Mango whose scientific name is Mangifera Indica is an evergreen fruit tree that can last up to 100 years. It has become an important domestic and export fruit for Kenya. It does well in coastal regions and other warm areas.
Mangoes are eaten fresh or canned. The fresh ripe fruit are used for desserts, processed into jams and juice. Green mangoes are made into pickle and preserves. The tree is used for boat building and firewood. The bark is used for leather tanning and wall hangings. The wood can also be used for building.
There has been an increase over the years for both exports and local consumption.
Production in Kenya has also expanded with new planting of higher yielding varieties.
The local mango tree is erect with a height of 10 to 30 m with a broad, rounded canopy, which may with age attain 30 to 38 m in width. In deep soils the taproot can reach a depth of 2 m. New leaves that emerge periodically and are yellowish, pinkish, deep rose or wine-red and turn dark-green, glossy above,and lighter underneath on maturity. The fruits are oval, ovoid-oblong, kidney- shaped or nearly round. The skin is waxy, smooth, fairly thick, aromatic and colour ranging from light/dark green to clear yellow, yellow- orange, reddish-pink or grayish-purple when ripe.
The mango fruits are eaten fresh and also produce flavored juice that ranges from sweet to sub-acid in taste. The fruits are also processed into fresh juice, frozen concentrates, mango pulp, sliced, dried, and also bottled as pickles.
The original wild mangoes produce small fruits with scant, fibrous flesh and it is believed that natural hybridization has taken place and through selection of the hybrids. Currently over 350 varieties are propagated in commercial nurseries and orchards internationally.
Description of selected varieties
Other varieties grown in Kenya include: Boribo, Batawi, Dodo and Sensation.