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What is a Mangosteen?

L. S. Wynn
By L. S. Wynn
Updated May 16, 2024
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The mangosteen is a round, purple fruit slightly smaller than a tennis ball, but it has absolutely nothing to do with a mango—a mangosteen is not known to taste anything like mangoes, nor does it look like one. The fruit originated in Malaysia and grows on trees in warm climates, but it is difficult to grow due to its temperamental nature. It has a sweet taste while being slightly sour at the same time.

Where they are Grown

The mangosteen grows on small evergreen trees in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and southern India. Some farmers are trying their luck in Hawaii and the Caribbean, but the fruit is generally difficult to grow. It is said that Queen Victoria offered a sizable prize to anyone who could bring an edible mangosteen back to England, but no one was able.

Most mangosteens are currently not available or grown in the United States because the rind can carry pests that would threaten other crops; the only mangosteens legally allowed to be imported to the United States mainland are those from Hawaii or Puerto Rico. The fruit can be legally imported to Canada, and can also be found in Europe and parts of the Mediterranean. Canned mangosteen is also an option, but for most people, the flavor does not even seem to resemble that of the fresh fruit.

How it's Eaten

To eat it, one can crush the brittle, yet moist, rind with the palm of the hand to reveal the pure-white fruit inside. The bitter rind is inedible, and the fruit comes in the form of variously sized wedged segments, similar to garlic, but the largest mangosteen wedge may hold a solitary, bitter seed that is not usually eaten. The number of segments usually varies from four to eight, which is matched by the number of points on the protrusion from the underside of the fruit; therefore, it is easy to know how many pieces of fruit are inside before opening it. Usually, the fruit can be kept at room temperature for up to one week, but it may last a few days longer if kept cold such as in the refrigerator.

What it Tastes Like

Many people say that a mangosteen does not really taste like anything else they may have eaten, so it's best not to take comparisons too literally. The fruit is known to be sweet, but tempered with a very slight sourness. The mangosteen has flavors that range from strawberry, peach, to vanilla ice cream.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon283457 — On Aug 04, 2012

Mangosteen is a great antioxidant and is a great source for shedding the chemical waste accumulated in human body due to chemical reaction that takes place inside the body.

By anon268364 — On May 14, 2012

I just bought a 4ft tall mangosteen sapling from Thrissur in Kerala, South India and planted it in my farm house in Bangalore. I paid 400 Rs.(8 $) for it. The foliage is so beautiful. The sapling holds the pride spot in my garden. Glad I could get my hands on this wonderful plant.

By anon145086 — On Jan 21, 2011

i bought a dozen of mangosteen at the mercado municipal in sao paulo for $7 last year. it was delicious.

By Mandura — On Dec 03, 2010

I have a house in South Thailand and around my house we have Mangosteen and Durian, the real Queen and King of fruit. It tastes like heaven.

Thank you for this great website!

By anon127155 — On Nov 15, 2010

I live in Muscat, Oman. Our local supermarkets have loads of mangosteens, plus starfruit, durian, mangoes, lychees, and every other kind of wonderful fruit not available in the US. Food shopping heaven! I would agree, mangosteens are up there with the very best fruits.

By anon124067 — On Nov 04, 2010

Lancetilla botanical gardens in Tela Honduras, planted by the United Fruit Co. years ago, reportedly has the the largest grove outside of Asia. We would eat them by the bucket load as kids. "Underexploited Tropical Fruit with Promising Economic Value", gives info on them. Almost impossible to root from cuttings, exacting weather and soil conditions, years to mature, and short shelf life are limitations. E. R. Ostmark

By anon123379 — On Nov 01, 2010

please, please can anyone supply me with a mangosteen plant?

By anon110978 — On Sep 14, 2010

Ate my first mangosteen yesterday in Kinshasa, really something very different and really tasty. Bought like five here for under a dollar.

By anon91193 — On Jun 20, 2010

I just bought fresh Mangosteen in Chinatown, Philadelphia. Incredibly fresh and reasonably priced at $7.99 per pound.

