KASTURI
(Mangifera casturi)

 

A tree of kasturi

 

Family: Anacardiaceae

Synonyms: Mangifera kasturi

Other names: Kalimantan mango

Kasturi is one of the 31 mangoes that have been recorded to grow in Kalimantan province of Indonesia.  It has typical dark coloured fruits which are deep orange from inside.  Kasturi is rated as very tasty mango by mango connoisseurs.  These have a unique flavour and aroma not found in any other mango.

Description:

Large evergreen tree, 25 m high, trunk diameter 40-110 cm, bark grayish white to light brown.

            Leaves lanceolate, tip tapered, dark purple.
 

Fruits of kasturi

 

            Fruits, rounded, relatively smaller than other mangoes, about 80 g, green in the beginning but black spotty later and then finally black at maturity;  pulp deep orange, stringy, fibrous, less sweet but more rich in flavour than Mangifera indica.

Utilization:

The fruits are eaten fresh and are very popular amongst the people of South Borneo and the neighbouring region. The fragrance of the fruits is so pleasant that there is an old folk song around this: “Seharum kasturi, seindah pelangi, semuanya bermula.” which means: “Oh, as fragrant as Kasturi, as beautiful as the rainbows. This love begins its journey.”


Kasturi fruits showing pulp

            The fruits are also processed as kasturi jams. This is however rarely on sale on the markets, as farmers consume this themselves. Other products made with these mangoes are puree, jams, juice or dodol (traditional cookies). These products are however quite hard to find as the fresh fruit are always high in demand and one of the favourite fruits of the Borneo people. The fruits are also quite expensive but local people still consider these worth their money because of the wonderful taste!


Seeds of kasturi           

          The wood is very strong and is therefore always in demand in wood market.  Because of this, thousands of kasturi trees are being felled for wood every year.

Cultivation:

Kasturi is often cultivated by people in Borneo as a back yard tree.  However, most fruits still come from the wild.  As the trees are being cut illegally for their wood, so their number is gradually decreasing.  In fact, according to IUCN, kasturi is now extinct in its wild habitat and is  available now only as a cultivated plant.


A girl enjoying kasturi fruits

Although still not extinct and is still under cultivation, but the status “Extinct in the Wild” would be a great loss for the genetic diversity of flora Indonesia. Hopefully this does not happen.

There are 3 recorded varieties of this mango viz.  Kasturi, Mangga Cuban and Pelipisan. The most popular is the Kasturi because of its fragrance. The Mangga Cuban and Pelipisan are often regarded as a separate species. The Pelipisan could however be found with a sweet fragrance like the Kasturi which indicates that the fruit is most likely a hybrid of the Kasturi. However, much research still has to be done to define and set the status.

 

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