28 Dec2008

Mangosteen Trivia…

by Marketman


Here’s a bit of silly tropical fruit trivia that I suspect many of you didn’t know, or at least I didn’t until I read about it while doing research on mangosteens a year or two ago… If you look at the bottom end of a mangosteen fruit (not the stem end) and count the “petals” on the “flower” there, the number of petals will be exactly the same as the number of fruit segments within the fruit…


Isn’t that really cool? :) There are scientific names of these fruit parts but I couldn’t be bothered to look them up again. Just remember, count the petals and you will see that the number of segments will match perfectly. There are usually between 5 and 8 or 9 petals and I look for fruit with more petals as more segments generally means a higher proportion of segments WITHOUT pesky seeds. :) Heeheehee. Now I can see readers at the markets turning over each and every mangosteen in search of the ones with the most petals…



  1. grace says:

    Thanks for this bit of info. haha will definitely be turning over and counting each mangosteen from now on.

    Dec 28, 2008 | 9:19 am


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  3. diday says:

    We are going to the Sunday Market in 30 minutes. The market is only open on Sundays – we do our weekly shopping for some fresh produce, Asian fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, and visit the only Filipino store and buy ‘silhig tukog’. I will definitely be searching for mangosteen.

    Dec 28, 2008 | 9:20 am

  4. krq says:

    Yup, knew this! I was new to mangosteens, and researched them on the web before I bought them at 14USD a pound!

    Dec 28, 2008 | 9:20 am

  5. keithchiko says:

    hehe i did not know that! love mangosteens, so now i know better when i get them again..sadly though have to wait til i get back to the phils :(

    Dec 28, 2008 | 9:25 am

  6. michelle o says:

    What an interesting bit of info on the mangosteen. I love this fruit. It’s kind of under-rated in my opinion.

    Dec 28, 2008 | 10:33 am

  7. Lei says:

    my husband taught me this neat little trick then and it is really amazing to see that it really is true everytime you open a mangosteen!

    Dec 28, 2008 | 10:36 am

  8. bagito says:

    my father in law used this trick to amaze my husband’s siblings when they were little. they thought it was magic that he knew exactly how many segments there were in their respective mangosteens! *LOL*

    Dec 28, 2008 | 11:01 am

  9. sister says:

    It relates to how the flower was fertilized to become the fruit. Just like every corn silk is equal to the number of kernels on the cob,,, just another bit of trivia.

    Dec 28, 2008 | 11:56 am

  10. sister says:

    Or one silk to every kernel.

    Dec 28, 2008 | 11:57 am

  11. fried-neurons says:

    I’m happy as a clam now that the US Government allows importation of Thai mangosteens. On top of that, mangosteen trees (they are trees, right? lol) planted in Puerto Rico and Southern California ages ago have now started to bear fruit fit to sell. Yay! I don’t have to go to Vancouver for my fix anymore. :)

    Dec 28, 2008 | 12:17 pm

  12. misao says:

    wow! this is a helpful trivia… thanks MM!

    Dec 28, 2008 | 1:15 pm

  13. evel says:

    this is really cool!!..love mangosteen, but i havent tasted the mangosteen cake yet…heard its available at St. Francis Square in Ortigas

    Dec 28, 2008 | 1:43 pm

  14. Ellen says:

    Wow, I didn’t know this! Cool trivia. Thanks, MM!

    Dec 28, 2008 | 5:49 pm

  15. moni says:

    MM, you’re absolutely right about this useful trivia about mangosteen. Even Thais believe this and I learned about it from my Thai friend many, many years ago. Another simple rule in mangosteen selection, Thai style, is to choose those that you can press. Don’t get the hard ones coz you can’t open them.

    Dec 28, 2008 | 6:20 pm

  16. chinky says:

    My top 3 favorite tropical fruits: mango, mangosteen, and durian! When we lived in Davao in the 70s, we used to get mangosteens by the crate–oh so sweet!

    Dec 28, 2008 | 7:46 pm

  17. Connie C says:

    Has anybody heard of a fruit called tabo? It has the taste of a wonderful heavenly combination of a sweet santol and mangosteen, if you can imagine. I chanced upon it in an open market in Puerto Princesa. Palawan. It is the size of one’s fist, sometimes larger with the segments pretty much like santol or mangosteen but arranged in a random fashion with no membrane dividing the segments. It only fruits in the summer and grows in the wild I am told.
    I wonder if they are distant cousins.

    Dec 28, 2008 | 8:23 pm

  18. shella says:

    nice trivia. i love mangosteens so this was an amazing bit of info.

    Dec 28, 2008 | 8:31 pm

  19. Jade186 says:

    Thanks MM! How about a tip on how to tell if a watermelon is sweet and bright red inside before opening it? :)

    Dec 29, 2008 | 1:57 am

  20. PLANCQ Jérôme says:

    Hi Marketman,

    This is me again. I eventually found an official name & a casual one for the yellow fruit I once asked you about… it is called “gourka” or ‘garcinia dulcis’. Your post about mangosteen just makes me think about it (and also makes me feel awkward for not having informed you about it before !)
    That’s all I wanted to say for today. Keep up the good job…
    Hey, by the way, the invitation for Gabon is still valid. There are plenty of filipino folks here and we had a great beach-lechon-christmas-party last Dec 25th.

