15 Types of Mangoes: An Overview (With Pictures)
If you’ve ever taken a big juicy bite of ripe mango, you didn’t just eat any mango. You likely tore into a specialized mango cultivar. Cultivars are varieties of mango that are bred and grown for specific characteristics. The mango market today is dominated by cultivars that can vary wildly in size, appearance, and flavor. Mango cultivars are a booming industry and a fantastic hobby for people with a green thumb and a sweet tooth.
Mango Cultivar Overview
There are hundreds of different mango cultivars found globally today, and some people estimate the number of unique mango varieties could even be in the thousands. A cultivar is a variation of a mango that produces different qualities. Think of mango cultivars similar to dog breeds. Dog breeds are very different from one another, but at the end of the day, they are all formed from the same species. That is how mango cultivars work. There are hundreds of varieties, but they are all spawned from a single parent species.
Mango cultivars are bred and grown worldwide, from the United States to Mexico to India, Pakistan, and Malaysia. Mangos are cultivated for different qualities.
- Growing season
Some mangos are bred to be eaten by people as sweet treats. Others are bred for cooking purposes. Each mango has a different set of qualities that sets it apart from the others, giving them ideal uses and regional popularity.
The 15 Most Common Types of mango
1. Tommy Atkins
When most people think of a mango, they likely envision a Tommy Atkins mango. The Tommy Atkins mango is one of the most common mango cultivars in the world. This variety is prized for its extremely long shelf life and its ability to be shipped around the world without any issues. The fact that this mango can be exported so easily means it appears everywhere from California to Israel and the United Kingdom.
The Tommy Atkins mango has an extremely hard exterior skin that prevents it from being bruised, cut, or crushed during mass shipping. Other mangoes would not survive long trips in crates from their origin point. The Tommy Atkins mango is not renowned for its sweetness or flavor. It has a generic flavor pallet and mild sweetness. However, this variety is bred to allow people who do not often get access to mangoes a higher degree of availability. This fruit is grown and exported throughout North and South America, including in places such as the United States, Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela.
The Ataulfo mango is one of the largest mango cultivars that originates in Mexico. The Ataulfo mango has grown in strength and popularity over the past couple of decades, earning it a spot as one of just 18 important products to be labeled Mexican Designations of Origin. Mexico exports tons of these mangoes annually, largely to the United States. The Ataulfo mango has become the second most popular mango in the US after the dominant Tommy Atkins variety. Ataulfo mangoes are small, golden, and have a medium level of sweetness. They have slowly grown to become one of the top six agricultural products in portions of rural Mexico.
The Haden mango is one of the oldest mango cultivars in the world. Its age and brilliance have made it one of the most common mango varieties in history. Haden mangoes are also the origin of many other extremely popular varieties of mango. Haden mangoes were used to develop over two dozen named cultivars, including some of the most popular, like Tommy Atkins, Irwin, Palmer, and Zill. The age and importance of the Haden mango have landed it in the pages of history. However, the fruit has a gorgeous color and a delectable flavor to go with it. Haden mangoes have been surpassed by its children, like the Tommy Atkins, but it is still a locally popular fruit in South Florida, where it originated.
Francis mangoes are grown primarily in the island nation of Haiti. They are also known as Madame Francis mangoes in the localities where they are grown natively. Francis mangoes are extremely sweet and have a lot of fiber in them. They emit a fruity aroma that instantly brings you to the tropics where they grow. Haiti exports large numbers of Francis mangoes when they are in season, where they make their way to places such as New York City as an exotic treat. Francis mangoes are very popular in Haiti, where they are grown in backyards and on small farms dotting the landscape.
Keitt mangoes are a cultivar grown in South Florida and known for their late season. Keitt mangoes can be picked well into November, making them far later than other mango varieties. Keitt mangoes are also known for their size. Keitt mangoes typically weigh 2 pounds but can get as large as 5 pounds, making them one of the largest available cultivars in the world. Keitt mangoes are very sweet but also pack a tangy punch. The trees of the Keitt mango grow very quickly but rarely exceed heights of 20 feet, making them a great tree for a small farm or homestead.
Kent mangoes are a cultivar that originates from Coral Gables, Florida. In fact, the original mango tree that produced the original variant is still alive and thriving in Florida. The tree was planted in 1933, making it nearly 100 years old. Kent mangoes are small and ovoid in shape. They are very sweet and rarely weigh more than half a pound. Kent mango trees can grow very large, with heights over 30 feet tall, and each tree produces a heavy crop when they are healthy. Kent mangoes are still grown but mainly exist as home trees and on small, specialized farms in the Miami area.
