15 Fascinating Facts About the Exotic Mangosteen Fruit

Mangosteen fruit on wooden background

The mangosteen is one of the most delicious and intriguing fruits found in the tropics. With its deep reddish-purple rind and soft, sweet white arils, it’s easy to see why the mangosteen is referred to as the “Queen of Fruits.”

This exotic fruit has a captivating backstory spanning centuries. The mangosteen has long been revered for its exquisite taste and medicinal properties across Southeast Asia. Even today, the mangosteen retains an air of mystery and royal privilege.

Ready to learn more about this fascinating fruit? Keep reading for 15 interesting facts about the exotic mangosteen!

1. Mangosteens Earned the Nickname “Queen of Fruits”

Female hand with fresh and ripe mangosteen
Female hand with fresh and ripe mangosteen

The mangosteen is known as the “Queen of Fruits” in Southeast Asia, especially Thailand. This regal nickname comes from the fruit’s exquisite taste and delicate appearance that requires special handling. Its sweet, juicy flesh is considered one of the most delicious of all tropical fruits.

2. Native to Tropical Southeast Asia

Mangosteens are native to tropical Southeast Asian countries like:

  • Thailand
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines
  • Myanmar

The warm, humid climate and ample rainfall provide perfect growing conditions for mangosteen trees.

3. A Unique Flavor Profile

The edible white aril or flesh of the mangosteen has a unique sweet and sour flavor profile. It tastes like:

  • Sweet grapes
  • Peaches
  • Vanilla ice cream

The delicate flesh melts in your mouth with a sweet, slightly tangy taste and creamy texture.

4. Packed With Nutrients and Antioxidants

Mangosteens are low in calories but packed with nutrients like:

NutrientNutrient ValuePercent of RDA
Energy73 Kcal3.5%
Carbohydrates17.91 g14%
Protein0.41 g1%
Total Fat0.58 g3%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber1.8 g4.5%
– Folates31 µg8%
– Niacin0.286 mg2%
– Pantothenic acid0.032 mg<1%
– Pyridoxine0.041 mg3%
– Riboflavin0.054 mg4%
– Thiamin0.054 mg4.5%
– Vitamin A35 IU1%
– Vitamin C2.9 mg5%
– Sodium7 mg0.5%
– Potassium48 mg1%
– Calcium12 mg1.2%
– Copper0.069 mg7%
– Iron0.30 mg4%
– Magnesium13 mg3%
– Manganese0.10 mg4%
– Phosphorus9.21 mg1%
– Zinc0.21 mg2%

Please note that the percentages of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) are approximate values and can vary based on individual dietary needs.

The fruit owes its deep purple color to beneficial plant compounds called xanthones, which act as antioxidants.

5. Touted for Anti-Inflammatory Effects

The xanthones in mangosteen have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Some research shows mangosteen extracts can help:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Fight bacteria
  • Slow cancer cell growth

More studies are needed to confirm specific benefits.

6. A Tropical Treat with Many Uses

Medicinal tincture of mangosteen.
Medicinal tincture of mangosteen.

There are numerous ways to enjoy mangosteens:

  • Eat fresh arils as a snack
  • Make juices and smoothies
  • Craft mangosteen jam
  • Use in salads, desserts, drinks

Don’t let the rind go to waste – it can be used to make tea!

7. Harvesting is Done By Hand

Mangosteens for commercial use are always handpicked. Workers carefully twist the fruit off the branch when it’s fully mature.

This minimizes damage to the delicate pericarp or rind. Proper harvesting is key for flavor and extending shelf life.

8. Precious Cargo: Needs Careful Handling

A mangosteen’s rind may look tough but it’s easily damaged. Bruising and leaking juice leads to rotting. Extra care is taken when packing mangosteens for export.

Cushioning materials are used to prevent crushing. Storage at cool temperatures also helps preserve freshness.

9. Highly Perishable and Seasonal

Mangosteens have a very short shelf life of only 1-3 weeks after harvesting. Exposing the flesh to air quickly causes oxidation and decay.

The trees also yield fruit only once a year, during the rainy season. Production is limited to a few months compared to year-round for other fruits.

10. Formerly Banned in the United States

Imports of mangosteen were once banned in the U.S. due to fear of introducing the Asian fruit fly, a destructive pest.

