Author Topic: A 100-year-old tree in Miami yard. Is it the 組randdaddy of all Florida mangoes?  (Read 1179 times)

zands

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A 100-year-old tree stands in a Miami yard. Is it the 組randdaddy of all Florida mangoes?

My obsession started like so many obsessions do, with a question so sticky, so delicious, it was impossible to ignore: Is the tree that gave rise to the entire mango industry in the western hemisphere still alive more than 110 years later in a Coconut Grove yard?

This wouldn稚 be just any mango tree; this tree is the first of its kind, 鍍he granddaddy of all Florida mangoes, as one person later told me. It was the result of the first time anyone in America had successfully crossed two species of unremarkable mangoes and luckily improbably, revolutionarily created a mango that made people swoon.

It was the first to ripen to a rosy blush, with a tropical piney scent. It was the first mango you could bite into without getting a mouthful of mango dental floss, and it was hearty enough to be shipped commercially all over the world. Yet it was so perfectly adapted to our ground, temperature and weather that many South Floridians unknowingly have grown up with this mango in our backyards.

It was a mango so good that 100 years ago, Florida horticulturalists looking for a new fruit to grow here would make this mango their ambassador to the world.

Spicy, flashy, easy to fall in love with at first sight (or first bite): You might call it the most Miami mango ever. And all of it came from a single tree.

And, like Miami, it was founded by a woman, the wife of a retired Army captain who planted the seed by his house, blocks from the home of Everglades defender Marjory Stoneman Douglas. He died before he saw it bear fruit, but his widow raised the tree and introduced the world to the mango she named for her late husband the Haden.

I consulted with experts, read the 100-year-old texts of the widow, pored over a 60-year-old report that seem to pinpoint the tree and even spoke to descendants who had visited the tree (and one neighbor who remembers bringing the widow fresh-baked cookies and taking mangoes in return).

All of it led to a single, ancient Haden mango tree that grows twisted in the stifling saltwater breeze blowing in from Biscayne Bay.

Experts who have seen it (and climbed it to gather fruit) say this tree is easily 100 years old. It has withstood hurricanes, dodged disease and escaped the maw of development. And all of it thanks to mango lovers, tolerant homeowners and dumb luck.

But is this the tree?

I couldn稚 stop thinking about it from the moment I came across that online photo.
選t caused such a stir

John and Florence Haden came to Miami, like so many before and after them, to reinvent themselves.

http://www.miamiherald.com/living/food-drink/article158669284.html    (excerpt)

bsbullie

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simon_grow

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Thanks for sharing that article, I love reading these stories about old mango varieties and about the history of how mangos all started out. I love how enthusiastic Mrs. Ledesma is about mangos. It's not some rare White Mango she's next to in that picture but good old, common as as dirt Haden. I wonder where we would be as mango connoisseurs if Haden were never introduced.

Simon

 

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