Varieties of Mangos

The original wild mangos were small fruits with scant, fibrous flesh, and it is believed that natural hybridization has taken place between M. indica and M. sylvatica Roxb. in Southeast Asia. Selection for higher quality has been carried on for 4,000 to 6,000 years and vegetative propagation for 400 years.

Over 500 named varieties (some say 1,000) have evolved and have been described in India. Perhaps some are duplicates by different names, but at least 350 are propagated in commercial nurseries. In 1949, K.C. Naik described 82 varieties grown in South India. L.B. and R.N. Singh presented and illustrated 150 in their monograph on the mangos of Uttar Pradesh (1956). In 1958, 24 were described as among the important commercial types in India as a whole, though in the various climatic zones other cultivars may be prominent locally. Of the 24, the majority are classed as early or mid-season:


‘Bombay Yellow’ (‘Bombai’)–high quality

‘Malda’ (‘Bombay Green’)

’01our’ (polyembryonic)–a heavy bearer.

‘Pairi’ (‘Paheri’, ‘Pirie’, ‘Peter’, ‘Nadusalai’, ‘grape’, ‘Raspuri’, ‘Goha bunder’)

‘Safdar Pasand’

‘Suvarnarekha’ (‘Sundri’)

Early to Mid-Season:




‘Alampur Baneshan’–high quality but shy bearer

‘Alphonso’ (‘Badami’, ‘gundu’, ‘appas’, ‘khader’)–high quality

‘Bangalora’(‘Totapuri’, ‘collection’, ‘kili-mukku’, abu Samada’ in the Sudan)–of highest quality, best keeping, regular bearer, but most susceptible to seed weevil.

‘Banganapally’ (‘Baneshan’, ‘chaptai’, ‘Safeda’)–of high quality but shy bearer

‘Dusehri’ (‘Dashehari aman’, ‘nirali aman’, ‘kamyab’)–high quality

‘Gulab Khas’


‘K.O. 11’

Mid- to Late-Season:

‘Rumani’ (often bearing an off-season crop)

‘Samarbehist’ (‘Chowsa’, ‘Chausa’, ‘Khajri’)–high quality


‘K.O. 7/5’ (‘Himayuddin’ ´ ‘Neelum’)


‘Fazli’ (‘Fazli malda’)–high quality

‘Safeda Lucknow’

Often Late:

‘Mulgoa’–high quality but a shy bearer

‘Neelum’ (sometimes twice a year)–somewhat dwarf, of indifferent quality, and anthracnose-susceptible.

Most of the leading Indian cultivars are seedling selections. Over 50,000 crosses were made over a period of 20 years in India and 750 hybrids were raised and screened. Of these, ‘Mallika’, a cross of ‘Neelum’ (female parent) with ‘Dashehari’ (male parent) was released for cultivation in 1972. The hybrid tends toward regular bearing, the fruits are showier and are thicker of flesh than either parent, the flavor is superior and keeping quality better. The season is nearly a month later than ‘Dashehari’. Another new hybrid, ‘Amrapali’, of which ‘Dashehari’ was the female parent and ‘Neelum’ the male, is definitely dwarf, precocious, a regular and heavy bearer, and late in the season. The fruit is only medium in size; flesh is rich orange, fiberless, sweet and 2 to 3 times as high in carotene as either parent.

The Central Food Technological Research Institute Experiment Station in Hyderabad has evaluated 9 “table varieties” (firm-fleshed), 4 “juicy” varieties, and 5 hybrids as to suitability for processing. ‘Baneshan’, ‘Suvarnarekha’ and ‘5/5 Rajapuri’ ´ ‘Langra’ were deemed suitable for slicing and canning. ‘Baneshan’, ‘Navaneetam’, ‘Goabunder’, ‘Royal Special’, ‘Hydersaheb’ and ‘9/4 Neelum Baneshan’, for canned juice; and ‘Baneshan’, ‘Navaneetam’, ‘Goabunder’, ‘K.O. 7’and ‘Sharbatgadi’ for canned nectar.

'Black Cold' mangoes, partly peeled like
Fig. 63: ‘Black Cold’ mangoes, dark-green externally when ripe, are partly peeled like “radish roses” on the Bangkok market to show their yellow, fiberless flesh.

