Garcinia intermedia

Common name: Lemon Drop Mangosteen

Other common names: Monkey Fruit, Waika Plum

Names in non-English languages: Philippines Spanish


Lemon Drop Mangosteen is a fruit-bearing tree native to Central American, its natural range extending from southern Mexico and the island of Cozumel, south along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, to Panama. It is now introduced and cultivated in other tropical areas, including Puerto Rico and the Philippines.

It may reach heights of up to 30 m (98 ft) in native forests, though under garden conditions is more typically 5 to 10 m (16 to 33 ft) tall with a straight, slim trunk supporting a densely branched pyramidal crown. The bark is dark brown, smooth, and when wounded, exudes a sticky, yellowish sap.

The leaves are oblong, 6 to 13 cm (2.4 to 5.2 in) long, emerge bright red, become dark glossy green with light green undersides and have a thick, leathery feel. They are arranged in pairs along the ends of the branches and remain on the tree in all seasons.

The flowers are four-petaled, green-white to white, 1.5 to 2 cm (0.6 to 0.8 in) long, male or bisexual on the same plant, and bloom in the dry season, coinciding with winter in its native range. Fertilised flowers develop into small round or egg-shaped fruit, 2.5 to 3 cm (1 to 1.2 in) in diameter. They ripen around three to four months after fruit-set, becoming deep orange or pale yellow. The skin is thin, leathery and easily peeled, exposing one to two largish seed with thin, whitish pulp.


The fruit is eaten fresh out-of-hand by sucking the pulp away from the seed and then discarding it. The pulp, although scant, is refreshing, aromatic and flavoursome, with a slightly sourish taste.

The tree's compact size, shapely form and lush foliage have led to its cultivation as an ornamental and fruit tree in home gardens in its native range.

The wood is moderately heavy and hard, with grey to pinkish-brown heartwood and good natural resistance to wood-boring insects. Still, the logs come in diameters too small for sawing into lumber. Instead, the larger diameter roundwood is used for fenceposts and the small-diameter pieces for making tool handles.


Grows naturally in humid tropical lowland to mid-elevation climates, generally frost-free areas with annual lows of 17 to 25°C, annual highs of 26 to 35°C, annual rainfall of 1300 to 4000 mm and a dry season of 4 months or less.


New plants are usually started from seed, which lose their viability quickly and should be planted within one to two days after removing from the fruit. Seedling trees start producing fruit when around three years old.

Performs well on rich, free-draining clay, loam and sand soils of a moderately acid to neutral nature, generally with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0, and on sites with full to partial sun exposure.

Problem features

There does not appear to be any records of it escaping cultivation or naturalisation anywhere. There are otherwise no known risks associated with growing this plant.

Where it grows



  • Croat, T. B. 1978, Flora of Barro Colorado Island, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California

  • Martin, F. M., et al. 1987, Perennial edible fruits of the tropics : an inventory, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, D.C.

  • Morton, J. F. & Dowling, C. F. 1987, Fruits of warm climates, Creative Resources Systems, Winterville, North Carolina

  • Record, S. J. & Hess, R. W., 1972, Timbers of the New World, Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut & Arno Press, New York

  • Standley, P. C. 1920, Trees and shrubs of Mexico, Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington D.C.

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