Mangifera caesia (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Mangifera caesia Jack

Protologue: Roxburgh, Fl. Ind. ed. Carey & Wallich 2: 441 (1824).
Family: Anacardiaceae
Chromosome number: 2n= 40


M. caesia :

  • Mangifera verticillata C.B. Robinson (1911),
  • Mangifera caesia Jack var. verticillata (C.B. Robinson) Mukherji (1949),
  • Mangifera caesia Jack var. wanji Kostermans (1965).

Vernacular names

  • Binjai (En, Fr)
  • Brunei: binjai, belunu (Malay)
  • Indonesia: binjai (Malay, Sumatra; Banjar, South Kalimantan), binglu (Sundanese, West Java), palong, wani (Balinese)
  • Malaysia: binjai (Malay, Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak), beluno (Malay, Sabah), bundo (Dusun, Sabah)
  • Philippines: baluno (Manobo), bauno, bayuno (Sulu, Cebu Bisaya), balunut (Sulu)
  • Thailand: bin-ya, lam-yai (peninsular).

Origin and geographic distribution

Mangifera caesia and Mangifera kemanga have the same natural distribution: Sumatra, Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia. They are rather rare in forests and found more frequently in periodically inundated areas and marshes. In cultivation binjai has spread to Bali, Peninsular Thailand and, rarely, to western Java. Binjai has apparently been moved by the Sulus from northern Borneo to the Sulu Archipelago and to Mindanao, notably around Zamboanga and near Butuan in the Agusan valley where it abounds; once found in Papua New Guinea.


The juicy, sweetish-sour binjai fruit can be eaten fresh when ripe. The "wani" form, which is mainly found in Bali but also in East Kalimantan, is much liked this way and fetches a high price in local markets, as the fruit is palatable, juicy and sweet, almost fibreless, the foetid rank smell being completely absent. It is excellent for making creamy juices. Binjai is often used to prepare a spice based on chillies ("sambal") which is eaten with river fish. In some areas the flesh of ripe fruit is pickled and preserved with salt in jars, to be able to make this sambal when there is no fresh fruit.

The wood is used for light construction.


About 65% of the binjai fruit is edible. Per 100 g edible portion the constituents are: water 86.5 g, protein 1 g, fat 0.2 g, carbohydrates including fibre 11.9 g, ash 0.4 g, thiamine 0.08 mg, β-carotene equivalent 0.005 mg and vitamin C 58 mg. The energy value is 200 kJ/100 g. The white juice of the immature binjai fruit is extremely irritant, both on the skin and when ingested; it has been used to injure enemies!


  • Large tree, often attaining majestic proportions, 30(-45) m tall, and bole 50-80(-120) cm or more in diameter; bole columnar, without buttresses, crown dome-shaped with massive branches; bark greyish-brown, superficially fissured, containing irritant sap.
  • Leaves elliptic to lanceolate, more or less obovate, (7-)10-12(-30) cm × (3-)4-5.5(-10) cm, medium green and shiny above, paler below, often crowded at the end of stout branchlets, coriaceous, blunt or bluntly acuminate; midrib thick, flattened, raised above, base gradually decurrent; petiole stout, flattened, 1-1.5(-2.5) cm long.
  • Panicle terminal, 15-25(-40) cm long, much branched with stout rachis and branches, densely flowered, pale pink.
  • Flowers 5-merous, pale lilac, fragrant; petals linear, up to 10 mm long, not strongly reflexed as in most other mango flowers, only slightly reflexed in the upper part; fertile stamen 1, filament 5 mm long, white at base, purple towards the apex, 4 teeth-like staminodes; disc narrow, stipe-like, 1-1.5 mm long, pale green; ovary obliquely globose, reddish-brown, style excentric, 8 mm long, white, becoming violet after anthesis.
  • Fruit an obovate-oblong drupe, necked at base, 12-15(-20) cm × 6-7(-12) cm; skin yellowish or pale brownish, very thin (1 mm); pulp whitish, soft and juicy, fibrous, with a peculiar sourish taste and strong smell at maturity.

The "wani" form: fruit ellipsoid, rounded, 9-11 cm × 6.5-7 cm, glossy pale green at maturity, flesh milky white; the best forms are almost fibreless with a sweet pleasant taste; stone ellipsoid-lanceolate, ca. 7 cm × 3.5-4 cm, not flattened, thin-walled, endocarp not woody, made of matted coarse fibres, monoembryonic.

M. caesia closely resembles M. kemanga Blume, but differs in the longer petiole and the yellowish or whitish-green and smooth fruit. Wild forms have sour fruits but there is a cultivar in Borneo and Bali with sweet, fibreless and tasty fruits. The smell of the fruit pulp is rather offensive, and the white juice of the immature fruit is very irritating to the skin and when ingested. The density of the wood is 410-570 kg/m3 at 15% moisture content.

The trees bloom profusely and old trees can produce thousands of fruits. The fruit ripens 3 months after anthesis. The fruits come to maturity during the rainy season, from November to March in eastern Kalimantan; flowering is between October and December. Trees in Sabah flower between February and April, the fruit ripens from August to October.

Natural hybrids between M. kemanga and M. caesia, showing intermediate characteristics, are found in orchards in East Kalimantan.


The species is restricted to the wet tropical lowlands, generally below 400 m (rarely up to 800 m). It requires a rainfall which is evenly distributed through the year. It stands inundation well and is commonly cultivated on periodically inundated riverbanks in East Kalimantan.


It is propagated from seed, an indication that the agronomy of the crop has received little attention. Presumably grafting on seedling stock would be possible, in particular through inarching potted, decapitated rootstocks into twigs of mother trees. Grafting on Mangifera indica L. has been attempted without success, probably because this species is not closely related. Mature trees require much space, 12-16 m each way. No particulars about husbandry, pests and diseases or yield levels have been published. Ripe fruit must be handled with care as it is soft and juicy.


Vegetative propagation of superior types with the added advantages of early bearing and a more manageable tree size may enable binjai and kemang to gain importance. In particular the best forms of "wani", i.e. those from Bali and East Kalimantan, would merit wider cultivation, as the fruit has an excellent and unique flavour.


  • Ding Hou, 1978. Anacardiaceae. In: van Steenis, C.G.G.J. (Editor): Flora Malesiana. Series 1. Vol. 8. pp. 438-439.
  • Kostermans, A.J.G.H., 1965. New and critical Malaysian plants. VII. Mangifera caesia Jack. Reinwardtia 7(1): 19-20.
  • Mukherjee, S.K., 1949. A monograph of the genus Mangifera L. Lloydia 12: 73-136.
  • Ochse, J.J. & Bakhuizen van den Brink, R.C., 1931. Vruchten en vruchtenteelt in Nederlandsch-Indië [Fruits and fruit cultivation in the Dutch East Indies]. Kolff, Batavia. pp. 3-4.

77, 104, 125, 162, 328, 463, 465, 673, 705. timbers


  • J.M. Bompard