Mangifera kemanga (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Mangifera kemanga Blume

Protologue: Mus. Bot. Lugd. Bat. 1: 202 (1850).
Family: Anacardiaceae
Chromosome number: 2n= 40


  • Mangifera polycarpa Griffith (1854),
  • Mangifera caesia Jack var. kemanga (Blume) Kostermans (1965).

Vernacular names

  • Kemang (En, Fr)
  • Indonesia: kemang (Sundanese, West Java; Malay, Sumatra), palong (Kutai, East Kalimantan)
  • Malaysia: kemang (Malay, Borneo).

Origin and geographic distribution

Mangifera caesia (binjai) 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. Kemang is commonly cultivated in western Java, especially near Bogor, but less frequently in Borneo where binjai dominates.


Kemang fruit is eaten fresh when ripe, or used for home-made juice. It is used unripe to make "rujak", a dish of sliced green fruit covered with a spicy sauce. Occasionally a dish is made from fresh, grated seeds, with fermented soya beans and spices. The Sundanese in western Java commonly eat the young leaves in "lalab", a dish of fresh leafy vegetables.


The juice of kemang is not injurious to the skin.


M. kemanga is closely related to M. caesia, with which it is united by some botanists (e.g. in Flora Malesiana). It should, however, be considered as a species distinct from M. caesia. It can be recognized by its subsessile leaves with narrowly decurrent margins; its panicles which are longer (up to 75 cm long), more open and contain fewer flowers; its fruits which are dull yellow-brown at maturity, gibbous at the base and scurfy. Natural hybrids between M. kemanga and M. caesia, showing intermediate characteristics, are found in orchards in East Kalimantan.


M. kemanga 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 kemang to gain importance.


  • 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.


  • J.M. Bompard