• Purple Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana)

Purple mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana)

Other names include dao nian zi and shan zhu, mangostan, mangosteen, purple mangosteen, mangoestan, mangoestanier, mangoustan, mangoustanier, mangoestan, manggis, manggustan, mongkhut, mangkhut and cay mang cut.

The purple mangosteen is one of the most praised of all tropical fruits and it is commonly referred to as the "Queen of fruits"

The purple mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. It is grown widely in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Australia. The dark purple fruit with its sweet, white edible segments is considered a delicacy.

The purple mangosteen tree has a straight, central trunk and grows to a medium height of 20 ft to 40 ft. The purple mangosteen bark is slightly scaly and has a sooty brown or black colouration. Its low branches and lush foliage provide good shade in private gardens. Purple mangosteen leaves are simple, thick and have a slight sheen. The purple mangosteen's wide and fleshy flowers may be male or hermaphrodite on the same tree.

The purple mangosteen's round fruit is initially a crisp green, and ripens to a deep, purplish burgundy. A firm outer rind and a crown of sepals encase four to eight luscious, white segments. It is possible to predict the number of segments in the purple mangosteen fruit as they always correspond with the number of lobes found at the apex of the fruit. The purple mangosteen fruit may be seedless or have one to five fully developed seeds, ovoid-oblong and somewhat flattened, that cling to the flesh. To avoid picking fruits with too many seeds, a general rule is to choose fruits with the largest number of lobes, and hence, the largest number of segments. The segments are arranged centrally and can be easily loosened with the fingers. The fruit is popular for its delicate flavour, subtle sweetness and melting texture.

Besides being enjoyed raw, the purple mangosteen fruit is also made into a Malay savoury preserve known as halwa manggis (manggis for “mangosteen”). Variations include mangosteen jam, juices, jellies and sorbet. A refreshingly tasty dessert can be created by adding fresh purple mangosteens to sherbet or ice-cream. Unlike the durian which is believed to be “hot” for the body, the Chinese believe that the purple mangosteen is “cooling”.

The rind of the purple mangosteen fruit is rich in tannin and commonly used as an astringent. It is also prescribed as a curative for dysentery, diarrhoea and cholera. In Indonesia, the bark and skin are prescribed for high fever.

The tannin from the purple mangosteen fruit is also extracted and used in textile and dye industries.

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Purple Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana)

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Tags: Garcinia, mangostana, Exotic, Rare, Spice, Fruit, Tree, Plant

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