Ready for Mangos?, Part VI

This installment concludes our survey of mango cultivars available at Richard Lyons’ Nursery. This year’s mango crop in southern Florida continues to show great potential. There has been no cold outbreak serious enough to damage either flowers or pollinators, and we are well beyond the statistical ‘dead of winter.’ March winds have started a little early, but the fruit on most trees is still too small to be blown off. Growers shouldn’t be surprised when strong winds do cause fruit drop, but this year the trees have flowered so prolifically that those inevitable losses will not diminish the yield on most trees in any meaningful way.

Rapoza This Hawaiian cultivar produces a vigorous midsize to large tree with a rounded canopy, and it holds up well in humid climates. Not only is the fruit fairly large, 14-28 oz., but the seed is small, so the fiberless, juicy flesh takes up over 85% of the capacity of the fruit. The mango is also anthracnose-resistant. Fruit ripens in July.

Rosigold Originating in Southeast Asia, Rosigold is among the earliest cultivars to ripen — from mid-March to June — and possesses fiberless, aromatic and sweet fruit that averages about 11 oz. Moreover, the tree is small, maturing at 15 ft. and capable of being maintained at 8 ft. without jeopardizing productivity.

S.T. Maui Here is another desirable Hawaiian cultivar which, like Rapoza, is well-suited to humid climates. The tree is a medium to large grower. Its roundish, attractively-colored, fiberless fruit is juicy and sweet-tasting. An admirer in southern Florida has referred to it as a ‘top tier mango’ of ‘superb’ eating quality. Ripening occurs in early summer.

San Felipe If you’re looking for a mango that grows vigorously and produces consistently, then San Felipe may be the one for you. Originating in western Cuba, this Haden-like cultivar reaches medium to large size and yields a good-looking, spicy, sweet fruit that matures in the 14-32 oz. range. Because ripening occurs early in the rainy season, this mango’s disease resistance is enhanced.

Tommy Atkins This Florida-bred cultivar, descended from Haden seeds planted in Broward County in the early 1920s, is known for its long shelf life, and it is the most widely-grown commercial mango in the New World. The tree grows to a large size and produces a very attractive, disease-resistant fruit that weighs in at just over 16 oz. on average. Ripening time is June and July.

Valencia Pride This is another in the long line of Florida cultivars developed from the Haden mango, and is one of the best-tasting of the late-season varieties. The vigorous tree can reach 50 ft., with a spreading, open canopy. It produces a strikingly-colored, S-shaped fruit noted for its aroma, smoothness and sweet taste. Mature weight is in the 21-32 oz. range, and ripening occurs from July to August.

Ready for Mangos?, Part V

Below are descriptions of even more of the mango cultivars available at Richard Lyons’ Nursery:

Mallika Great news: This cultivar, which should be picked green before breaking color, is an aro-matic, delicious, productive, disease-resistant mango that can be grown in small spaces, even on an apartment balcony. Terrible news: It is traditionally ripened in camel dung. Better news: If you hap-pen to run short of camel dung, you can ripen the fruit in a cardboard box at room temperature for 14-21 days. Weighing in at 10-18 oz., Mallika fruit matures in late June and July.

Nam Doc Mai This highly-sought Thai cultivar has been in Florida since 1973; it is considered the best of the Asian mangos. Fiberless, aromatic and very sweet, it can be grown in small yards and pruned to 10 ft. without damaging productivity. Nam Doc Mai fruit ripens in June and July and ranges in weight between 12 and 16 oz. The fruit can also be picked at a mature green state to dip in sauces or to make sweet preserves and pickles.

Naomi This was the first cultivar to be selected in the Israeli mango breeding program. Because of its origin, it should do well in hot climates, but also tolerate cooler winter conditions than normally experienced in southern Florida. Naomi grows into a medium-sized tree and produces a mildly sweet and nearly fiberless flesh. Weighing in at about 16 oz., the fruit ripens in mid-summer.

Okrung Like Nam Doc Mai, this cultivar was introduced in 1973 from Thailand, where it is com-monly consumed in combination with sticky rice. It rates very high on flavor and productivity. Mature trees are medium-sized and dense-growing. The juicy, somewhat-fibrous fruits reach about 8 oz. and ripen from June to August. The fruit can also be eaten green.

Palmer This cultivar dates back to a seed planted about 80 years ago in Miami, though it was not named until 1949. It produces a medium to large tree with an upright habit. The robust fruit, matur-ing to 20-30 oz. or more, possesses a mild, aromatic flavor with little fiber. Ripening occurs from July until early September. Because the skin of this mango often takes on a red-purple cast — or blush — far ahead of ripeness, it is very attractive, but that look sometimes leads to fruit being harvested before it’s mature.

