Lemon Drop Mangosteen
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Lemon Drop Mangosteen
E Introduced Photo: Preetha P.S.
Common name: Lemon Drop Mangosteen
Botanical name: Garcinia intermedia    Family: Clusiaceae (Garcinia family)
Synonyms: Rheedia intermedia, Rheedia edulis, Calophyllum edule

Lemon Drop Mangosteen is a fast-growing tree reaching a height of about 5 m. It is tolerant of a wide range of soils. The leaves are oblong, 6-13 cm long, emerge bright red, become dark glossy green with light green undersides and have a thick, leathery feel. They are arranged in pairs along the ends of the branches and remain on the tree in all seasons. The flowers are four-petaled, green-white to white, 1.5-2 cm long, male or bisexual on the same plant, and bloom in the dry season, coinciding with winter in its native range. Fertilised flowers develop into small round or egg-shaped fruit, 2.5-3 cm in diameter. They ripen around three to four months after fruit-set, becoming deep orange or pale yellow. The skin is thin, leathery and easily peeled, exposing one to two largish seed with thin, whitish pulp. They are edible and have an appealing sweet and sour taste. It is usually eaten out of hand, though can be used for drinks, jams and jellies. Lemon Drop Mangosteen is native to Central America, it is cultivated sporadically throughout the tropics.

Identification credit: Preetha P.S. Photographed in Attingal, Kerala.

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