Mangifera altissima (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Mangifera altissima Blanco

Protologue: Flora de Filipinas: 181 (1837).
Family: Anacardiaceae
Chromosome number: 2n= 40


  • Mangifera rumphii Pierre (1897),
  • Buchanania reticulata Elmer (1912),
  • Mangifera merrilli Mukherji (1949).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia:, medang kok, membacang
  • Papua New Guinea: wel mango (Pidgin)
  • Philippines: pahutan (Sambali, Tagalog), paho (Tagalog, Bikol, Panay Bisaya), pangamangaen (Iloko)

Origin and geographic distribution

M. altissima is native to the Solomon Islands, New Britain, New Guinea (west and north), Moluccas, Sulawesi, Lesser Sunda Islands and the Philippines (Luzon to Mindoro). In the Philippines it is also found in backyards for the fruits, sometimes in appreciable numbers.


In the Philippines the immature fruit is eaten fresh, pickled or mixed with vegetables. In Indonesia the ripe fruits are eaten or used to prepare marmalade; the seeds are salted and pounded to obtain an edible meal. The wood is used for general construction work , sheeting, ceilings, door panels, flooring, furniture and cabinet work, veneer and plywood, and gunstocks, but is not very durable.

Production and international trade

The fruit appears on local markets. In the Philippines the wood is available in small quantities.


The edible portion comprises about 75% of the fruit and contains per 100 g: water 82 g, protein 0.7 g, fat 0.6 g, carbohydrates 16.4 g, fibre 2.3 g, ash 0.5 g, calcium 95 mg, phosphorus 17 mg, iron 1.2 mg, vitamin A 131 IU, thiamine 0.06 mg, riboflavin 0.1 mg, niacin 0.4 mg, vitamin C 93 mg. The energy value is about 277 kJ per 100 g. The wood seasons well, is easy to work and takes a beautiful polish. The heartwood is durable for interior work but very perishable when in contact with the ground. The sapwood is very susceptible to damage by dry-wood termites.


  • Erect, evergreen, medium-sized to fairly large tree with cylindrical bole, 12-35(-54) m tall, trunk 35-80(-100) cm diameter, often having small buttresses, with angular branchlets and prominent leaf scars.
  • Leaves elliptic to oblong-lanceolate, (5-)15-43 cm × 2-11 cm, coriaceous, glabrous, dark green above; base cuneate, margins entire; apex acuminate, mucronate or obtuse; midrib and nerves prominent, veins reticulate; petiole 1.5-5(-9) cm long.
  • Inflorescences terminal or axillary panicles, crowded at apex of twigs, 10-25 cm long, glabrescent, fascicled at base and initially subtended by a crown of velvety scales, very shortly pubescent; pedicels up to ca. 1 mm long.
  • Flowers white or creamy white, in groups of 4-5 on secondary branches, male or bisexual; bracts triangular; calyx 4-lobed, lobes ovate-oblong, 1.5-3 mm long, glabrescent, persistent; petals 4, ovate-oblong, 3-5 mm long, glabrous, white or creamy white, with ridges on inner surface closely adjacent with apical, glandular thickenings; disk 4-lobed and papillose; stamens 5, 1 fertile, free, 2-3 mm long; style 2-3 mm long, excentric.
  • Fruit an ellipsoid to ovoid drupe, slightly compressed, 5-8 cm × 3-6 cm, weight about 40 g, green turning yellowish; peel tender, up to 1.7 mm thick; flesh slightly fibrous, white, resinous, acid to slightly sweet.
  • Stone 4.2-4.8 cm × 2.3-2.7 cm × 0.8-1.5 cm, sparsely fibrous.

M. altissima occurs in wet, evergreen forest at low and medium altitudes, but nowhere abundant. In New Guinea the tree flowers in November-December. In the Philippines main flowering is early in the dry season (October-November to January-February), but flowers and fruits can be found the whole year round. Male and bisexual flowers both occur in the same inflorescence. Fruits are harvestable about 70 days from full bloom and ripen within 6 days. The timber is available in small quantities, especially in Tayabas and Bataan. The heartwood is dark brown with almost black longitudinal bands; the density is about 820 kg/m3 at 15% moisture content. See also the table on wood properties.


M. altissima grows chiefly in primary, lowland, inland forest, sometimes in coastal forest, rarely up to 400 m altitude. In the Philippines it thrives in places with a distinct wet and dry season on a wide range of soil types.


M. altissima is usually propagated by seed, although it can be readily propagated by cleft grafting, using either seedlings of mango or M. altissima as a rootstock. Grafted M. altissima trees remain much smaller and have a more compact crown than seedling trees. Unlike the mango, flowering in M. altissima cannot be brought about by foliar spraying with potassium nitrate. Typical mango pests such as leaf hoppers, tip borers and seed borers do not seem to affect M. altissima .

Genetic resources and breeding

A germplasm collection of M. altissima is present at the Institute of Plant Breeding, UPLB, Los Baños, the Philippines. More accessions from the entire area of distribution are needed.


M. altissima occurs mainly in areas with distinct dry and wet seasons, where it has only a modest place, because of the dominance of the mango.


  • Bondad, N.D. et al., 1979. Observations on the panicles and fruits of Mangifera altissima. Kalikasan, Philippine Journal of Biology 8: 79-92.
  • Ding Hou, 1978. Anacardiaceae. Mangifera L. In: van Steenis, C.G.G.J. (Editor): Flora Malesiana. Series 1. Vol. 8. p. 430.
  • Villegas, V.N., 1979. The cytology and floral morphology of some Philippine Mangifera indica L. cultivars and Mangifera altissima Blanco. MSc Thesis, University of the Philippines, Los Baños, Laguna, the Philippines. 58 pp.

124, 125, 162, 328, 414, 527, 626, 673, 742. timbers


D.E. Angeles