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the web of life in southern Africa

Mangifera indica (Mango)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid II > Order: Sapindales > Family: Anacardiaceae

Mangifera indica (Mango)
Mangifera indica (Mango)

Mangifera indica, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. [photos Bart Wursten ©, Flora of Zimbabwe]

Mangifera indica (Mango) Mangifera indica (Mango)

Mangifera indica, Val D'Or, Zimbabwe. [photos Bart Wursten ©, Flora of Zimbabwe]

Mangifera indica, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. [photos Bart Wursten ©, Flora of Zimbabwe]

Mangifera indica (Mango) Mangifera indica (Mango)

Mango fruit. [photos H.G. Robertson, Iziko ©]

The Mango is native to Burma and NE India and its cultivation extends back to about 2000 BC.

The Mango Tree is native to Burma and NE India and can grow to a height of over 40 m and live for more than a century. It is thought to have been planted as a fruit tree in India as far back as 2000 BC. Over time, plants have been selected that have larger, more flavourful fruit with less resin and fiber, and smaller pits. However, this has been difficult because they are cross-pollinated so that it is difficult to develop independent breeding lines. The long generation time is an added problem to the selection process. One way of getting round these problems has been to use vegetative propagation by grafting.

Introduction of Mango trees to the rest of subtropical Asia is thought to have started by about 400 BC. The Portuguese planted Mango trees in coastal areas of East and West Africa in the 17th century but has been suggested that they reached Africa earlier than this with Persian and Arab trade to East Africa. They were first planted in South America (in Brazil) in about 1700. Towards the end of the 19th century Mango trees had been introduced to most parts of the World where they could grow.  

The leaves and sap can cause skin problems (dermatitis). Eating too much mango can evidently cause kidney inflammation.

Ecological relationships

Herbivores in southern Africa

Aceria mangiferae (Mango bud mite)

Arachnida > Acari (mites) > Eriophyidae


Sternochetus mangiferae (Mango weevil)

Insecta (insects) > Coleoptera > Curculionidae


Procontarinia matteiana (Mango leaf gall fly)

Insecta (insects) > Diptera > Cecidomyiidae


Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean Fruitfly)

Insecta (insects) > Diptera > Tephritidae


Pardalaspis cosyra (Marula Fruitfly)

Insecta (insects) > Diptera > Tephritidae


Pterandrus rosa (Natal Fruitfly)

Insecta (insects) > Diptera > Tephritidae


Pseudotheraptus wayi (Coconut Bug)

Insecta (insects) > Hemiptera (bugs) > Coreidae


Aulacaspis tubercularis (Mango Scale)

Insecta (insects) > Hemiptera (bugs) > Diaspididae (armoured scales)


Cryptophlebia leucotreta (False codling moth)

Insecta (insects) > Lepidoptera > Tortricidae


Batocnema africana (Harlequin Hawkmoth)

Insecta (insects) > Lepidoptera > Sphingidae (hawkmoths)


Scirtothrips aurantii (Citrus Thrips)

Insecta (insects) > Thysanoptera (thrips)

For more on thrips found on mango trees in South Africa, see Grové et al. (2001).



Acetobacter diazotrophicus


Acid-producing, nitrogen-fixing bacterium that is found in fruit of mango plants.









  • Grové, T., Giliomee, J.H. & Pringle, K.L. 2001. Thrips (Thysanoptera) species associated with mango trees in South Africa. African Entomology 9: 153-162.

  • Sauer, J.D. 1993. Historical geography of crop plants - a select roster. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.

Text by Hamish Robertson