By anon89797 — On Jun 12, 2010

We are from India related to state of Punjab. We got this content from a drink named Mcdowell branding Diet Mate whisky showing blended with garcinia extract. We got knowledge from net engine that Garcinia is most beneficial for health. We recommend this type of drink having such valuable health nutrition elements may be used as a tonic. Bhatty Bar, Advocates

Dist Courts Bathinda, Punjab, India.

By anon85982 — On May 23, 2010

Mangosteen is actually a fruit one should taste before leaving this world. i just love it.

By anon75846 — On Apr 08, 2010

I need to know how to grow and process mangosteen fruit in South India. I know of a large plantation available for this project.

i have eaten the fruit many times. the rind we threw away, not knowing that it is the rind which has all the good effects. the taste was terrific, more like lychees and a mild orange or lime. could not figure it out.

By anon73081 — On Mar 25, 2010

I live in Bowling Green, MO. Where can I buy Mangosteens?

By anon71881 — On Mar 20, 2010

I live on Maui and planted my four mangosteens 20 years ago. My first real crop was last year. I sell these off the Hana highway on Sundays when I have them. This year doesn't look too good, but next year will be better.

By anon70717 — On Mar 15, 2010

Its available in India at upmarket grocery shops as well as supermarkets like Spencers, Niligiris.

It tastes really good sort of like Lichis with a tang of lemon. But it's too expensive.

By anon70550 — On Mar 15, 2010

i live in kailua kona, hawaii. Can i get this fruit here. and if so, where?

By anon68351 — On Mar 02, 2010

Where can I get mangosteen in India (State: West Bengal; City: Kolkata) and in what local name is it available in India (State: West Bengal; City: Kolkata)? Tell the name if possible in Bengali language. Please help.

By anon65820 — On Feb 16, 2010

I live in India, Gujarat state, city Vadodara. i have a question: is this fruit helpful in curing pollen allergy? we don't have this fruit available in my city so how to get this fruit and from where?

By anon65603 — On Feb 14, 2010

The mangosteen has the highest antioxidant ORAC value of any of the fruits! Please make sure when buying any of the mangosteen juice's that you buy one that includes the "peri-carp" (outside rind) This is where "the good stuff" is at. I order Vemma. It has the mangosteen as a whole, not part or just juice.

By anon62750 — On Jan 28, 2010

Mangosteens are very popular in Vietnam. I had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

By anon62179 — On Jan 25, 2010

We do have a lot here in Vietnam; it is very tasty and sweet. but if you want all the benefits of the xanthones and antioxidants, you'll have to make tea with the purple rind (exocarp) of the fruit. you can still eat the pulp though.

By anon33242 — On Jun 03, 2009

I just got back from Vietnam, which is overflowing with mangosteens...and have heard that they are now available in the US from a grower in the Caribbean. They are truly the fruit of the gods...indescribable!

By anon16910 — On Aug 18, 2008

In response to anon2688, I don't know what can it do but mangosteen juices are really popular for dog sprays.

By anon16908 — On Aug 18, 2008

Why and where is it called the queen of fruits or queen of tropical fruits. The only place I knew where it's nickname was used is Malaysia (during a holiday in Lumut, Perak) for a reason which I do not know.

By anon13432 — On May 27, 2008

Also available in Sri Lanka.

By anon13377 — On May 26, 2008

Where Can/How can I import/ buy Mangosteens or Xango juice in namibia?

By solomonh — On May 20, 2008

I have got to try one of these? Can you buy them in places they aren't grown??

By vinayk25 — On May 16, 2008

cookycrazy -- I beg to differ very strongly. The best mangos are a variety called "Banganapally" grown in Andhra Pradesh state in South India. I have tasted mango's fram all over India as well as in USA (from Mexico etc). None of them can match Banganapally mangos.

By anon8961 — On Feb 25, 2008

The mangosteen fruit is available at Kings Supermarket in NJ

By anon8896 — On Feb 23, 2008

The seeds of this fruit lose their viability 5 days after leaving the pulp, so I would think it wouldn't be possible for them to be shipped anywhere. As for small plants...try getting them through customs. :D

By anon7807 — On Feb 03, 2008

It's one of the best fruits..I am planning to grow them on my estate..I am not able to find any nursery In India that can provide with the seeds or the small plants..

any advise or guidance appreciated

By somerset — On Jan 23, 2008

I just bought fresh mangosteen in a health food store in Kailua on the island of Oahu. I was told they are grown here in Hawaii; these were from Kauai. They were very expensive, but worth every bite.

