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Mango Growing in Kenya by Juergen Griesbach Training Materials Coordinator

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This cultivar originated from Israel and more or less resembles the Apple cultivar found in Kenya.

The large oval/oblique fruit is deep yellow with a light red flush and numerous yellow lenticels when ripe. The base is flattened and there is only a slight indication of a small rounded beak. The average fruit length measures 11 cm with a width of 10 cm, and the weight ranges from 340–580 g. The skin is thick and tough and separates easily; the flesh is soft and juicy with little fibre, yellow, mild, aromatic and of good eating quality. The seed is mono-embryonic and embedded in a medium-thick woody stone (7.6% of fruit weight).

The tree is vigorous, medium-sized, with an upright dense canopy. Harvesting in Central Province starts at the end of December and ends in January.


  • Since this cultivar is quite a recent introduction, more field research is required before final recommendations can be compiled. Already there are indications that if planted in the proper environment (at least below 800 m) it may do even better than the Apple cultivar.


This seedling originated from Bradenton in Florida and was released in 1954. Of unknown parentage, it resembles Haden but lacks the latter’s bright red colour.

The fruit is medium to large with an average length of 10.8 cm and a width of 8.5 cm. The average weight is 470 g (range: 380–560 g). The shape is oblong to ovate and tends to be plump; the basic colour is light yellow with a pink/red blush; lenticels are distinct and numerous. The fruits are often borne in clusters. The yellow juicy flesh is relatively free from fibres, moderately sweet with a good flavour. The medium-sized stone (7.5% of fruit weight) covers the mono-embryonic seed.

The tree is vigorous with a slightly open habit and there is a remarkable resistance to anthracnose and powdery mildew. Yields are satisfactory and quite regular.


  • A very promising new cultivar in Kenya. Since the fruits have a very long storage life, are harvested in late mid-season and are of good quality, planting this cultivar should be encouraged.


By 1928, this seedling of unknown origin was already described in South Africa where it was ranked as one of the best local unimproved cultivars.

The roundish/oblique medium-sized fruits are fibrous. The average size is 9.3 cm long and 8.1 cm wide with an average weight of 241 g. The apex is broadly rounded with a depression on the ventral side and a slight beak. The thick tough skin is smooth with white lenticels and has an attractive yellow-orange colour. The flesh is apricot-yellow with a tender juicy texture. The eating quality is good; there is a sweet flavour and a very slight turpentine taste. The seed is large (8.1% of fruit weight) and polyembryonic.

The trees are big and produce consistent high yields. The maturity season starts at the end of December and continues until February.




In 1969, the author found this chance seedling on the Bowker farm in Trans Nzoia District, Kenya. Due to high altitude (about 1900 m) the fruit-set and quality were very poor. Scion material was later transferred into lower and warmer locations (Central Province) where it developed into a highly demanded cultivar.

The medium- to large-sized, elongated but full fruits are of very good quality. Those developing inside the canopy are deep yellow while those exposed to the sun are bright yellow with a dark red blush. The yellow flesh is of medium texture, fibreless, pleasantly sweet, juicy and of a mild aroma. The average fruit dimensions are: length 14.2 cm, width 6.6 cm and weight 435 g (range: 360–520 g). The rounded apex carries only a small depressed beak. The seed is mono-embryonic and covered by a medium-sized woody stone (9.6% of fruit weight). There are indications that this cultivar may also be multiplied by seed.

The tree is moderately vigorous and upright with a dense canopy. There seems to be a slight alternation in bearing but yields are satisfactory. Depending on location, fruits mature from late January until late March.


  • only slightly affected by anthracnose and powdery mildew

  • no distinct biennial bearing

  • no fibres



Most probably, this cultivar has its origin in South Africa; already in 1928 it had been described by Davis and in 1947 it was one of the most widely planted cultivars. Besides its fair eating quality, Sabre as a polyembryonic seed producer is better known as a rootstock supplier.

In Kenya, the oblong, kidney-shaped fruits are small to medium sized. On average they are 11.8 cm long and 6.9 cm broad and weigh an average of 233 g (range: 180–290 g), the apex being broadly rounded and curved into a prominent beak. The smooth-surfaced tough leathery skin—yellow-green, often with a reddish blush—is easily removed from the flesh. The flesh is deep orange in colour with a melting texture and a medium amount of fibre. The eating quality is fair, sweet to insipid-flavoured and normally has a turpentine aftertaste. The seed is large, up to 9.4% of total fruit weight.

The tree is small to medium, a regular and heavy bearer and fairly resistant to diseases. The maturity season starts in late December and ends at the beginning of March.


  • suitable for higher elevations

  • fairly good resistance to anthracnose and powdery mildew

  • recommended rootstock producer


  • fruit quality in general

  • over-bearing
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