Fun fact: mangifera indica – or what we call mangoes – come from the same genetic family as poison ivy and sumac. But unlike it’s itchier distant cousins, this plant is anything but irritating.
First thing’s first: The mighty mango is not related to the mighty mangosteen. (Don’t bring it up. They don’t like to talk about it.)
What a mango is, is a fruit-bearing tree from equator-hugging countries. The tropical treat got its start in India before migrating to the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and Africa, though it’s mainly grown today in the Southern United States, South and Central America, and across the Caribbean.
Still, that sun-worship may be the only thing different types of mangoes have in common.
Mango-ing For Gold
Just how many types of mangoes are there? Are you sitting down?
There are well over 600 cultivars of mango, which might be where it gets its royal nickname: The King of Fruit. (Alternative take: Mangoes are the biggest believer in the old saying “Variety is the spice of life.”)
In its native India alone, there are well over 200 mango varietals. And different types of mangoes can come in plenty of shapes and sizes, ranging anywhere from 2 to 9 inches long and weighing in anywhere from 8 to 24 ounces.
Generally, Indian-origin cultivars start out bright red, while Filipino-based mango strains begin their lives a pale-ish green, though each ends up with skin that typically sports splashes of both colors, covering an oblong-shaped fruit with a bright and juicy orange inside.
We could spend as many days as there are types of mangoes dishing out the details, so instead, we’ve chosen 10 of the most popular types of mangoes to break down:
Most Popular Type of Mangoes
- Tommy Atkins: Possibly the world’s most popular type of mango, despite it’s less-than-exotic name, this Florida-bred varietal is the most widely-grown commercial cultivar. Tommy Atkins mangoes are medium-to-large, tart and sweet, and rock a very pretty skin tone, which ranges from soft pink to bright red and green, depending on ripeness.
- Keitt: Grown primarily in Central America, this large, green mango variety—pronounced “kit”—is most popular in Asia, thanks in part to its firm, juicy flesh that’s perfect for pickling. (Pickled mangoes. It’s a thing. Try it now, and thank us later.)
- Kent: Not to be confused with the above Keitt, this cultivar also originally hails from Florida and is the best type of mango if you’re interested in juicing or dehydrating the tropical fruit. Kent mangoes are large, with red and green skin that starts sporting some yellow—or even some spots—as it ripens.
- Osteen: What can we say, Florida loves developing tasty orange fruits. This breed, also first developed in the Sunshine State, tastes mild and sweet, but Osteen mangoes are perhaps best known for their unique skin, which ripens to a lovely dark purple.
- Haden: First developed in 1910, this varietal kicked off Florida’s mango-growing revolution, though today, they’re more widely grown in Mexico, Ecuador and Peru. Haden mangoes are the classic combination of sour and sweet, with bright red and green skin that turns yellow as it ripens.
- Valencia Pride: Despite its Spanish name, this mango traces back to – you guessed it – Florida. An adaptation of the Haden mango variety, the Valencia Pride has gone on to become one of the most widely-grown cultivars in the United States, particularly noted for its yellow-leaning skin tone and its size, with the fruits weighing in as much as 2 pounds each.
- Honey: This popular type of mango looks how it sounds. Honey mangoes start out yellow and ripen to a deep gold, while still rocking the smooth, sweet and sour fruit on the inside. It’s also one of the smallest mango cultivars.
- Alphonso: If you’re looking for something more straight from the source, this Indian native is a good start. With a unique orange skin and a sugary-sweet taste, this cultivar sports an aroma as bright as its outside and a buttery, delicious yellow-tinged fruit.
- Ataulfo: Named for its original developer, this mango was first cultivated in Mexico and grows comfortably today all across Haiti. On the smaller and sweeter side, this varietal—also known as the Champaign mango—has a skin as soft yellow as its nickname and packs plenty of natural sugar.
- Katchamitha: One of the most popular mangoes in the Philippines –where it’s commonly referred to as “Indian mango” – this cultivar has a mild taste and more fibrous fruit than many of its cousins. In its beloved Philippines, it’s most typically enjoyed when it’s still green and its flesh is especially crispy.
But no matter which variety of this king of fruit you opt for, you’re going to be in for a royal treat.