Alphonso mangoes hail from India, where they are one of the most popular varieties of mango available. Unlike many cultivars, Alphonso mangoes are expensive and are prized for their use in cooking. Alphonso mangoes have a very distinctive flavor, rich color, and an extremely creamy texture. The creaminess of the flesh makes them perfect for use in things such as ice cream, smoothies, sorbet, mousse, and purees. The Alphonso mango is an early-season cultivar and can appear as early as February in some parts of India. They are available through June.
The Palmer mango is one of the largest cultivars in the world. Palmers were developed in Miami in the early 20th century. Today, they are prized for their size. The largest examples of Palmer mangoes can weigh multiple pounds compared to a typical mango which usually comes in under one pound. Palmers have a mild but distinct sweetness and a faint aroma. They are grown in the United States, parts of Africa, and Australia, where people grow them for their bulk. Palmer mangoes are late-season bloomers and can produce fruit into September. The trees are large and grow very quickly in ideal conditions.
The Irwin mango was developed in South Florida (like many other mango cultivars) but was exported to Asia, where it remains extremely popular. The Irwin mango is grown in South Korea, Australia, and Japan. The Japanese refer to the Irwin mango as the apple mango due to its bright red exterior color. The Irwin mango emits a pleasant aroma and can fill a room with good smells before and during consumption. The flavor of the Irwin mango is very delicious, but it is mild and not overpowering. Despite being developed in Florida, the mango is most popular in Asia today.
The Badami mango is one of the most sought-after mango cultivars in India. It has a very classic look with a bright yellow outer skin and is often adorned with a single bright green leaf. The Badami mango is extremely flavorful with a high degree of sweetness. It has soft skin and very few fibers which makes it easy to eat and a great base for succulent smoothies. It is very similar in popularity and taste to the Alphonso mango giving it the nickname Alphonso of Karnataka. This popular cultivar is picked in April and May, making it one of the earliest mango varieties available each year.
The Himsagar mango is one of the most popular mangoes in Bangladesh. It is heavily cultivated in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. The fruit is prized for its low fiber content, though it does have high levels of pulp. The Himsagar mango has been named the best mango in the world by some sources. The inside of the Himsagar mango is bright deep orange, and the fruit keeps very well on the shelf and when frozen. The longevity of this cultivar makes it a popular choice to stock up on. The growing season produces the most fruit in May and June. The Himsagar mango is highly cherished in the Bengal region of the world.
The Julie mango is a popular mango cultivar that hails from the Caribbean. This variety exploded because the trees remain extremely short and stout making them very easy to maintain in a typical household yard. The Julie mango, also known as the Saint Julian mango, remains one of the most popular cultivars in the Caribbean. It has an uncommon flat shape and a rich green color when it is ripe. The trees rarely grow over 20 feet tall, making them an ideal lawn ornament. The Julie mango was named the fruit of choice of the US Virgin Islands in 2019, codifying its importance and popularity in the region.
Carabao mangoes are an integral part of the Philippines. They are the most popular mango cultivar in the island nation, and they are also an extremely important export. Countries from around the world buy carabao mangoes for their extreme sweetness and foreign flavor pallet. Carabao mangoes were named the sweetest mangoes in the world in 1995. Everything about the Carabao mango is Filipino. It also goes by the name of Philippine mango or Manila mango, and it was initially named after the national animal of the Philippines, the carabao. If you ever find yourself in this part of the world you will easily find a slew of carabao mangoes to try and enjoy. Just be sure you are prepared for an extremely sweet flavor.
The pico mango is one of the most popular mango cultivars in the Philippines after the carabao mango. The pico mango is sometimes locally spelled piko or referred to as the padero. Picos have a yellow to orange color when they are ripe and produce a medium sweetness that is good to eat. Unlike the carabao mango, picos are more acidic and have short stubby fibers. Pico mangos are a classic example of a Southeast Asian mango cultivar, and if you ever find yourself in the Philippines, you are likely to run into these fruits.
Banganapalle mangoes hail from the Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh, India. The Banganapalle mango has been called the King of Mangoes and the Pride of India due to its widespread popularity, large size, and pleasing flavor. Banganapalles are one of the most widely produced mango cultivars in the world. This mango produces very little pulp or fiber which makes it perfect for use in juices, smoothies, and for canning. It is extremely popular in India and makes up over 70% of the mango cultivars that come out of the Andhra Pradesh region.
New mango cultivars are dreamed up and bred every year. Some estimates say that there are 1000 cultivar varieties in India alone. In some parts of the world, creating and breeding mango cultivars is a hobby that continues to produce new varieties all of the time. As long as mangos continue to be a popular fruit, there will continue to be more and different mango cultivars appearing all of the time. This list is in no way exhaustive, and one could spend a lifetime cataloging, trying, and breeding mango cultivars.
Featured Image Credit: Witaya Thasak, Shutterstock