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Mangifera indica is among the most economically and culturally important tropical fruits, especially in Asia. It was originally found in the foothills of the Himalayas in northeastern India, Burma, and Bangladesh and domesticated thousands of years ago (possibly independently in Southeast Asia). It is now grown in most tropical countries and some subtropical ones (it is grown as far north as 35° to 37° N in southern Spain). Many cultivars in India have been vegetatively propagated for hundreds of years. Early on, hundreds of years ago, mango was brought to Malaysia and other East Asian countries, then to East and West Africa, and finally to the New World. The Portugese introduced the mango to Brazil from their colonies in Mozambique and Angola and mangos were introduced to Mexico and Panama via the Philippines. Mangos were introduced to the West Indies in the mid-to late 1700s, probably via Brazil. In the tropics, mangos grow at elevations up to 1200 m. The trees may reach 40 m or more in height and live for several hundred years. They bear rosettes of evergreen leaves (red or yellow at first) and dense panicles up to 30 cm long of small (5 to 10 mm) reddish or yellowish flowers. The fruits, which range from 2.5 cm to more than 30 cm in length, depending on the cultivar, vary in shape (from round to oval, egg-shaped, or kidney-shaped) and color (green, yellow, red, purple) with a dotted skin. (Vaughan and Geissler 1997; Bompard 2009 and references therein; Mukherjee and Litz 2009 and references therein) A single mature mango tree can produce 2000 to 2500 ripe fruits (Jiron and Headström 1985).
India has long been a major mango producer, but as of 2009 China had risen to become the world's second largest mango producer, with India's production representing less than half the world total. Fresh mangos are now available in stores year-round in North America, Europe, and Japan. (Litz 2009) According to Evans and Mendoza (2009), the majority of the mangos imported by North America come from Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Haiti. India and Pakistan are the main suppliers of western Asia. Southeast Asia is supplied mainly by the Philippines and Thailand. Europe imports mangos mainly from South America and Asia. India and Mexico each account for roughly a fifth to a quarter of world mango exports. World mango imports more than doubled between 1996 and 2005, with the United States accounting for a third of all mango imports.
The peel of the fruit and other parts of the mango can cause contact dermatitis in some people, as is the case for many species in the plant family Anacardiaceae.
The many contributors to Litz (2009) provide a comprehensive overview of mango biology and cultivation.