While the name hints at the well-known mango, the mangosteen and its corresponding tree should not be confused with that popular fruit. The tree that bears the mangosteen is as unique as its fruit.
Here, then, are some fast facts to back that up:
- Grows 20 to 80 feet tall.
- Its bark is a dark brown (nearly black) color.
- Has short, thick and leathery evergreen leaves and 12" wide flowers that grow in clusters of 3-9 at its branch tips.
- Takes two or more years for the tree to reach 12" in height.
- Widely believed that they originated in the islands of Sunda and Molucca (in the East Indies).
- The first fruit harvest may take place 7-9 years after planting, but most take place in the first 10-20.
- The average yield of full-grown trees is 500, but some trees yield as many as 5,000 ripe mangosteens.
- Some trees provide fruit for up to 100 years.
- The mangosteen tree is "ultra-tropical" and can't tolerate temperatures below 40°F or above 100°F. All attempts to grow the trees in locations north of 20° latitude have failed.