Garcinia intermedia (Clusiaceae) 

 

 

Common Names 

English: lemon drop mangosteen, mameyito 

Spanish: mameyito, sastra

Portuguese (Brazil): achachairu

 

Origin and Distribution 

Native to southern Mexico and Central America.  Cultivated sporadically throughout the tropics.

 

Botanical Synonyms 

Rheedia intermedia, Rheedia edulis and Calophyllum edule. 

 

Description

Lemon drop mangosteen is a small tree, from 15-20 feet (5-6  m) tall, with a straight, dark brown trunk.  Young branches have smooth green bark.  Contains yellow latex.  Leaves are opposite, stiff, 3-5 inches (7.6-13  cm) long and 1-2 inches (2.5-5  cm) wide.  Flowers are whitish and small, perfect, and produced in axillary groups of 1-15 at branch nodes.  The fruits are round, about 1 inch (2.5  cm) in diameter, with a thin orange to reddish peel.  The whitish pulp has an aromatic sweet sour taste, and contains 1-2 seeds.

 

Lemon drop mangosteen (Garcinia intermedia) fruit.

Lemon drop mangosteen (Garcinia intermedia) fruit.

 

Propagation and Culture

Lemon drop mangosteen is usually propagated by seed, which loses viability rapidly if allowed to dry out.  The seeds germinate easily and the tree is precocious, flowering and fruiting in 2-3 years.  It can be grown and will fruit in a large pot.

The tree is very adaptable, growing well in different soils and environments from sea level to 4,000 feet (1,219  m) elevation.  It grows well in full sun or shade, but fruits better in full sun.  Flowers and fruits sporadically throughout the year, but in Puerto Rico the principal fruiting season is from June through August.

 

Lemon drop mangosteen (Garcinia intermedia) flowers.

Lemon drop mangosteen (Garcinia intermedia) flowers.

 

Cultivars and Related Species

There are no named cultivars of lemon drop mangosteen, but some trees have sweeter fruit, and could be propagated by grafting. 

There are over 100 Garcinia species, mostly from southeast Asia.  Garcinia species from the Americas were once classified as Rheedia, but now all are considered Garcinia

 

Uses

Lemon drop mangosteen is primarily consumed fresh, but can also be used to make juices, jams and jellies.  The wood is resistant to termites, and is used to make posts and tool handles.  The tree is an attractive ornamental, especially when in fruit. 

 

 

 

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