As well as being a rarity outside it's natural habitat, the mangosteen tree is one of great importance,
primarily for the beneficial nutrients and antioxidants that are found in the exotic mangosteen fruit. The
mangosteen plant should not be confused with the ordinary mango plant, as the two are neither related or anything
like each other.
Although nobody seems to know for sure where the mangosteen was first cultivated, it has been closely linked
with Malaysia. The mangosteen plant is also grown in Thailand, Burma and The Philippines. In these areas of Asia,
the Mangosteen is hailed as the "Queen of Fruits." or 'Fruit of the Gods.
The mangosteen or Garcinia Mangostana plant is part of a family of mainly tropical shrubs and trees known as the
Guttiferae. Despite it's rise in popularity, there is a distinct lack of information regarding the origins of the
mangosteen plant and no one even knows for sure where and when the mangosteen plant was first cultivated. However,
it is strongly believed that it first originated in the Moluccas, while some experts say that mangosteen fruit
trees were first domesticated in Thailand or Burma. For many years now, the fruit of the mangosteen tree has been
shipped from Singapore to Calcutta and then on to countries like China, for medical purposes.
In the world we live in today, where we focus on the frenzied commercialism that surrounds us, even the
mangosteen has been promoted for the use of network or multi level marketing. Much of this is explained by the
forty odd types of xanthones which have been found in the mangosteen fruit, especially in the rind or hull.
Each type of xanthone is believed to have special effects on the body. What makes the mangosteen more remarkable
is that there are only two hundred known xanthones in nature and since the mangosteen has over forty of them, this
makes it the most xanthone rich product in the world.
The mangosteen tree is a slow growing, erect tree with a pyramidal crown that attains roughly twenty to eighty
feet in height and a twenty to thirty feet spread in diameter. It has a dark brown or nearly black flaking bark,
with the inner bark containing a bitter tasting, yellowish, gummy latex.
The mangosteen tree produces fruit that is capped by the prominent calyx at the stem end with four to eight
triangular, flat remnants of the stigma in a rosette at the apex. The fruit itself is round, with dark purple to
red purple external skin.
In Asia, the mangosteen tree sometimes produces two crops of fruit - one in autumn and one in early summer
Although and is not adapted to limestone type soil, it does best in deep, rich organic soil. In fact in places such
as India, the most productive specimens are on clay containing much coarse material and a little silt together with
good drainage. In more ways than one, the mangosteen tree is unparalleled in its uniqueness.