Imbe (Garcinia livingstonei)
Although our love of tropical fruit encompasses a world of unique flavors, few stand out as much as imbe (Garcinia livingstonei, wild mangosteen, low veld mangosteen, mutumbi, mpekechu). This plant is a must-have for anyone who knows good eatin’—It’s a certified favorite here at Sow Exotic. Despite this, we predict that this cultivar will never be available for purchase in American supermarkets anytime soon.
Imbe is a drought-tolerant evergreen shrub or tree with the potential to grow up to 60’ ft tall without pruning to its naturally conical shape. The imbe tree is not particular about growing conditions, native to a variety of climates in Africa. It can be found in scrub, open woodland and forest, along rivers, woodland and even entwined with termite mounds. Growing the slow-poke Garcinia livingstonei tree is a test of patience, but well worth the reward. Clusters of flowers grow on the axils of the tree’s branches, which give way to acid-sweet fruit around August. The fruit makes a refreshing break, signaling the end of long summer days.