Location in BHU campus:Common ; many trees of different varieties are planted in orchards,Botanical ,Ayurvedic ,Horticultural gardens ,in residential quarters ,hostels and along roadside.Tissue culture raised plants have also been planted in the Botanical garden.
Botanical name : Mangifera indica Linn.
Family : Anacardiaceae
Vernacular / local Name : Bengali-Am; Gujarati-Amri; Hindi-Am,Amb; Kannada-Mavu; Malaylam-Amram,cutam,mavu; Marathi-Amba; Sanskrit-Amra,chuta; Tamil-Mamaram,Mau; Telugu-Mamidi,Mavi.
English names : Mango
The large evergreen trees can be up to 45 m high having a girth of 3 m or more and a heavy dome-shaped crown. The bark is rough, thick, dark grey and fibrous. The long (10-30 cm), 2-10 cm wide leaves are linear-oblong or elliptic –lanceolate, pointed at the tip. The leaf stalk is swollen at the base. The leaves emit aromatic resinous odor when crushed .Young pink leaves hang downward. Flowering shoots are conical and the large panicle contains more than 3000 flowers in some types. Flowers are small, reddish ,white or yellowish green scented ;male and hermaphrodite flowers borne in the same panicle. Calyx has 4-5 sepals which fall off .petals are 4-5, longer than sepals .Disk is fleshy. Of the 4-5 stamens only one is fertile and longer than the rest. The fruit is a large drupe ex-ceedingly variable in form and size The skin may be green, yellow or red dotted with numerous glands. Mesocarp may be whitish yellow, yellow or orange, firm, soft or juicy richly aromatic with acidic or sweet taste .The solitary seed is enclosed in a hard, com-pressed fibrous endocarp .
In Vedas mangoes have been referred as “food of the gods”. It is referred to as ‘phalotta-ma’ in the Sankhayana grhya Sutra
Mango is intimately connected with folklore and legends across many religions. The Hindus consider the mango tree as the symbol of Prajapati, Lord of all creation. Accord-ing to Skanda Purana when the Gods and demons churned the sea for nectar the Kal-pavrksa -Parijata tree, the Mango-tree and the Santanaka (vata) came out .
In the Matsya purana use of mango in vrata is mentioned.
It is said that the tree was brought by Hanuman from Lanka to India .
According to Indian mythology Surya Bai ,the daughter of the Sun became a golden Lotus to escape persecution by a sorceress .The king fell in love with the flower ,which was burnt by the sorceress.From its ashes grew a mango tree .The king fell in love with the flower first and then with the fruit. When the ripe fruit fell on the ground, Surya Bai emerged out of it, and was recognized by the prince as his lost wife .
In South India there are a number of tree shrines and mango tree at Kanchi is one of them. Once Lord Shiva renounced Goddess Parvati and she came to Kancheepuram, moulded a Shiva lingam out of sand and installed it under a mango tree. There is a shrine of Shiva and Kamakshi under a very old ( 3500 year ) mango tree in the compound of Ekambaranathar temple in Kancheepuram which is also the Stala Vruksham or the temple tree. The four different branches are believed to represent the four Vedas and four different types of fruits are borne in these four different branches. The tree is venerated and devotees visiting the temple worship it .Offerings are made to this tree so that their wishes for marriage or having children be fulfilled. Salabhanjika is a ritual in which breaking of a branch or embracing a tree like Asoka or mango by a barren women in the hope of conceiving a child .
Mango is connected with the birth of Lord Buddha .
Lord Buddha’s favourite place to rest and meditate was a mango grove and the courtesan turned disciple Amrapali presented a mango grove to him. Mango features in jataka tales. Once King Bimbisara requested Buddha to perform miracles on a full moon day under a mango tree at a well known spot in Shravasti with a week’s advance notice. Upon hearing the announcement the opponents of Buddhisim felled all the mango trees and so no one could know where to assemble .Just before the appointed hour Buddha enjoyed eating a mango fruit given by the king’s gardener and requested him to plant the seed immediately. He caused the seed to sprout instantly to convince non-believers!! A big tree grew from the spot, visible for miles, matured as it grew; the fruits ripened and were enjoyed by all.
Amra (mango) is associated with the salvation of 18th Tirthankara Aranatha/Arahnath
There is a belief that Shiva married Parvati under this tree.So, in Hindu marriages and religious ceremonies the leaves are used ritually for decorations .The leaves adorn en-trances to new homes to signify good fortune. It is a plant associated with Durga, Laksh-mi, Govardhan and Buddha.
During Pujas they form an important part of Purna Kumbha or jala ghata which symbo-lizes Lakshmi the goddess of fortune.As a component of Purna Kumbha the mango leaves denote vibrant life. It provides one of the five pallavs .The flowers are used in worship of Shiva on Shivratri. The fruits of mango tree represent love and fertility.The small branches and pieces of mango tree are used in sacrificial rites .It is customery for the people of Assam to take a little of green mango and jute leaves mixed with mustard and salt in the morning of Garu Bihu.Eating of tender mango on the New Year day is an old Indian custom known as Navamrakhadika .
The coorgs of south India cut down a mango tree that grows in the burial ground for the funeral pyre and the Hindus of Bengal burn their dead with mango wood . A sacred ear-then pot with mango leaves symbolizes the deity Haris Mangala Chandi,who looks after the welfare of the individual and the family and is worshipped on every Tuesday in the months of Baisakh (April-May) and Jaistha (May-June) in Bengal.
It is customary for the priests sprinkle little water with a small shoot of mango on the persons present in any religious function as they chant the mantras. On the second day of Magha the flowers of mango are dedicated/offered to moon as well as to the God of love, Madana.
Mango twigs are used in all rural ceremonies as it is believed to be the abode of vegeta-tion spirits and so can scare away evil spirits and eliminate their influences.
In the Brahma Purana, amra is one of the many things prescribed to be offered to pitrs in Sraddha .According to Dharma sutras and the Grhvasutras on the occasion of Sraddha, fruits of mango are to be given to the priests.
The various poojas in which mango leaves are used are: Siddhi Vinayaka Vrata patra pooja, Sankastha Chatuthi Vrata Patra Puja, Satyanarayana swami Puja etc .
Mango has been identified with Purattathi or Poorva Bhadrapada whose presiding deity is Ajaik or Ajakapad .
According to Agni Purana mango on the south of the house is considered auspicious .Mango tree is considered the best of the trees as per Brahmavaivarta purana It is consi-dered auspicious at every place but if it is situated in the east gives wealth to the man. In Varaha purana it is mentioned that one who plants five mango trees never goes to hell. Amra(mango) is said to fulfill the desires of the planter .
It is one of the many plants to be planted in the Nandana Vana, Nakshatra vana and Rasi vana.
It is one of the most important fruit crops of the tropics. Ripe fruits are eaten or preserved into jams, jellies, squash ,murabba and am papad .The fruits are rich in vitamins A and C ad are useful in heat apoplexy .Young fruits are used in pickles, chutney, amchur and cu-linary preparations.
The bark is an astringent and used in diphtheria and rheumatism. The seed kernels yield mango seed oil or butter. The dried kernel is fed to cattle and poultry. Dried kernel is also used as manure after composting. The timber is used for furniture, floor and ceiling boards, tea chests, packing boxes, match boxes, boats, shoe heels etc.
In Java and Philippines. tender mango leaves which are rich in ascorbic acid are con-sumed as vegetable .The ash of burnt leaves are used for burns and scalds .The leaves give tone to the gums and fumes from the burning leaves give relief from hiccups and throat problems. The leaves contain a chemical called mangiferin or Indian yellow formerly used as a dye.