Imbe, African Mangosteen - Garcinia livingstonei  T. Anderson
Ripe fruits and foliage of Garcinia livingstonei (also called imbe).
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Ripe fruits and foliage of Garcinia livingstonei (also called imbe)

African Mangosteen (Garcinia livingstonei) seen in Cubbon Park Bangalore
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New leaves of Garcinia livingstonei
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New reddish leaves of Garcinia livingstonei

Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson, leaf growth habit
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Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson, leaf growth habit

Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson. Mali, Piama, Galerie du banifin
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Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson. Mali, Piama, Galerie du banifin

Flowering branches
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Flowering branches

Close-up of female flowers
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Close-up of female flowers

Close-up of male flower
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Close-up of male flowers

Emergence of young fruit
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Emergence of young fruit

Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson
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Garcinia livingstonei
Fig. 17 magnifying glass

Garcinia livingstonei seeds
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African Mangosteen (Garcinia livingstonei) seen in Cubbon Park Bangalore
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African Mangosteen (Garcinia livingstonei) seen in Cubbon Park Bangalore

Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson. Mali, Piama, Galerie du banifin
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Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson. Mali, Piama, Galerie du banifin

Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson
Fig. 27 magnifying glass
Cross section of a branch

Bowl of Garcinia livingstonei
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Bowl of Garcinia livingstonei

Lemon Drop Mangosteen on the left and Imbe on the right
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Lemon Drop Mangosteen on the left and Imbe on the righ

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Scientific name
Garcinia livingstonei  T. Anderson
Common names
English (African mangosteen, wild plum, wild mangosteen, low veld mangosteen); Swahili (mutumbi,mpekechu) 2
Synonyms
Garcinia livingstonei var. pallidinervia Engl. 3
Relatives
Cherapu, Garcinia prainiana; bakupari, G. brasiliensis; charchuela, G. macrophylla; Cuban mangosteen, G. aristata; madrono, G. madruno; mameyito, G. edulis 5
Family
Clusiaceae (alt. Guttiferae)
Origin
Mozambique, Zimbabwe Northern Botswana
Uses
Eaten fresh; landscape specimen for it's unusual form; container culture because of it's slow growth 1
Height
15 ft (4.572 m)
Spread
15 ft (4.572 m)
Crown
Dense, spreading or conical 2
Plant habit
Small evergreen bush/tree
Growth rate
Slow grower
Trunk/bark/branches
Lateral branches at right angle to the trunk 1; trunk short, often twisted, occasionally multistemmed 2
Leaves
Evergreen; stiff; leathery; dark green glossy above and dull and pale green below 2
Flowers
Male and androgynous, on separate plants
Fruit
Drupe type, oblong, smooth, orangy-red, pleasant, acidic, sweet flavor
Season
June-July
Light requirement
Full sun to light shade
Soil tolerances
Grow best on acid soil; in alkaline soils may develop nutritional deficiencies, particularly in zinc 1
PH preference
5.5-7.5
Drought tolerance
Tolerant, water for optimum fruit production
Aerosol salt tolerance
Good tolerance, can be used close to salt water 1
Soil salt tolerance
Tolerant
Cold tolerance
Cold hardy to 26°F (°C)
Invasive potential *
None reported
Pest resistance
Fruit flies can become a problem
Known hazard
None

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Reading Material

The Imbe from the University of Florida Palm Beach Extension
Garcinia livingstonei T. Anders from Agroforestree Database: a tree reference and selection guide
African Mangosteen, Garcinia livingstoneii from Fruitipedia, Encyclopedia of the Edible Fruits of the World 



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.

Origin

The African mangosteen is widespread in the warmer parts of Africa, from just north of Durban as far as Somalia and Guinea. 4

Description
This small tree of east Africa bears an edible plum like fruit. Although the trees may reach a height of 15 to 20 feet, they are usually lower and have several trunks, which arch away from the main axis and produce a number of short, thick, side branches.
The trees are often used as landscape subjects because of their unusual form. An evergreen small tree with interesting branching pattern, with three lateral branches being produced at right angles to the trunk at each node (Fig. 9), oddly shaped growth habit makes it valuable more for a landscape curiosity than just for its fruit.

Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson tree habitMale Garcinia livingstoneiiGarcinia livingstonei
Fig. 23 magnifying glass Fig. 24 magnifying glass Fig. 25 magnifying glass

Fig. 24. Male Garcinia livingstonei
Fig. 25. Note the structural habit of the plant

Leaves
Leaves simple, in whorls (verticils) of 3, stiff and leathery or brittle, variable in shape, sometimes with a slightly wavy edge; dark green and glossy above, dull and pale green
below. 2

Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson. leaf habitGarcinia livingstonei T. Anderson new growthClose up of the upper leaf surface of Garcinia livingstonei
Fig. 5 magnifying glass Fig. 6 magnifying glass Fig. 7 magnifying glass
The leaves of Garcinia livingstonei showing their arrangement on the stem
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Fig. 5. Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson. leaf habit
Fig. 6. Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson new growth
Fig. 7. Close up of the upper leaf surface of Garcinia livingstonei
Fig. 8. The leaves of Garcinia livingstonei showing their arrangement on the stem

Flowers

Flowers white or pale to yellowish green, 6-14 mm diameter, borne in small groups in axils of older branches. Male and female flowers normally separate, but with some bisexual flowers. 2

Garcinia livingstonei T. AndersonAfrican Mongsteen. Flower of Garcinia livingstonei from Clusiaceae. Very rare in cultivation in India. The fruits are bright orange in colour, single seeded and edible with a sweet yet acidic taste
Fig. 13 magnifying glass Fig. 14 magnifying glass

Fig. 14. African Mongsteen. Flower of Garcinia livingstonei from Clusiaceae. Very rare in cultivation in India. The fruits are bright orange in colour, single seeded and edible with a sweet yet acidic taste

Fruit
The fruit ripens to a bright orange color in August and is gone in 2 weeks. It measures 1.5 to 2 inches in length and 1 to 2 inches in diameter. While usually 1-seeded an occasional fruit produces 2 seeds. A thin layer of acid-sweet watery pulp surrounds the seed. The rather tender skin tends to prevent packing and shipping of the fruit, but it deserves to be more widely cultivated as a home fruit.
Seeds creamy brown. 2

Garcinia livingstonei T. AndersonGarcinia livingstonei T. AndersonGarcinia livingstonei
Fig. 18 magnifying glass Fig. 19 magnifying glass Fig. 20 magnifying glass

Varieties
There are some varieties that have smaller seeds and more edible pulp, but no named varieties or selections are available at local nurseries. 1

Pollination
Imbes have separate sexes, so this means you have to have both a male and a female tree for good fruit production. Isolated female trees sometimes produce a few fruit, but they are quite small and for optimum production it's always best to have a male tree or a male branch grafted onto the female tree. 1

Propagation
Trees are easily propagated by seed, but because of the slow growth often are less than a foot high even after one year's growth. It usually takes five to six years to reach fruiting age. Superior varieties can be grafted onto seedling rootstocks and this is the method most people use to get earlier fruiting. 1
By seed, air layering and grafting

Fertilizing
Trees should be fertilized every three to four months with a complete fruit tree fertilizer. If you have young trees or container plants, these can be fertilized every other month to help speed their slow growth. 1

Pest/disease
There are few pests of diseases of imbe, however, during the period of fruit ripening fruit flies may become a problem in some years. 1

Caribbean Fruit Fly, Anastrepha suspensa (Loew) (Insecta: Diptera: Tephritidae) from the University of Florida pdf

Food Uses
Besides fresh eating the pulp makes an excellent jelly or jam and can be used for fruit leathers, milkshakes and ice cream. 1
The juicy fruit pulp is acid-sweet, pleasant tasting and refreshing. Fruits are eaten raw or cooked with porridge.They are rich in carbohydrates (mainly sugars) and have moderate mineral content. 2

Medicinal Uses **
Extracts from flowers and leaves have antibiotic properties. Infusion made from roots used to treat abdominal pains during pregnancy and after giving birth. Fruit used to treat mumps. 2
The tree is used in traditional medicine, and in particular the powdered root is used as an aphrodisiac. 4

Other Uses
G. livingstonei is the source of Guttiferone A. The Guttiferones are polyisoprenylated benzophenone derivatives that inhibit the cytopathic effects of in vitro HIV infection. 2
An alcoholic drink is made from the fruit in East Africa. 2
Ornamental: The stiff, unsymmetrical growth and the grey-green stiff foliage give the tree an unusual and striking appearance. 2