It is interesting to note that all but four of the leading Indian cultivars are yellow-skinned. The exceptions are: two yellow with a red blush on shoulders, one red-yellow with a blush of red, and one green. In Thailand, there is a popular mango called ‘Tong dum’ (‘Black Gold’) marketed when the skin is very dark-green and usually displayed with the skin at the stem end cut into points and spread outward to show the golden flesh in the manner that red radishes are fashioned into “radish roses” in American culinary art.

European consumers prefer a deep-yellow mango that develops a reddish-pink tinge. In Florida, the color of the mango is an important factor and everyone admires a handsome mango more or less generously overlaid with red. Red skin is considered a necessity in mangos shipped to northern markets, even though the quality may be inferior to that of non-showy cultivars. Also, dependable bearing and shippability are rated above internal qualities for practical reasons. And a shipping mango must be one that can be picked 2 weeks before full maturity without appreciable loss of flavor. Too, there must be several varieties to extend the season over at least 3 months.

Florida mangos are classed in 4 groups:

1–Indian varieties, mainly monoembryonic, introduced in the past and maintained mostly in collections; typically of somewhat “turpentine” character.

2–Philippine and Indo-Chinese types, largely polyembryonic, non-turpentiney, fiberless, fairly anthracnose-resistant. Scattered in dooryard plantings.

3–West Indian/South American mangos, especially ‘Turpentine’ and ‘No.11’ and the superior ‘Julie’ from Trinidad, ‘Madame Francis’ from Haiti, ‘Itamaraca’ from Brazil. These are non-commercial.

4–Florida-originated selections or cultivars, of which many have risen and declined over the decades.

In general, mangos from the Philippines (‘Carabao’) and Thailand (‘Saigon’, ‘Cambodiana’) behave better in Florida’s humidity than the Indian varieties.

The much-prized ‘Haden’ was being recognized in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s as anthracnose-prone, a light and irregular bearer, and was being replaced by more disease-resistant and prolific cultivars. The present-day leaders for commercial production and shipping are ‘Tommy Atkins’, ‘Keitt’, ‘Kent’, ‘Van Dyke’ and Jubilee’. The first 2 represent 50% of the commercial crop.

Mango varieties 'Kent', 'Tommy Atkins', and 'Irwin'
Plate XXVIII: MANGO, Mangifera indica–’Kent’, ‘Tommy Atkins’, and ‘Irwin’

‘Tommy Atkins’ (from a seed planted early in the 1920’s at Fort Lauderdale, Florida; commercially adopted in the late 1950’s); oblong-oval; medium to large; skin thick, orange-yellow, largely overlaid with bright- to dark-red and heavy purplish bloom, and dotted with many large, yellow-green lenticels. Flesh medium- to dark-yellow, firm, juicy, with medium fiber, of fair to good quality; flavor poor if over-fertilized and irrigated. Seed small. Season: mid-May to early July, or late June through July, depending on spring weather; can be picked early, developing good color and usually has long shelf-life. Sometimes there is an open space in the flesh at the stem-end. Interior softening near the seed occurs in some years. Anthracnose-resistant.

‘Keitt’–rounded-oval to ovate; large; skin medium-thick, yellow with light-red blush and a lavender bloom; the many lenticels small, yellow to red. Flesh orange-yellow, firm, fiberless except near the seed; of rich, sweet flavor; very good quality. Seed small, or medium to large. Season: early July through August or August and September, depending on spring weather. Tree small to medium, erect, open, rather scraggly but very productive. For market acceptance, requires post-harvest ethylene treatment to enhance color.

‘Kent’–ovate, thick; large; skin greenish-yellow with dark-red blush and gray bloom; many small, yellow lenticels. Flesh fiberless, juicy, sweet; very good to excellent. Seed small. Season: July and August and often into September, but if left on too long the seed tends to sprout in the fruit–a condition called ovipary. Subject to black spot. Tree is of erect, slender habit, of moderate size, precocious; bears very well and fruit ships well, but, for the market, needs ethylene treatment to enrich color.

‘Van Dyke’ and ‘Jubilee’ are relatively new cultivars maturing from late June through July. ‘Van Dyke’ is of superior color and excellent quality but subject to anthracnose and may not hold its place for long.

