Mango seed

I've only recently been introduced to the wonderful fruit that is mango. Technically I had my first taste of mango a decade ago in California, and I've been drinking mango juice for a while, but I've never started with a whole mango until now. I won't talk about the luscious fruit, how to tell if it's ripe, how to eat it -- as interesting as all of those topics are -- but I will talk about the pit.

As a gardener I'm usually interested in the seeds that fruits produce, but this one was extra-fascinating. Mango pits are gigantic!


They're also quite "hairy", if that's the right word:

The pit is somewhat soft and flexible, not like a peach or cherry pit. They're quite flat too, so I think of them as sort of a giant pumpkin seed, but different. And hairy. Did I mention they're hairy? I suspect in a pinch they'd make quite a good homemade muppet, if you could figure out how to work the mouth.

It was pretty easy to pry open the casing to get at the seed. I used the edge of a dull knife on the first one, but just used my fingers on the next two after I realized how easily they opened.

Seeing any new seeds -- especially gigantic ones -- gets me excited about growing new plants. After some quick Internet research I found that mango seeds are pretty easy to germinate and mango trees make attractive houseplants, so I decided to plant a few of these and see what happens.

Hey look -- it's ET!

They need warm temperatures to germinate which is no problem right now, but there was some debate on which side was "down" on the seeds and whether to plant them flat or on edge. The "radicle" (the part that grows first and will form the main root) is pretty obvious to me:

But just to be safe I'm using a variety of planting methods: on edge in soil, laying flat in soil, and laying flat wrapped in moist paper towels in a plastic bag:

I've got a few mangoes left and I'll plant all of those seeds too. I'm hoping at least one will give me a plant, but most likely I'll end up with a half-dozen mango plants and will have to give them away.

So it seems likely that all of my neighbors will soon be putting mango trees next to their elephant ears (which I've been giving away but have several left looking for new homes).


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (June 11, 2011 at 11:12 AM)  

What a great post! Mango is one of our favorite fruits, but I had never seen a mango seed before (just complained about the giant pit in the middle of each fruit :-)). I can't wait to find out what's going to happen to your seeds.

anne  – (June 11, 2011 at 11:22 AM)  

Fun idea - and what a great looking seed! I haven't bought a whole mango in a while since Trader Joe's sells large bags of wonderful frozen mango chunks for the same price as one mango....also can't wait for a post on the mango seeds!

Anne McCormack  – (June 11, 2011 at 8:39 PM)  

Remember George Burns as God in Oh God!? He said his one mistake was the avocado: "The pit's too big." But I think the mango's pit is bigger. Both delicious!

One  – (June 11, 2011 at 9:00 PM)  

What fun shots! I have mango trees. I bought the grafted ones. One of them has been fruiting after a year and has been fruiting ever since. I also planted a seed for fun but it may take ages to bear any fruit.

greggo  – (June 12, 2011 at 5:51 PM)  

We should be listening to some Jimmy Buffet music..

Helen Lewis  – (June 13, 2011 at 3:12 AM)  

Check these articles out:

Good luck!

Alan  – (June 13, 2011 at 1:43 PM)  

Thanks for the links Helen. The seed in the plastic bag was put on top of a heat source, and is already showing some radicle growth (not radical growth), and the seed is greening up.

Anne: thanks for the Trader Joe's tip. I'll check into frozen mangoes too.

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