The mango is native to southern Asia, especially Burma and eastern India. It spread early on to Malaya, eastern Asia and eastern Africa. Mangos were introduced to California (Santa Barbara) in 1880.
The mango exists in two races, one from India and the other from the Philippines and Southeast Asia. The Indian race is intolerant of humidity, has flushes of bright red new growth that are subject to mildew, and bears monoembryonic fruit of high color and regular form. The Philippine race tolerates excess moisture, has pale green or red new growth and resists mildew. Its polyembryonic fruit is pale green and elongated kidney-shaped. Philippines types from Mexico have proven to be the hardiest mangos in California.
The mango must have warm, dry weather to set fruit. In southern California the best locations are in the foothills, away from immediate marine influence or in the warmest cove locations in the California Central Valley.
The fruits are 2 to 9 inches long and may be kidney shaped, ovate or (rarely) round. They range in size from 8 ounces to around 24 ounces. The leathery skin is waxy and smooth, and when ripe entirely pale green or yellow marked with red. The skin is not edible.
The flesh of a mango is peachlike and juicy with a hint of pineapple flavor. The flavor is pleasant and rich and high in sugars and acid. The mango is the apple (or peach) of the tropics, and one of the most commonly eaten fruits in tropical countries around the world. The fruit is grown commercially on a small scale in Florida. In California a large planting in the Coachella Valley has now reached production stage.
Nutrition and consumption: Mangoes are high in Vitamin A, and contain beta carotene. The darker orange flesh has the most vitamin A, but without a doubt all mangoes have a lot of vitamins and minerals. Mangoes are a good source of Vitamin C too!