Two cultivars that have stood the test of time and have been shipped north on a lesser scale are:

‘Sensation’ (originated in North Miami; tree moved to Carmichael grove near Perrine and propagated and grown commercially since 1949). Oval, oblique, and faintly beaked; medium to medium-small; skin thin, adherent; basically yellow to yellow-orange overlaid with dark plum-red, and with tiny, pale-yellow lenticels. Flesh pale-yellow, firm, with very little fiber, faintly aromatic, of mild, slightly sweet flavor; of good quality. Monoembryonic. Tree bears heavily in August.

‘Palmer’–oblong-ovate, plump; large; skin medium-thick, orange-yellow with red blush and pale bloom and many large lenticels. Flesh dull-yellow, firm, with very little or no fiber; of fair to good quality. Seed long, of medium size. Season: July and August, sometimes into September. Tree is medium to large; precocious; usually bears well.

The leading cultivar for local market at present is:

‘Irwin’ (a seedling of ‘Lippens’, planted by F.D. Irwin of Miami in 1939; bore its first fruits in 1945); oblong-ovate, one shoulder oblique; of medium size; skin orange to pink with extensive dark-red blush and small, white lenticels. Seed of medium size. Flesh yellow, almost fiberless, with mild, sweet flavor; good to very good quality. Seed small. Season: mid-May to early July; or June through July. Tree somewhat dwarf; bears heavy crops of fruits in clusters. Fruit no longer shipped because if picked before full maturity ripens with a mottled appearance which is not acceptable on the market.

Mango variety 'Cambodiana'
Plate XXVII: MANGO, Mangifera indica–’Cambodiana’

Non-colorful or not high-yielding cultivars of excellent quality recommended for Florida homeowners include:

‘Carrie’ (somewhat dwarf); ‘Edward’ (‘Haden’ seedling); ‘Florigon’; ‘Jacquelin’; ‘Cambodiana’; ‘Cecil’; ‘Saigon’.

Among cultivars formerly commercial but largely top-worked to others favored for various reasons: ‘Davis-Haden’ (a ‘Haden’ seedling); ‘Fascell’; ‘Lippens’ (a ‘Haden’ seedling); ‘Smith’ (a ‘Haden’ seedling); ‘Spring-fels’; ‘Dixon’; ‘Sunset’; ‘Zill’ (a ‘Haden’ seedling).

Many cultivars that have lost popularity in Florida have become of importance elsewhere. ‘Sandersha’, for example, has proved remarkably resistant to most mango fruit diseases in South Africa.

The histories and descriptions of 46 cultivars growing in Brazil were published in 1955. These included ‘Brooks’, ‘Cacipura’, ‘Cambodiana’, ‘Goa-Alphonso’, ‘Haden’, ‘Mulgoba’, ‘Pairi’, ‘Pico’, ‘Sandersha’, ‘Singapore’, ‘White Langra’, all brought in from Florida. The rest are mostly local seedlings. ‘Haden’ was introduced from Florida in 1931 and has been widely cultivated. It is still included among the cultivars of major importance, the others being ‘Extrema’, ‘Non-Plus-Ultra’. ‘Carlota’; but in 1977 the leading cultivar in Brazil was reported to be ‘Bourbon’, also known as ‘Espada’. It is found especially in northeastern Brazil but is recommended for all other mango areas. A collection of 53 cultivars is maintained at Piricicaba and another of 82 at Bahia.

Of Mexican mangos, 65% are Florida selections; 35% are of the type commonly grown in the Philippines. Over a period of 3 years detailed studies have been made of the commercial cultivars in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, with a view to determining the most profitable for export. Results indicated that propagation of ‘Purple Irwin’, ‘Red Irwin’, ‘Sensation’ and ‘Zill’ should be discontinued, and that ‘Haden’, ‘Kent’ and ‘Keitt’ will continue to be planted, the first two because, of their color and quality, and the third in spite of its deficiency in color.

‘Manila’, a Philippine mango, early-ripening, is much grown in Veracruz. ‘Manzanillo-Nunez’, a chance seedling first noticed in 1972, is gaining in popularity because of its regular bearing, skin color (75% red), nearly fiberless flesh, good quality, high yield and resistance to anthracnose.

