, and 6–16 cm (2.4–6.3 in) broad; when the leaves are young they are orange-pink, rapidly changing to a dark, glossy red, then dark green as they mature. The flowers are produced in terminal panicles 10–40 cm (3.9–15.7 in) long; each flower is small and white with five petals 5–10 mm (0.20–0.39 in) long, with a mild, sweet fragrance. Over 500 varieties of mangoes are known, many of which ripen in summer, while some give a double crop. The fruit takes four to five months from flowering to ripen.
The ripe fruit varies in size, shape, color, and eating quality. Cultivars are variously yellow, orange, red, or green, and carry a single flat, oblong pit that can be fibrous or hairy on the surface, and which does not separate easily from the pulp. The fruits may be somewhat round, oval, or kidney-shaped, ranging from 5–25 centimetres (2–10 in) in length and from 140 grams (5 oz) to 2 kilograms (5 lb) in weight per individual fruit. The skin is leather-like, waxy, smooth, and fragrant, with color ranging from green to yellow, yellow-orange, yellow-red, or blushed with various shades of red, purple, pink or yellow when fully ripe.
Ripe intact mangoes give off a distinctive resinous, sweet smell. Inside the pit 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) thick is a thin lining covering a single seed, 4–7 cm (1.6–2.8 in) long. Mangoes have recalcitrant seeds which do not survive freezing and drying. Mango trees grow readily from seeds, with germination success highest when seeds are obtained from mature fruits.