Philippine Would you like a little uncertainty in your mango? Despite its name, this cultivar came to the US by way of Cuba. And in its homeland, it may be called Carabao instead of Philippine. This much is certain, however; the tree is a large, vigorous grower, well-adapted to the climate of south-ern Florida. The fruit — aromatic, rich, fiberless, and mildly sweet — matures in the 8-12 oz. range. Typically it ripens in the June-July time frame.

Pim Seng Mun (Phimsen Mun) A native of southeast Asia, this cultivar is particularly popular among fans of green mangos, because it features apple-like qualities — crisp, crunchy texture and pleasantly tart taste. Some aficianados add salt and Cayenne pepper to the green flesh. Allowed to ripen, the fruit is aromatic, smooth and sweet. Trees grow to a medium size, and the 8-oz. fruit ripens in June and July.

Ready for Mangos?, Part IV

Following are descriptions of more of the many mango cultivars available at Richard Lyons’ Nursery:

Jakarta The ripening season for this cultivar is long, from June to August. Developed by the Zill family in Boynton Beach, Jakarta produces aromatic, fiberless, richly-flavored fruit on a robust-growing tree. While not widely-produced commercially, this cultivar has come to occupy a niche in home gardens. Ripe fruit averages just over 16 oz. in weight.

Julie This cultivar, wildly popular in Jamaica and the Virgin Islands, boasts an extraordinary taste and a dwarf growth habit. Those characteristics make Julie a popular mango in home gardens of southern Florida, but its preference for more arid climates keeps it from being grown commercially. The fruit, averaging 6-10 oz. at maturity, ripens from June through July, but the period is known to fluctuate.

Keitt Developed in Homestead, this cultivar was selected and named in 1945. It is low in fiber and high in flavor, productivity and disease resistance, and has become a major commercial crop in many countries. It grows vigorously, but with a spreading, open canopy. The mature fruit weighs 2 lbs. and up and ripens from August into October, making it a late-season gem.

Kent This Coconut Grove cultivar was also selected and named in 1945. The canopy of this upright-growing tree should be managed to keep the crop from developing out of reach. The reward will be an aromatic, almost fiberless, rich-tasting fruit that matures at 20-26 oz. Kent is a fairly late producer, with ripening occurring from July through August, and sometimes into September.

Lancetilla This relative newcomer, introduced in 2001 out of Honduras by Dr. Richard Campbell, has a lot going for it: Aromatic and intensely sweet taste, fiberless texture, colorful skin, excellent disease resistance, and dwarf growth habit. In fact, this cultivar can be maintained easily at only 10 ft.! The fruit is sizable, 2-5 lbs., and matures from mid-August through September.

Lemon Meringue (a/k/a Po Pyu Kalay or Pu Pyi Klai) This Burmese cultivar derives its commercial name from its lemony aroma. Highly disease-resistant, it possesses a spicy, complex, tart-sweet taste. The midsize tree is a vigorous grower. Its fiberless, elongated fruit weighs 8-12 oz. and ripens in June and July.

Madame Francis Haiti is the home of this dessert mango, whose flesh has a spicy-sweet taste, with moderate fibers. The tree has a vigorous, open growth habit, maturing in the medium to large range, so should be pruned periodically following harvest. The kidney-shaped fruit weighs in at 16-24 oz. and ripens in June and July, though some commentators have noted that it can produce multiple crops.

Ready for Mangos?, Part III

Since the last installment in this series, area mangos have been showing signs of producing a bumper crop. But between now and ripening time, our capricious climate will play the role of a wild card in the process. Springtime winds frequently knock immature fruits to the ground, and unseasonally heavy rainfall can also take a toll. But at least this year’s heavy flowering across southern Florida gives mango devotees great optimism that there will be enough local fruit available not only to enjoy fresh, but to freeze for consumption in the off-season.

While some experts say that frozen mangos should be used within six months, there’s ample testi-mony that the fruit will still be good after a year. To prepare mangos for freezer storage, simply slice or dice the fruit, lay it out on a baking pan, and cover it with plastic wrap. Pop the tray into the freezer for at least a few hours, and then transfer the pieces to freezer bags.

Here are descriptions of some more of the mango cultivars available at Richard Lyons’ Nursery:

Edward  Some aficionados rate this the best-tasting of all Florida cultivars. Because it does not bear heavily, it is less popular as a commercial selection than it is for growing at home. The fruit of Edward is sweet, fiberless, juicy and aromatic, and the tree is a vigorous grower, with above-average resistance to disease. Mature fruit weighs in from 16 to 22 oz., and ripens from May to July.

