Mangifera pajang (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Mangifera pajang Kosterm.

Protologue: Reinwardtia 7: 20, fig. 1a-b (1965).
Family: Anacardiaceae
Chromosome number: 2n= 40

Vernacular names

  • Brunei: bambangan (Malay), mombangan
  • Indonesia: asem payang (Kutai, East Kalimantan), alim, n'cham pajay (Kenya Dayak, East Kalimantan), hambawang (Malay, West Kalimantan)
  • Malaysia: bambangan, embawang (Malay, Sabah), mawang, alim, embang (Sarawak).


Endemic to Borneo (Sarawak, Brunei, Sabah and Kalimantan), M. pajang also occurs wild in lowland dipterocarp forest and in forest on well drained alluvium. It is found in cultivation in Dayak orchards in Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and East Kalimantan, where it is common along the Middle Mahakam, less common in West Kalimantan. This attractive fruit tree has remained confined to its native area and was introduced in fruit tree collections outside Borneo only in the 1980s.


The fruits of M. pajang, globose or ovoid, up to 20 cm in diameter, are the largest known in the genus. Though the thick flesh is coarsely fibrous, the ripe fruit is pleasant to eat, having a specific aromatic flavour. The strong smell is similar to that of bachang fruit (Mangifera foetida) but less offensive. After making longitudinal cuts with a knife through the 1 cm thick skin, the fruit is peeled like a banana. The bright deep yellow flesh forms an attractive contrast with the rough, potato brown skin. During the season they are commonly sold on Dayak markets. The skin is occasionally dried and used for sambal. In Sarawak flushing shoots are sold as a vegetable. In flower M. pajang is a beautiful ornamental with upright inflorescences.

The wood is reputed to be used.


  • A deciduous medium-sized tree up to 33 m tall, with bole up to 70 cm in diameter, buttresses absent, bark surface smooth or superficially fissured, grey or sometimes dark brown.
  • Leaves elliptical-oblong to subovate-oblong, (17-)28-45 cm × (7-)10-15 cm, rigidly coriaceous, nerves prominent, petiole (2-)5-7 cm long.
  • Inflorescence a terminal and subterminal panicle, erect, pyramidal, up to 30 cm long, densely flowered, glabrous, fragrant.
  • Flowers 5-merous, petals up to 9 mm long, outside pinkish-white, inside purple, becoming yellowish after anthesis, with 3 ridges confluent at base, disk stipe-like, one or two stamens fertile, staminodes smaller and unequal, filaments connate at base; ovary white.
  • Fruit a globose or ovoid drupe, 9.5-12(-20) cm × 6.5-10(-17) cm, rough, potato-brown with numerous brown lenticels, flesh bright deep yellow, sweet-acid, pleasantly aromatic, fibrous.
  • Stone plump, ca. 9 cm × 6.5 cm × 4.5 cm, endocarp woody, up to 5 mm thick, seed monoembryonic.

M. pajang is rarely found in forest but is common in cultivation; it avoids swampy locations. The bark exudes an irritant sap that blisters the skin. In Sabah trees flower in April-May and fruit between July and September; in East Kalimantan the fruiting season is December-March.

M. pajang resembles M. foetida in bloom; it is different notably by its longer leaves with prominent nerves and by its large brown fruits.

In orchards where M. pajang and M. foetida are grown together, naturally occurring cross-pollination has given rise to hybrid forms whose leaves and fruits have characteristics of the two species.


The species occur chiefly in primary lowland forest in the wet tropics. They are adapted to areas with abundant rainfall, evenly distributed over the year, and are grown up to elevations above 1000 m.


Propagation is by seed. The seedlings require much moisture and light shade. They tolerate much shade but later on grow also well in full light. Budding is performed after the modified Forkert method with buds of non-petioled wood on one-year-old rootstocks, during the dry season. Spacing for orchard planting should be 14-16 m.

Trunk borers (Rhytidodera simulans, a longicorn beetle) may damage and kill branches, but the tree retains its viability. The attacks of the bark by Arbela are more superficial. The fruit is often damaged by the mango weevil, Cryptorrhynchus mangiferae, whose larvae feed in the flesh.

The fruits are harvested during the rainy season, in West Java from October to December.


M. pajang is a new discovery; its large, aromatic rather than odorous fruits may have a strong appeal elsewhere in South-East Asia. All horticultural aspects of this crop need further investigation.


  • Ding Hou, 1978. Anacardiaceae. In: van Steenis, C.G.G.J. (Editor): Flora Malesiana. Series 1. Vol. 8. pp. 435-437.
  • Molesworth Allen, B., 1967. Malayan fruits. Donald Moore Press, Singapore. pp. 9-11.
  • Mukherjee, S.K., 1949. A monograph of the genus Mangifera L. Lloydia 12: 73-136.

162, 328, 673. timbers


  • J.M. Bompard