The ban was lifted in 2007, finally allowing the masses to enjoy this queenly fruit. Irradiation treatment on all imports effectively kills any potential pests.

Don’t throw away the leathery purple rind! It’s used to make tea and other drinks in parts of Southeast Asia.

To reduce bitterness, the rind is boiled in water before drinking. The tea is higher in xanthones than the fruit itself.

12. The Trees are Slow Growing

Mangosteen trees are slow-growing and take 8 to 15 years to reach fruiting maturity. Some trees bear fruit for over 100 years!

The trees thrive in tropical climates with hot, humid conditions. They cannot tolerate temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

13. Mangosteens Command High Prices

Mangosteen fruit on wooden background
Mangosteen fruit on a wooden background

Demand for the Queen of Fruits far outstrips supply, especially in Europe, Japan, and the U.S. Import prices are regularly $60 or more per kilogram.

Consumers eagerly pay top dollar for a chance to enjoy this exotic delicacy. The high value makes mangosteens an important commercial crop.

14. Production is Expanding Globally

Mangosteens are now grown commercially in parts of Central America, Africa, and Australia. However, 95% of production still comes from Asia.

Thailand remains the world’s largest producer and exporter. But Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines are also major hub

15. Mangosteens Have Cultural Significance

In Southeast Asian culture, the mangosteen symbolizes hospitality, friendship, and respect.

Offering mangosteens to visitors is considered good etiquette. The fruit also features in local folklore and traditional medicine.


After reading these mangosteen facts, you can see why it has earned such prestige in tropical regions. From its delicate flavors to purported health benefits, the mangosteen stands out among exotic fruits. While supplies are still limited outside of Asia, global cultivation is expanding.

The next time you spot mangosteens at a specialty market, consider treating yourself to this Queen of Fruits. Savor its sweet-tart flesh and think about the long journey it made from jungle origins to your table. The mangosteen’s unique taste and pedigree make it a fruit really fit for royalty.

Stack of Purple mangosteen
Stack of Purple mangosteen


Mangosteen is a unique, tropical, sweet-and-sour fruit grown on an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. The edible fruit is deep reddish-purple when ripe and contains juicy, segmented, white flesh inside a thick rind. Mangosteen has a flavor profile described as sweet, tangy, and peachy.

Mangosteen has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Some potential health benefits of mangosteen include:

  • Boosting the immune system
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Lowering risk of cancer
  • Improving skin health
  • Aiding digestion
  • Supporting cardiovascular health

The antioxidants and xanthones found in mangosteen are thought to be responsible for many of these benefits. However, more research is still needed.

First, wash the mangosteen fruit thoroughly under cool running water. Use a sharp knife to cut around the top “equator” of the fruit. Twist the halves apart to expose the fleshy segments inside. The rind is quite thick, so take care when cutting. Gently pop the juicy segments out of the rind and enjoy fresh or add them to fruit salads, smoothies, or desserts.

The white flesh of the mangosteen fruit has a mild, sweet, and tangy tropical flavor. The taste is unique and often described as peachy, creamy, and refreshing. When perfectly ripe, the juicy flesh will melt in your mouth with flavors of citrus, peach, and strawberry.

Some research indicates mangosteen may help with weight loss and fat burning due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The high fiber and water content in mangosteen can also help promote feelings of fullness. However, human studies are limited and more research is needed to confirm specific weight loss benefits.

Yes, dogs can eat mangosteen fruit safely and may enjoy the sweet flavor. Be sure to remove the pit first, as it could be a choking hazard. Introduce mangosteen slowly and in moderation to monitor for any digestive upset. Avoid giving dogs the thick, bitter rind which may cause irritation.

Fresh mangosteen can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. For longer storage, keep mangosteen refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Mangosteen should not be frozen, as freezing damages the delicate fruit. Store mangosteen unwashed in a perforated plastic bag in the warmest part of the fridge.

Due to its tropical nature, mangosteen can be difficult to find year-round, especially in temperate climates. Look for fresh mangosteen seasonally in Asian specialty markets. Canned or frozen mangosteen may also be available. Mangosteen supplements in powder or juice form are also increasingly common in health food stores.

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