DID YOU KNOW that your favorite mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) has more than 240 relatives? Yes, the genus Garinia has more than 240 species. And one of them is what the Americans in Florida call Lemon Drop mangosteen. In the Philippines it is called Berba.
INDIGENOUS TO CENTRAL AMERICA – The Lemon Drop mangosteen is botanically known as Garcinia intermedia. Search in the internet reveals that it is indigenous to Central American countries in both sides of the Pacific and Atlantic like Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, Southern Mexico and Panama. In those countries, they are known by different names.
FROM BICOL? – One reader of ours, however, once pointed to us that Berba must be a native of the Philippines because he has seen many of them growing in the forest in Bicol. Well, maybe he had reason to believe that. It is possible, however, that Berba was brought by the friars who went to Bicol. Then the bats and the birds which ate the fruits dispersed the seeds in the forest where they grew. That’s just our conjecture.
PROLIFIC BEARER – The Lemon Drop mangosteen is small tree that produces a lot of small fruits, about an inch in diameter for the bigger ones. One tree about six feet tall with a lot of branches can easily bear 300 fruits at a time as we have experienced in our farm in Teresa, Rizal. The fruits are bigger if the tree is well fertilized with both organic and chemical fertilizer.
EAT RIGHT AFTER PICKING – The fruit which turns golden yellow or reddish orange when ripe can be eaten right after picking from the tree. The aril is juicy, a combination of sweet and sour taste that is desirable. The fruits can be made into refreshing juice drink, jam, and maybe wine.
If grown in the ground or in a container in your backyard, the children as well as the not-so-young would love to pick the fruits for eating.
BATUAN ON BERBA ROOTSTOCK – It turns that the mangosteen has many relatives in Southeast Asia. These include the Batuan which is botanically known as Garcinia morella. One possibility is to make grafted Batuan using Berba as rootstock.
CONTACT – For availability of Lemon Drop mangosteen seedlings, contact Rose at the Sarian Farm in Teresa, Rizal at 0915-002-1368 or 0906-551-1791 or 0947-590-0398 (smart).