Turpentine refers to a seedling race of mangos that are commonly found in the Caribbean (often referred to as ‘Stringies’ in Jamaica) and were likely the first type of mangos to be successfully introduced to Florida in the 1860s, by way of Cuba.
The first Turpentines were planted in the Coconut Grove area of Miami near Snapper Creek, and other plantings were made shortly after near West Palm Beach and Bradenton, quickly spreading elsewhere. Because they are generally grown from seed, there are various iterations of ‘Turpentine’ in existence.
A Turpentine mango was the pollinating parent of the ‘Haden’ variety, and thus most Florida mangos can trace at least part of their ancestry to it. It is also still the most common rootstock used in Florida, so if you have a grafted mango tree there’s a good chance its grafted to a type of Turpentine.
The fruit tend to be very small, weighing just a few ounces, roundish to ovate in shape and yellow in color developing some pinkish/orange blush with good sun. The flesh is yellow, extremely fibrous, with what most would recognize as a common classic flavor, though this can vary by type, with some turpentines carrying a stronger resin component and some sweeter, and some even having tolerable fiber. At any rate, a polyembryonic seed occupies most of the space inside of the fruit. Many people elect to juice them rather than attempt to eat them out of hand.
The trees are moderately vigorous growers, though some can be dwarfish, and have a spreading growth habit with dense canopy.
We have several Turpentine trees, a few sprouting from below the grafts above them, and one very ancient tree with an enormous trunk that is well over 100 years old and the oldest tree on the property, probably predating the Sturrock family’s purchasing of the land in 1919.
We use the Turpentine fruits for rootstock and sell them as such as well, but some people enjoy them for eating especially customers from Jamaica who have fond memories of the “stringies” back home.
They are a mid-season mango here in Florida, ripening from late June through July. Turpentine can be prone to anthracnose and is moderately prone to bacterial black spot.
Country: Florida - USA