‘Julie’ is the main mango exported from the West Indies to Europe. The fruit is somewhat flattened on one side, of medium size; the flesh is not completely fiberless but is of good flavor. It came to Florida from Trinidad but has long been popular in Jamaica. The tree is somewhat dwarf, has 30% to 50% hermaphrodite flowers; bears well and regularly. It is adaptable to humid environments and disease-resistant and the fruit is resistant to the fruit fly. ‘Julie’ has been grown in Ghana since the early 1920’s. From ‘Julie’, the well-known mango breeder, Lawrence Zill, developed ‘Carrie’, but ‘Julie’ has not been planted in Florida for many years.

Grafted plants of the ‘Bombay Green’, so popular in Jamaica, were brought there from India in 1869 by the then governor, Sir John Peter Grant, but were planted in Castleton gardens where the trees flourished but failed to fruit in the humid atmosphere. Years later, a Director of Agriculture had budwood from these trees transferred to rootstocks at Hope Gardens. The results were so successful that the ‘Bombay Green’ became commonly planted on the island. The author brought six grafted trees from Jamaica to Miami in 1951 and, after they were released from quarantine, distributed them to the Subtropical Experiment Station in Homestead, the Newcomb Nursery, and a private grower, but all succumbed to the cold in succeeding winters. The fruit is completely fiberless and freestone so that it is frequently served cut in half and eaten with a spoon. The seed is pierced with a mango fork and served also so that the luscious flesh that adheres to it may be enjoyed as well.

One of the best-known mangos peculiar to the West Indies is ‘Madame Francis’ which is produced abundantly in Haiti. It is a large, flattened, kidney-shaped mango, light-green, slightly yellowish when ripe, with orange, low-fiber, richly flavored flesh. This mango has been regularly exported to Florida in late spring after fumigation against the fruit fly.

Ghana received more than a dozen cultivars back in the early 1920’s. In 1973, it was found that only three of these–’Julie’, ‘Jaffna’ and ‘Rupee’–could be recognized with certainty. More than a dozen other cultivars were brought in much later from Florida and India. An effort was begun in 1967 to classify the seedlings (from 10 to 50 years of age) in the Ejura district, the Ejura Agricultural Station, and the plantation of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in order to eliminate confusion and have identifiable cultivars marked for future research. After checking with available published material on other cultivars for possible resemblances, descriptions and photographs of 21 newly named cultivars were published in 1973. Of these, 12 are fibrous and 9 fiberless. (See Godfrey-Sam-Aggrey and Arbutiste in the Bibliography). One of the fibrous cultivars, named ‘Tee-Vee-Dee’, is so well flavored and aromatic that it is locally extremely popular.

Until the mid-1960’s mangos were grown only in dooryards in Surinam and the few varieties were largely polyembryonic types from Indonesia, and these have given rise to many chance seedlings. In order to discover the best for commercial planting, mango exhibits were sponsored and budwood of the best selections has been grafted onto various rootstocks at the Paramaribo Agricultural Experiment Station. The two most important local mangos are:

‘Golek’ (from Java; also grown in Queensland) long-oblong; skin dull-green or yellowish-green even when ripe, leathery; flesh pale yellow, thick, fiberless, sweet, rich, of excellent quality. Keeps well in cold storage for 3 weeks. Season: early (December in Queensland). Tree bears moderately to heavily. This cultivar is considered the most promising for large-scale culture and export. In Queensland it tends to crack longitudinally as it matures.

‘Roodborstje’–medium to large; skin deep-red; flesh sweet, juicy, with very little fiber. Not a good keeper. Season: early to midseason. Tree is a heavy bearer.

In Venezuela, eleven cultivars were evaluated by food technologists for processing suitability–’Blackman’, ‘Glenn’, ‘Irwin’, ‘Kent’, ‘Lippens’, ‘Martinica’, ‘Sensation’, ‘Smith’, ‘Selection 80’, ‘Selection 85’, and ‘Zill’. The most appropriate, because of physicochemical characteristics and productivity were determined to be: ‘Glenn’, ‘Irwin’, ‘Kent’ and ‘Zill’.

