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Home Garden Trees


Mango tree in bloom

Latin: Magnifera indica
Family: Anacardiaceae
English: Mango
Indonesian: Mangga

The mango probably used to be the most popularly grown fruit tree for home gardens in Indonesia. Nowadays towns are becoming more and more dense and many yards lack the space for a tree of this size. In villages you still will see that nearly every house has its own mango tree.

Probably there are as many varieties of mangos as there are varieties of apples. The variety in my garden is called "mangga madu" what can be translated as "honey mango". It has small brown spots in its fruit flesh what is supposed to be the "honey". The taste of ripe fruits certainly is sweet.

As the photo on the left shows, not all of the mango flowers become mature fruits. Probably not all the flowers are pollinated, and for sure many fruits drop when they are still small. At the moment birds like bulbuls are noisily partying in your mango tree you can bet that its fruits are ripe. Like many other fruits mangoes have to be kept for a few days after harvesting before they obtain their full sweet taste. Some people though like them better with some salt added when still sour

Half mature mangos making branch bending down


Latin: Citrus amblycarpa (Citrus limonellus)
Family: Rutaceae
English: Nasnaran Mandarin
Indonesian: Jeruk Sambal. Jeruk Limau, Jeruk Limu

Citrus amblycarpa is a shrub or small tree of about 5 meters height. It has small fragrant shiny leaves and produces small white flowers. Its fruits have a thick irregular skin and turn from green to yellow when mature. Like the leaves the fruit release a pleasant small when touched or squeezed.
In my kitchen the fruits of this tree are used for making sambal and as fish dressing. Other people seem to use it as well for soup-like dishes and bakmi. Jeruk nipis (Citrus aurantiifolia) is an other lime commonly used for the latter.
Citrus amblycarpa produces fruits all year round. In the dry season production may decrease. The fruits are best used before they ripen, so when they are still green.
This species is easily propagated by seeds. Seedlings often show up under the tree. This is the result of unnoticed fallen fruits.

Nearly ripe fruits of Nasnaran Mandarin




Flowers and young fruit of Sapodilla

Latin: Manilkara zapota sp
Family: Sapotaceae
English: Sapodilla
Indonesian: Sawo

The Manilkara zapota, the Sapodilla origins from Mexico and Central America. The tree can grow up to 30 meters height, but cultivated species usually remain far shorter.

Though the Sapodilla has been grown for generations in home gardens, still many people in Indonesia will not recognize this tree. The lanceolate shaped smooth leaves are light green when young and dark green when growing older. Its flowers are very tiny, with inconspicuous white petals. Only a small part of the flowers will develop into fruits.

Fruits are covered with thin brown cork layer. Young fruits are round and have a typical spine at the end. Older fruits become oval egg-shaped and often loose the spine. The fruit size is depending on the variety between 4 and 8 cm. It seems that there are varieties with 15 cm large fruits, but I have never seen these in Indonesia.

It is hard to say by view when the fruits are ready to be picked. If the fruits can be easily taken from the stalk and do not release much milky white sap from the wound, they can be harvested. Still they will have to be kept for a few days in a place at room temperature before they can be consumed. The fruits ready to be eaten have a flesh color that is a mix of yellow and reddish brown, and are very sweet in taste.

Some people in Indonesia tell me that the juice of halve ripe fruits is a treatment for typhus. I have not yet found any scientific confirmation of this.


Nearly ripe fruit of Sapodilla




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