By anon7291 — On Jan 23, 2008

In response to Michael about the borum:

Apparently Bor is Konkani (a language in India) for berry and borum is the plural of that. :/

I couldn't figure out what the actually berries were, though I looked a lot.

Some Indian berries I found that might be it:

Indian jujube: round or oblong, about 1/2 inch long and brown colored when ripe - pleasantly acidic when fresh becoming sweeter with ripening

Yellow Mombin/Hogplum: 1 inch long, oval shaped, with golden yellow thick skins and a large solitary seed - has a juicy slightly acidic and sweet flesh

Malayan Mombin: 2 to 3 inches long, oval shaped, with yellow thick skins, and a large solitary seed - has a juicy and slightly acidic flesh

Corky Debbar Tree fruit: 1/4") purple, edible fruit borne in clusters

Alphonso: Characteristically kidney shaped and sharply spicy in flavor. The color depends on the producing regions and varies from green with a red bloom to yellow with red spots.

tradewindsfruit has some info on exotic fruit as well as crescentbloom

Hope that was helpful. -Sharon

By anon6282 — On Dec 22, 2007

Mangosteen is also a medicinal plant. It's been used for thousands of years to help with pain and inflammation. You can get the juice that includes the entire fruit from just about anywhere on the market, but the best one is the purest one.

By anon5872 — On Dec 09, 2007

you can get them freeze dried at trader joes!

By jphal — On Dec 03, 2007

There is a local smoothie place in San Antonio, TX, that offers a variety of exotic fruits & flavors. One of them is mangosteen. Yummy!

By anon5412 — On Nov 24, 2007

i just moved to honduras from New jersey. I have 5 mangosteen trees on my property that just finished fruiting. They are the cutest fruit ever. They kind of hang there like cartoon Christmas balls, ripe for the picking....there were hundreds of them and I ate most of them, sometimes 15 a day! PURE HEAVEN!

By anon5208 — On Nov 17, 2007

Hi I grew up in India and moved away to Australia when I was 13 in 1969,

We used to get two Berries,

One was the size of a Cherry & had a red skin with Yellow flesh and a single seed also the size of a cherry seed

The other was Green ~ 1-2 inches long and oval shaped with a single elongated seed

Both of these berries were Called Borums by the english speaking anglo indians

I would like to know what is the correct name for these berries if they exist in the western world


By anon4367 — On Oct 15, 2007

I agree that mangosteens are definitely the best tasting fruit on the planet. It is sad that much of the world is deprived of them.

I gotta sneak some seeds back and grow em in a greenhouse!

By anon3508 — On Sep 02, 2007

There is currently a drink you can buy in your local stores. It is a mangosteen juice drink my aunt showed me. It was an odd tasting drink. I have never tasted anything like it, but very different shades of other fruit flavors. It also contains high levels of anti-oxidants. I'm not sure which has more, pomegranates, or the mangosteen. But

would like to try mixing them both =). It should become a staple in the near future. As we move towards natural preventative foods for their properties of helping with all manners of disease and chronic illness.

By anon2688 — On Jul 21, 2007

I have been given a water solution of mangosteen juice to spray on dogs, does this do anything??

By anon2644 — On Jul 19, 2007

My family grows Mangosteens in the Caribbean coast in Costa Rica, they grow wonderfully yet take 8 years of growing before they bear fruit, after they will bear fruit, tons of it, once a year. And YES, they are the MOST WONDERFUL FRUIT on Earth... put them on your list of things to do (taste) before you die..

By nkiet — On Jun 04, 2007

Where can I buy Mangosteen in Hawaii? Which Island and when is the season of the fruit?

By cookycrazy — On May 29, 2007

Mangosteens are also grown in the Philippines, the same country that produces the world's best mangoes.

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