In Hawaii, ‘Haden’ has represented 90% of all commercial production. ‘Pairi’ is more prized for home use but is a shy bearer, a poor keeper, not as colorful as ‘Haden’, so it never attained commercial status. In a search for earlier and later varieties of commercial potential, over 125 varieties were collected and tested between 1934 and 1969. In 1956, one of the winning entries in a mango contest attracted much attention. After propagation and due observation it was named ‘Gouveia’ in 1969 and described as: ovate-oblong, of medium size, with medium-thick, ochre-yellow skin blushed with blood-red over 2/3 of the surface. Flesh is orange, nearly fiberless, sweet, juicy. Seed is small, slender, monoembryonic. Season: late. Tree is of medium size, a consistent but not heavy bearer. In quality tests ‘Gouveia’ received top scoring over ‘Haden’, ‘Pairi’, and several other cultivars. Florida mangos rated as promising for Hawaii were ‘Pope’, ‘Kent’, ‘Keitt’ and ‘Brooks’ (later than ‘Haden’) and ‘Earlygold’ and ‘Zill’ (earlier than ‘Haden’).

In Queensland, ‘Kensington Pride’ is the leading commercial cultivar in the drier areas. In humid regions it is anthracnose-prone and requires spraying. It is thought to have been introduced by traders in Bowen who were shipping horses for military use in India. It may be called ‘Kensington’, ‘Bowen’, or, because of its color, ‘Apple’ or ‘Strawberry’. The fruit is distinctly beaked when immature, with a groove extending from the stem to the beak. It is medium-large; the skin is bright orange-yellow with red-pink blush overlying areas exposed to the sun. Flesh is orange, thick, nearly fiberless, juicy, of rich flavor. This cultivar is classified as mid-season. The fruit matures from early to mid-November at latitude 13°S; 6 weeks later at Bowen (20°S) and 1 week later for each degree of latitude from Bowen to Brisbane. But at 17°S and an altitude of 1,148 ft (350 m) peak maturity is in mid- to late-January. Polyembryonic. The fruit ships well but the tree is not a dependable nor heavy bearer. It has an oval crown and unusually sweet-scented leaves.

In 1981, after evaluating 43 accessions seeking to lengthen the mango season in Queensland, 9 that mature between 2 weeks earlier and 4 weeks later than ‘Kensington Pride’ were chosen for commercial testing. Only one, ‘Banana-1′, was a Queensland selection. The other 8 were introductions from Florida–’Smith’, ‘Palmer’, ‘Haden’, ‘Zill’, ‘Carrie’, ‘Irwin’, ‘Kent’, ‘Keitt’. ‘Kent’ and ‘Haden’ have proved to be highly susceptible to blackspot in Queensland; ‘Keitt’, ‘Smith’, and ‘Zill’ less so; and ‘Palmer’ and ‘Kensington Pride’ resistant.

In the Philippines, the ‘Carabao’ constitutes 66% of the crop and ‘Pico’ 26%. These cultivars, apparently of Southeast Asian origin have remained the most commonly grown and exported for many years.

In Israel, ‘Haden’ has been popular for a long time though it is sensitive to low temperatures in spring. An Egyptian introduction, ‘Mabroka’ is later in season and escapes the early frosts. ‘Maya’, a local seedling of ‘Haden’ has done well. Perhaps the most promising today is ‘Nimrod’, a seedling of ‘Maya’, open pollinated, perhaps by ‘Haden’, planted in 1943, observed for 20 years and budded progeny for another 9 years; named and released in 1970. The fruit is round-ovate, large; skin is fairly thin, olive-green to yellow-green, blushed with red; attractive. Flesh is deep-yellow, nearly fiberless, of fair flavor. Seed is large, monoembryonic. Matures in mid-season (all August to mid-September in Israel). Tree is large, upright, very cold-resistant. Average yield is 480 lbs (218 kg) per tree over 10 years.

It is impressive to see how the early favorite, ‘Haden’, has influenced mango culture in many parts of the world. Today, the Subtropical Horticulture Research Unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural Research and Education Center of the University of Florida, together maintain 125 mango cultivars as a resource for mango growers and breeders in many countries.