Mangifera laurina (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Mangifera laurina Blume

Protologue: Mus. Bot. Lugd. Bat. 1: 195 (1850).
Family: Anacardiaceae
Chromosome number: 2n= 40


  • Mangifera longipes Griffith (1854),
  • Mangifera sumatrana Miq. (1859),
  • Mangifera parih Miq. (1859).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: mangga pari (Sundanese, West Java), pelem kecik (Javanese, East Java), empelem (Malay, Kalimantan, Sumatra)
  • Malaysia: mempelam, emplam (Malay, Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak), mangga ayer (Malay, Sabah)
  • Philippines: apali (Tagbanua)
  • Burma: thayet-thee-nee, thayet-pya
  • Thailand: mamuang kaleng, mamuang khee kwaang (peninsula)
  • Vietnam: cây nui, xoái nui.

Origin and geographic distribution

M. laurina is undoubtedly wild throughout the Malesian region, from peninsular Thailand to New Guinea, in lowland tropical rain forest. It was probably brought into cultivation long before the introduction of Mangifera indica L. in the region. In most parts of Borneo it is still widely cultivated, but it is now losing ground in Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Java, since the fruit is inferior to that of M. indica cultivars.


The fruit has only a little bit of flesh which liquidifies at maturity, so that it can be sucked out. More often the fruit is harvested immature, sliced and served in fruit salads with a spicy sauce ("rujak").

The wood is used as machang.


  • A medium-sized to fairly large tree up to 36 m tall, with bole up to 100 cm diameter, occasionally with short thick buttresses, bark surface longitudinally cracked, peeling off in small, narrow strips, pinkish-brown to blackish.
  • Leaves oblong to lanceolate-oblong or elliptical-lanceolate, (6-)14-30 cm × (2-)3-7 cm, chartaceous, petiole slender, 2-5(-8) cm long.
  • Inflorescence a pseudo-terminal, lax and widely pyramidal panicle, apically sparingly, minutely puberulous.
  • Flowers 5-merous, long-pedicelled, petals narrow, 3.5-5.5 mm long, whitish-green to pale yellowish, with 3-5 ridges on the inner surface, extending half-way along the petal and confluent at base, disk fleshy, 5-lobed, cup-shaped, one stamen fertile, free, staminodes minute.
  • Fruit a drupe, usually obliquely subglobose to oblong-ovoid exactly like a small mango, up to 10 cm long, yellowish-green when ripe; flesh yellow, soft, fibrous, juicy.
  • Stone 4.5-5.5 cm × 2-3 cm × 1.3-1.6 cm; seed polyembryonic.

The heartwood is reported to be greyish to pale red but also chocolate brown; the density of the wood is 690-790 kg/m3 at 15% moisture content. See also the table on wood properties.

By some authors (e.g. in Flora Malesiana) M. laurina is merged into M. indica ; tree habit and leaves are very similar, so that M. laurina is often mistaken for M. indica. Its glabrous or sub-puberulous, laxly spreading, loosely flowered inflorescences are discriminative. Flowering can take place after any short dry spell. In South Kalimantan (Kandangan) a form with more elongated, narrower fruits is known as "asem buluh", meaning "bamboo mango". In East Kalimantan, M. laurina in village plantings in the lakes area sometimes crosses with the wild M. gedebe Miq. of which there are important populations. The fruit shows intermediate characters, having notably labyrinthine seed.


The species is at home in fairly wet tropical lowlands, also at elevations above 300 m.


M. laurina is a suitable rootstock for cultivars of M. indica grown on periodically inundated river banks in Kalimantan. The loose glabrous inflorescences show no sign of anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides), where those of the mango are severely damaged.

Genetic resources and breeding

The species might contribute to the improvement of M. indica through breeding programmes. Crossing M. laurina’s resistance to anthracnose into M. indica would be a major breakthrough. Heavy fruit set may result from more intensive pollination in species with 3-5 fertile stamens instead of a single one. Five-stamen close relatives of M. indica include Mangifera caloneura Kurz and Mangifera cochinchinensis Engl., which occur in mainland South-East Asia.


It is to be expected that this species will continue to lose ground to the common mango. Its main role may lie in the hybridization of the mango.


  • Ding Hou, 1978. Anacardiaceae. In: van Steenis, C.G.G.J. (Editor): Flora Malesiana. Series 1. Vol. 8. pp. 426-428.
  • Mukherjee, S.K., 1949. A monograph of the genus Mangifera L. Lloydia 12: 73-136.
  • Fairchild, D., 1948. The mango relatives of Cochinchina; those with five-stamen flowers. Florida State Horticultural Society 61: 250-255.

77, 162, 328, 388, 414, 474, 673. timbers


  • J.M. Bompard