Indonesia, with its tropical climate, is a suitable habitat for a diverse amount of fruit species. The combination of all-year sunlight exposure and regular rainfall create the perfect environment to help the plant’s growth and development.
Mangosteen is no exception; it flourishes in different areas around Indonesia. It usually sold in the traditional market, but also can be found in the supermarket.
Botanically, mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is classified into the Cluciaceae family. The mangosteen is native from Southeast Asia, including Indonesia Archipelago. Mangosteen’s production center in Indonesia is mostly concentrated in Java. The Province of West Java become the highest mangosteen-producing region, especially in Tasikmalaya, Ciamis, Bogor, and Sukabumi. Mangosteen is also cultivated in Central java, East Java, West Sumatera, and Bali,
Mangosteen is a tropical tree, which is able to reach 6 to 20 meters. Typical of the wooden tree, mangosteen has a straight trunk with brown-colored bark. The leaf has an oval, slightly elongated shape. The upside of mangosteen’s leaf has a glossy green color, while the bottom side is yellowish. Mangosteen’s flower is bell-shaped, mostly red in color.
Mangosteen’s fruit is well-known for its round shape and tough, purple-colored skin. The average size of the fruit is 3,5 – 7 cm in diameter. The fruit’s white flesh covers its light-brown seed. Mangosteen has its flesh divided into segments. The number of fruit segments can be determined by counting the number of stigma lobes on the exterior apex. People are guessing the number of fruit segments by this method; mostly, their guess is accurate. From this practice, the term “mangosteen guess” (tebak-tebak buah manggis in Bahasa) has emerged.
Establishing a mangosteen plantation should consider several criteria. An area located in elevation 500 – 600 m above sea level is recommended, with maximal elevation is no more than 1000 m above sea level. Mangosteen should be planted in the area with less exposure to strong wind. Another important element of mangosteen’s ideal environment is a frequent rainfall, around 1500 – 2500 mm annually, with temperature ranging from 22 to 32 C. Mangosteen tree thrives in the soil rich in organic matters. The suitable pH value is slightly acidic to neutral, between 5 to 7.
To propagate mangosteen, a generative method by seedlings is recommended. Vegetative propagation, such as grafting, can also be selected. It takes around 10 – 15 years for mangosteen’s seedlings to reach the flowering age. Grafting method cuts short the flowering period into 5 – 7 years. After 100 days of blooming, the mangosteen’s fruit is reaching the maturity age and ready to be harvested.