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Guttiferaceae, Garcinia tinctoria (xynthochymus), Gamboge

November 23, 2009

This tree, variously referred to as gamboge, egg-tree, false mangosteen and Himalayan garcinia, is native to parts of India and the Malay peninsula. It can be found growing wild on the forested hills of S. India.

(The common name ‘egg-tree’ should not be confused with eggfruit, or, canistel).

The drop-shaped, bright yellow fruit can be eaten raw and are commonly used in jams. The fruit is divided into soft sections, somewhat similar to mangosteen. There are one or two oblong smooth brown seeds embedded in the pulp. Pulp can be used in cooking in the same way as tamarind paste.

As the species name ‘tinctoria’ would suggest the fruit juice and extract are used as dyes

An 8 – 10 foot tree can produce several hundred of fruits in a single harvest (see photos above).

Mature trees can grow quite tall. They have many of the same growth characteristics as mangosteen, only bigger. I don’t know anything about the quality of wood.

Trees have basically the same growth requirements as mangosteen, enjoying ample water during hot and dry periods.

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