    Dec 29, 2008 | 4:49 am

  21. Joanne says:

    Thanks MM! This is a very cool trivia for a fruit i love to eat.

    Dec 29, 2008 | 7:25 am

  22. edel says:

    wow, nice trivia– will scout the market for mangosteen asap =)

    wishing everyone a blessed new year !!!

    Dec 29, 2008 | 1:16 pm

  23. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Great to know this…Happy new year!!

    Dec 29, 2008 | 2:22 pm

  24. kate says:

    this is really cool :) thank you for sharing. i think i’ll be counting the “petals” in the market now!

    Dec 29, 2008 | 3:16 pm

  25. moni says:

    MM, Jade186’s query about “how to tell if a watermelon is sweet and bright red inside” made me chuckle. A watermelon’sweetness and redness are a function of variety. Sugar Baby is the variety that has the qualities that Jade186 alluded to. Anyway, since you’ve started with the mangosteen tip, perhaps it would be very helpful to us readers if you have a post on “market smart” tips based on experience, common sense or folk knowledge, such as how to tell if the malasugi (swordfish) is fat so you don’t end up buying malasugi whose meat is like chewing gum (fish vendors usually bend the dorsal fin), how to tell if the blue crab is fat, etc. Then readers could also share their own heuristics. Just some thought for 2009. Thanks MM.

    Dec 29, 2008 | 4:29 pm

  26. Bubut says:

    i love this fruit… thanks for the tip. they also mention that mangosteen is good for those having hormonal imbalance.

    Dec 29, 2008 | 4:44 pm

  27. MarketFan says:

    ha ha and when you see somebody turning over the mangosteen, ask if he knows MM… definitely a good way to start a conversation ;-)

    Sister, counting the corn silk hair would definitely be more difficult.

    Dec 29, 2008 | 7:13 pm

  28. kiko says:

    I did not know this! Thanks for telling us Marketman!

    Dec 29, 2008 | 8:33 pm

  29. Good Life says:

    I like this kind of info.Turning the fruit to count the petals is another way to enjoy the marketplace.Hope to get more trivia from you.ThanksMM

    Dec 30, 2008 | 1:13 am

  30. bernadette says:

    Thanks, MM for the mangosteen trivia! My mother loves mangosteen and this is something that will thrill her no end. She will surely be counting the petals outside to get the best of the fruit! :-D

    Dec 30, 2008 | 10:19 am

  31. Maki says:

    now that’s trivia…….


    im gonna go ahead and check it after this hour of internet rental….

    Dec 30, 2008 | 4:37 pm

  32. dak says:

    cool! and did you knoe that it has an antifungal property? righty! it was the study of our thesis in college…

    Dec 30, 2008 | 6:09 pm

  33. betty q. says:

    Jade 186…As MOni said…variety plays a key role in determing the color of the watermelon…say for instance CrimsonSweet (red flesh) ..now for the sweetness: it is also determined by a thing called percentage of sugar present in the melon…say for instance 12% would be what you are after! So, talk to the fruit vendor. If she/he knows his stuff, a good vendor would be able to tell you!

    To determine ripeness, look for the side of the melon that lays on the ground. If it is deep yellow, that is good! Unripe melon picked before its due date is sort of creamy white. DO NOT GET THOSE!!! If you are fortunate enough to pick your own, then look for the tendril nearest the melon…it should be BROWN, underside, deep yellow. I have grown watermelons successfully here in the Pacific Northwest all sizes and shapes even SQUARE!!!!…variety I grow is suitable for our conditions here..short summers, so days to maturity is about 55 to 75 days! I have also grown yellow, orange, pink, marbled RED and ORANGE flesh!!!! My favorite of all…ORANGE flesh variety called NEW queen…sooooo sweet!!!

    Dec 31, 2008 | 9:36 am

  34. Jade186 says:

    I was not alluding to the variety of the watermelon with my previous comment, but as to how the potential buyer could distinguish a sweet, bright red (the sugar baby variety) watermelon from a pale, bland one before cutting it open.

    Curious note: I sometimes see some people tapping a watermelon, but have no clue whatsoever what this indicates; does this action have any real significance in knowing the watermelon’s inside state, or just an old wives’ tale?

    Dec 31, 2008 | 9:43 am

  35. Jade186 says:

    Thanks betty q., we posted almost at the same moment. I’ll look for the deep yellow colouring then.

    Dec 31, 2008 | 9:46 am

  36. moni says:

    Jade186, I’m with you. Many sellers tap a watermelon, especially when you ask them to choose a good one for you. I’ve asked the watermelon sellers for the telltale signs of a good fruit. They often mumble an answer but if we tapped the watermelon ourselves, it is hard to decipher what the tapping sound means. It’s also like when you buy a coconut in the wet market and the seller shakes the nut. I’ve been buying coconuts for ages but I still would not know how to detect a rotten coconut from the shaking sounds. That’s why I wrote that watermelon sweetness is dictated by variety. Bettyq is right, look for the deep yellow underside.

