The king of tropical fruits, the mango is a juicy, golden-fleshed fruit which is native to India.

Of ancient origin (records of its cultiva-tion go back almost 4000 years), the mango has been inextricably connected with Indian folklore. The stylized shape of the tree and the fruit have been used in painting and designs for thousands of years.

First brought to the attention of the outside world by Chinese travellers in the eighth century, the mango now grows in most tropical regions of the world and is considered a major foodstuff.

The mango is the fruit of an evergreen tree. The fruit varies in size, shape, colour and flavour. The smallest mangoes, those used to make pickles, are no larger than a plum, and the largest have been known to weigh over four pounds. The shape varies from heart-shaped to kidney-shaped to long oval, and the colour from rosy red, peach and golden yellow to green.

In India each district has its favourite, from the gorgeous golden Alphonso and the long, slender, green Langra with its unusual turpentine-flavoured flesh to the pink and yellow Romani.

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