Cherapu/Button Mangosteen - Garcinia prainiana
Button mangosteen

 There are over 240 Garcinia species, mostly from southeast Asia. Garcinia species from the Americas were once classified as Rheedia, but now all are considered Garcinia.

Tree: evergreen, slow growing

Height: small to medium, 20' in natural habitat

Leaves: glossy, dark green, opposite, ovate, 2-5"

Fruit: bright orange paper thin skin, pulp orange

Season: summer but everbearing except in winter

Light Requirement: needs shade during juvenile stage

Soil Requirement: acid

Damage temp.: harm 36F, Kill 32F

PH preference:

Wind Tolerance: shelter from strong winds

Cold Tolerance: lowest cold tolerance of all Garcinias, needs to be brought inside

Drought Tolerance: not tolerant

Fig. 1


Other Information

Family: Clusiaceae (alt. Guttiferae)


Deep within the verdant rainforests of Borneo, Cherapu Garcinia prainiana plants begin a most ancient of rituals. Amidst the dense foliage, small red flowers emerge like jewels from the deep green branch tips, effusing their sweet aroma in hopes of seducing tiny insects. Beneath the tropical sun, the insects flitter playfully among the male and female blooms, unwittingly pollinating their thankful hosts. The consummation is a brilliant orange fruit, Mangosteen; a queen is born, and the circle of life continues. 2


Flower buds Flower buds Male flower Female flower

Fig. 2

Flower buds

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

Male flower

Fig. 5

Female flower

Growth habit Fruit Fruit habit
Fig. 6 Fig. 7 Fig. 8


"This Garcinia has about the same cold tolerance as the mangosteen (G. mangostana) to which it is related.  Seeds can take six months to germinate.  It can bear in a container when only two-and-one-half to three feet high. Therefore, winter cold should present no difficulty if the potted plants are brought indoors during our brief cold fronts.

The ripe fruit have a deep orange thin skin, covering a similarly colored pulp with a delicious sweet-tart taste which some claim rivals the mangosteen.

Plants come male and female.  Cherapu requires hand pollination.  By taking a pollen-bearing male flower and rubbit onto a female, fruit set almost never fails." 1


Fruit Garcinia Prainiana Cross Section Garcinia Prainiana Fruit Interior
Fig. 9 Fig. 10 Fig. 11

"The Cherapu is the most cold sensitive of the GarciniasIt will not survive the winter cold in all locations north of Key West.  The species is nevertheless suitable for growing as a container plant and can be moved indoors when frost threatens.  It produces an outstanding fruit, approximating the flavor of its revered but ultra-tropical cousin, the Mangosteen.  For Florida growers who yearn for fresh Mangosteen, the Cherapu presents a respectable alternative."  3

"The great advantage of the G. prainiana over the G. mangostana is that it can fruit at a young age after reaching thirty-six inches in height.  When winter cold arrives simply pick it up in its three -gallon container and bring it indoors until the weather moderates. Remember, you need tow plants, a male and a female. The tow sexes are easy to tell apart by their blooms. The female has no pollen, while the male has a heavy ring of highly visible pollen circling its center. Otherwise, these beautiful flowers, which usually come in clusters, look identical in size, shape and color." 1

Propagation by seed . The seeds as with many Garcinia species, can be very slow to germinate, and may take 2-6 months to germinate.



Sorting Garcinia Names from theMultilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database, University of Melbourne, Australia ext. link

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1 Whitman, William F. Five decades with Tropical Fruit, A Personal Journey. Quisqualis Books in cooperation with Fairchild Tropical Garden. Southerstern Printing Company, Stuart, Florida, U.S.A. 2001. Print.

2 "Lovers in the Pavilion: Cherapu, Garcinia prainiana." Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Virtual Herbarium. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

3 Boning, Charles. Florida's Best Fruiting Plants: Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs and Vines. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. p. 104. 2006. Print.


Fig. 1 Garcinia prainiana. N.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

Fig. 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 Garcinia prainiana. N.d. Top Tropicals Tropical Plant Catalog. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

Fig. 9 Hind, Christopher. Cheparu. 2005. Bill Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Web. 27 Jan. 2015.

Fig. 10 Jaitt, Oscar. Garcinia prainiana Cross Section. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

Fig. 11 Jaitt, Oscar. Garcinia prainiana Fruit Interior. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

Published 27 Jan. 2015 LR. Updated 29 Jan. 2015 LR

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