Ewais  Egypt is the source of this vigorous cultivar, so it tolerates heat well. It is also considered to have good anthracnose tolerance. The nearly fiberless orange flesh has what one technical paper describes as a “sweet and agreeable” taste. Mature fruit weighs in at just under 10 oz.

Fairchild This cultivar originated in the Panama Canal Zone in the early 1900s and is prized for its capacity to be grown in containers and kept under 10 ft. It is especially well-suited to humid climates. The orange flesh is aromatic, fiberless, deep orange in color and spicy in flavor. The 10-oz. fruit ripens in June-July.

Florigon This mango originated in Ft. Lauderdale, where it first fruited nearly 80 years ago in the yard of a future police chief of the city. It has proven excellent-tasting, disease-resistant, and high-yielding. The fiberless fruit, which averages under 16 oz. in weight, matures from late May to July.

Glenn Discovered in a Miami backyard in the 1940s, Glenn is a longtime favorite for its sweet, mildly peachy flavor and its ease of maintenance. The tree is capable of reaching 30 ft., but can be maintained easily at 10 ft., a plus for small yards. The aromatic, fiberless fruit, averaging 12-20 oz., matures from early June to early July.

Graham This juicy, flavorful Jamaican mango is descended from the very popular Julie. It is another cultivar well-suited for small yards or balconies, easily capable of being maintained at 10 ft. It grows well in our humid climate. The fruit, aromatic and nearly fiberless, averages 13-16 oz. and ripens in the period from mid-July to August.

Haden Introduced in Coconut Grove in the early 20th century, Haden was the first home-grown Florida mango cultivar to become a commercial hit, and it has since sired other delicious varieties. The tree is a vigorous grower. Its large, beautiful fruit, averaging 16-32 oz., ripens from June to July.

Ready for Mangos?, Part II

In the food world, we’re crazy about things that taste good, but at the same time do us harm. However, mangos are an exception to that rule, because they are not only delicious, but also beneficial to health. Significant amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C, copper, iron, folate, potassium and fiber are produced in the fruit, and there is evidence that mangos contain multiple antioxidants that protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers. Eating mangos is also reputed to cleanse the skin, boost digestion, enhance concentration and memory, and, ahem, increase virility.

With so many attributes, the next step is to determine which mango cultivars might best suit your needs. Here are some thumbnail descriptions of the trees carried by Richard Lyons’ Nursery:

Alphonso  This highly-aromatic and intensely sweet mango features a smooth, fiberless texture and is ranked among the best Indian dessert mangos.  It can be eaten out of hand. Unlike many Indian cultivars, Alphonso can handle a rainy, humid climate like ours. Ripening runs from late June into July, and mature fruit weighs in at 8-12 oz.

Baptiste  This cultivar is a selection from Haiti, where it is grown commercially. Blessed with minimal fiber, it has a sweet, mild flavor. Because the firm fruit keeps its shape when cut up, it is popular both for cooking and in fruit salads. Old trees of this cultivar in India are reputed to be very heavy bearers. The fruit weighs 8-16 oz.

Beverly  Ripening in the July-August period, this Florida-bred mango is fiberless, firm and aromatic. The bland color of the flesh is outweighed by its great taste; Beverly was a curator’s choice at the Fairchild Mango Festival for two straight years. The tree’s spreading growth habit makes it easy to keep under 20 ft. Mature fruit weighs in from 16-48 oz.

Bombay  A cultivar derived in Jamaica from an Indian mango, Bombay is famed for its ability to be eaten out of hand, so easy is it to separate the flesh from the seed. The deep orange fruit is fiberless, rich and spicy, key traits for a great dessert mango.  The tree has a tall, open growth habit. Fruit ripens from June into July and weighs in at 12-14 oz.

Carrie  This Florida cultivar boasts a vigorous, but compact growth habit that makes it desirable for smaller yards. It is characterized by having wider leaves than most other cultivars. Carrie has good disease resistance and is not otherwise demanding. The fiberless fruit has excellent flavor and a soft texture. It ripens from June into July and usually weighs under 16 oz.

Cogshall  If you are a condo dweller, this Florida-bred cultivar may be just the thing for you.  Whether container-grown on a balcony or planted in the ground, it can be kept small and still produce a substantial crop. The skin is attractive, and the fruit is aromatic, soft, fiberless, and spicy. Ripening occurs steadily from mid-June though July, and fruits weigh about 16 oz. apiece.

East Indian  Deep orange flesh characterizes this juicy cultivar, which has been popular in the markets of Jamaica and other Caribbean islands for a long time. In addition to a spicy, aromatic, rich flavor, it also furnishes hints of coconut; not surprisingly, it has become a much-favored juice mango despite the presence of some fiber. Fruit ripens in the 12-20 oz. range.