List of Growers and Vendors


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Bibliography

1 Joyner, Gene. "The Imbe." edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. N.d. Web. 2 Feb. 2015.
2 Orwa C, A Mutua, Kindt R , Jamnadass R, S Anthony. "Gardinia livingstonei." worldagroforestry.org. Agroforestree Database:a tree reference and selection guide version 4.0. 2009. Web. 28 Jan. 2017.
3 "Garcinia livinstonei symomym." The Plant List (2010). Version 1. theplantlist.org. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
4 Parmar, Chirankit. "African Mangosteen, Garcinia livingstonei." fruitipedia.com. Encyclopedia of the Edible Fruits of the World. Original May 2008, Revised 2013. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
5 Boning, Charles R. Florida's Best Fruiting Plants- Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Pineapple Press, Inc. sarasota, Florida. Print.

Photographs

Fig. 1 Hind, Christopher. Ripe fruit and foliage of Garcinia livingsonei. 2006. commons.wikimedia.org. Public Domain. Web. 2 Feb. 2015.
Fig. 2,22 Forestowlet. African Mangosteen (Garcinia livingstonei) seen in Cubbon Park Bangalore. 2016. wikipedia.org. Under (CC BY-SA 4.0). Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Fig. 3 qgroom. New leaves of Garcinia livingstonei. 2011. flickr.com. Under (CC BY 2.0). Web. 2 Feb. 2015.
Fig. 4,5,19 Birnbaum, Philippe. Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson. Mali, Bankoumana, Foret de Kourousale. 2005. Brunken, U., Schmidt, M., Dressler, S., Janssen, T., Thiombiano, A. & Zizka, G. 2008. West African plants - A Photo Guide. Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt/Main, Germany. westafricanplants.senckenberg.de. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
Fig. 6,9,13,18,26,27 Birnbaum, Philippe. Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson. Mali, Piama, Galerie du banifin. 2006. Brunken, U., Schmidt, M., Dressler, S., Janssen, T., Thiombiano, A. & Zizka, G. 2008. West African plants - A Photo Guide. Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt/Main, Germany. westafricanplants.senckenberg.de. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Fig. 7 qgroom. Close up of the upper leaf surface of Garcinia livingstonei. 2011. flickr.com. Under (CC BY 2.0). Web. 2 Feb. 2015.
Fig. 8 qgroom. The leaves of Garcinia livingstonei showing their arrangement on the stem 2011. flickr.com. Under (CC BY 2.0). Web. 2 Feb. 2015.
Fig. 10 Thaumaturgist. Flowering branches.  N.d. tropical.theferns.info. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0). Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Fig. 11,12,15,28,29 I likE plants! Garcinia livingstonei. 2009. flickr.com. Under (CC BY 2.0). Web. 2 Feb. 2015.
Fig. 14 jayeshpatil912. African Mongsteen. Flower of Garcinia livingstonei from Clusiaceae. Very rare in cultivation in India. The fruits are bright orange in colour, single seeded and edible with a sweet yet acidic taste. 2012.  flickr.com. Under (CC BY 2.0). Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
Fig. 16 Birnbaum, Philippe. Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson. Malawi, Nkhota Kota, Sani, Nkhota Kota Game Reserve. 2005. Brunken, U., Schmidt, M., Dressler, S., Janssen, T., Thiombiano, A. & Zizka, G. 2008. West African plants - A Photo Guide. Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt/Main, Germany. westafricanplants.senckenberg.de. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
Fig. 17,20.21,25 Cerlin Ng. Garcinia livingstonei. 2015.  flickr.com. Under (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
Fig. 23 Birnbaum, Philippe. Garcinia livingstonei T. Anderson tree habit. Mali, Diassa, Galerie du Baoule, Madina. 2006. Brunken, U., Schmidt, M., Dressler, S., Janssen, T., Thiombiano, A. & Zizka, G. 2008. West African plants - A Photo Guide. Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt/Main, Germany. westafricanplants.senckenberg.de. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Fig. 24 Sample, Jane. Male Garcinia livingstoneii. N.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.

UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas
** Information provided is not intended to be used as a guide for treatment of medical conditions.

Published 12 Apr. 2014 LR. Last update 30 Jan. 2017 LR
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