Friday, August 19, 2016

Mangos, by Cory

'Fil Blanc' and 'Valencia Pride' mangoes
I have been planting seeds this summer of several varieties of mango, hoping for some new varieties that are adapted to our wet climate. 'Fransic' and 'Baptiste' are popular Haitian mangoes that can bear several crops per year, but we only get fruit set of those varieties during droughts and fruit that ripens during the second half of the year is mostly ruined by worms.

The only mango that fruits in all weather is 'Fil Blanc', which translates as "white string" and it can have up to four crops per year, at least two of them branch-bending heavy crops.

The skin is green, sometimes yellow and green, and the flesh is yellow-orange or light orange and is stringy. It can be as sweet and flavorful as most other mangoes and is not sour (which allows substituting most of the carbs in a diet with this mango when it is in season,,,think hungry Haitian kids and this fruit enthusiast) but the strings tend to get stuck between teeth and also limit its uses other than as a fresh, messy-to-eat fruit.

There are several varieties of 'fil blanc'. Some can get wormy and some don't.

Green new leaves of Valencia Pride
Most of the Florida mango varieties do not do well in wet climates and most tend to get wormy in our area.

Nam Dok Mai is a very good, long shaped "Florida mango" from Thailand that fruits several times per year and doesn't get wormy. Valencia Pride, from Florida, is also very good, fruits several times per year, at least the one grafted on a Fil Blanc does, but it can get wormy.

So I am planting seeds of the worm resistant Fil Blanc and Nam Dok Mai, and moderately worm prone Valencia Pride.

Fil blanc and Nam Doc Mai produce polyembryonic seeds, so most of those seedlings will be clones. But since this late summer (2nd) harvest wasn't exposed to the pollen of most other mango varieties which only bloom in the winter, most should be cross pollinated with the desired multiple harvest varieties. Fil blanc has dark purple new leaves and the others have green/tan new leaves, so crosses should be easy to spot and keep to grow out.

Valencia Pride X (Fil Blanc?) seedlings with red/brown new leaves
The genetics of mangoes is very diverse. Flavors and aromas include pineapple, apricot, lemon, pine, spice, floral and endless more. Many of the Florida commercial mango varieties are seedlings of the 'Haden' mango, including Valencia Pride.
Unlike Haitian mangoes, the seeds are monoembryonic with each seedling a new variety.  It will be interesting to see what some of these crosses result in. The green leaf seedlings of Valencia Pride that self pollinated or crossed with Fransic or another Haitian mango should still do well in drier parts of Haiti, even if only as far away as the Cap Haitian area, which is on the coast and much sunnier and drier.

Maybe in about 5 years we will have a delicious new 'Fauche Pride' mango!

1 comment:

Missus Wookie said...

Fascinating - I'd not realised you were developing your own types as well. We have a mango in our fruit bowl at the moment.