    Dec 31, 2008 | 5:17 pm

  37. anna.banana says:

    oh wow mangosteen! my favorite fruit of all time! Just came from Davao and hmmm man, the price of mangosteen was steep at 200 per kilo! So expensive! But still worth it. I also gorged enough Durian to last me a few months. Funny how durian’s smell stays and seeps through your pores even after a day. haha.

    Jan 1, 2009 | 5:43 pm

  38. Elmer I. Nocheseda says:

    The Filipino word for mangosteen is “manggis”

    Jan 2, 2009 | 9:51 pm

  39. moni says:

    Elmer, you meant manggis is the Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia term for mangosteen?

    Jan 3, 2009 | 4:44 pm

  40. emen says:

    Wow, that was very interesting. =] This fruit is so expensive. The last time I bought this in Tagaytay and was sold for P400/half kilo!!! Too bad that I only tasted 4-5 pieces (1/4) of this fruit just to try it. Damn!

    Jan 4, 2009 | 2:10 am

  41. Marketman says:

    emen, at the peak of a good season, you can buy this for PHP5-10 per kilo at the source in Mindanao, as little as PHP15 a kilo in Cebu… I think PHP800 a kilo is totally outrageous pricing… I hope they were at least very good… In Bangkok and Vietnam, the finest mangosteens can be as much as PHP200-300 a kilo, but they are brilliantly delicious. Elmer, in sulu and other parts of Mindanao, I understand the term is manggis, the same as Malaysian and Indonesian… but up North, I have never heard anyone use the term manggis…

    Jan 5, 2009 | 5:18 pm

  42. veron says:

    Hay naku, even though the FDA approved the improt of mangosteen into the U.S. , I still do not see the fruit anywhere which is rumoured to be $10.00 a pound.

    Jan 6, 2009 | 11:08 pm

  43. ikawiyan says:

    my husband and i tried the mangosteen that we found at a local asian market (washington state). they were so hard, we couldn’t open them. good thing that we’re not that far from Vancouver, B.C. we’ll continue to do our yearly trip to get our fresh mangosteen fix.

    Jan 7, 2009 | 5:52 am

  44. i_live2eat says:

    the petals you are referring to are actually the remnants of the stigma.we always look forward to my tita’s visits. she’s from davao and she usually brings mangosteen fruits and candy bars as pasalubong.YUM! she also brings us the not-so-smelly variety of durian she grows in our farm there.mangosteen is already commercially grown in parts of miami, they even make mangosteen juice.

    Jan 9, 2009 | 3:35 pm

  45. jojo says:

    hello MM, this blog is very interesting. I’ve been reading your posts and the comments for an hour now and I find myself chuckling every now and then.

    jade186, betty q. and moni: i don’t know how to explain it but i can tap and shake coconuts and know what’s inside right away. i can determine if the coconut is maayo, bungol, sagay, or gilakdan sa buwan. i think i learned this from my brothers when i was a kid. we used to “harvest” coconuts from our neighbor’s hacienda while we pasture carabaos on summer afternoons back then and i thought everybody knew how to do it. i guess it comes with growing up in the farm, you just sort of “know” things without really understanding how.

    oh, and i noticed this has nothing to do with mangosteen! lol

    Feb 2, 2009 | 10:15 pm

  46. el_jefe says:

    MM…not all mangosteens sold in manila today comes from mindanao alone….there are mangosteen plantations in majayjay in laguna and lucban in quezon…mangosteen thrives well on areas with no pronounced dry season…it favors moist and cool environment and grows best under the shade of coconut trees….mangosteens produced in the uplands of laguna have no big diffrence from those grown in mindanao…the taste and sweetness is the same as in mindanao however smaller fruits are observed…it sells for 50-70 pesos per kilo on season..

    Oct 29, 2009 | 2:33 pm

  47. emsy says:

    my grandfather taught that to me when i was little by “magically” guessing the number of seeds inside a mangoosteen. when i would ask how many seeds would be in a particular fruit, he’d take the fruit from me and turn it over and over, his face in a very convincing meditative frown and declare: “singko!” or “siete!” and always, he’s right. good thing he broke it to me afterwards. haha in Zamboanga, though, it’s hard to pick each mangosteen and turn it over because they’re sold in bunches of around 20-24 pieces. At their peak, each bunch is only php20. i miss that price here in manila!

    Dec 16, 2009 | 9:29 am

  48. Robert says:

    Mangosteen is laden with heavy anti-oxidant that cures numerous cancers next to broccoli veggie and acai fruits…hence it is highly beneficial to our health, these foods are top-of-the line food no doubt it demands high price in the market.

    High demand of these peculiar foods are increasing these days for the health conscious people to ward-off toxins absorbed by our intestines by accommulation of eating food grown synthetically.

    Enjoy eating for your good health!…

    Feb 3, 2010 | 6:47 pm


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