Mandarin orange

See: Citrus reticulata. Manganese

A trace element nutrient of plants, manganese is a component of many enzymes. A specialist should be consulted if manganese deficiency is suspected. Mangifera indica

The mango. The most popular of the tropical fruits, mangoes are to tropical region peoples what apples are to temperate region peoples. Mangoes vary widely in their fruit quality and the best are probably the finest fruit of all. Unfortunately, the best do not reach temperate markets, and most people in the industrial countries have not experienced a really good mango. Mango is a member of the family Anacardiaceae, which also includes the cashew nut (Anacardium occidentale).

Many mango fruits have two or more embryos, of which one or more is a zygote and does not 'breed true', while the other produces a nucellar seedling, that does 'breed true'. Many mango trees that are derived from a casually discarded seed have two or more trunks, joined at the base by anastomosis, but differing genetically because of the two types of seed.

Pollination is usually by insects and is essential for fruit set, even when all the embryos are apomictic. Self-pollination is possible.

The best approach for amateur breeders is selection within local populations. Mango

See: Mangifera indica. Mangolds

See: Beta vulgaris. Mangosteen

See: Garcinia mangostana. Manioc

See: Manihot esculenta. Manihot esculenta

Cassava, or manioc. This important tropical food crop originated in Central and South America and was taken to Africa by the Portuguese at an early date. The edible tubers are divided into sweet and bitter types, the latter containing toxic amounts of hydrocyanic acid, which is liberated when the enzyme linase acts on a glucoside called linamarin. These bitter types are cultivated in areas where wild pigs, baboons, and porcupines are serious pests. The hydrocyanic acid can be eliminated by washing, boiling, or roasting. Cassava is an important famine reserve in areas where desert locusts are serious. The leaves are also used as a pot herb. High-yielding cassava, producing up to 70 tonnes/hectare, can be cultivated commercially for starch production. The crop is propagated vegetatively, and true seeds are very variable. Its wild progenitors are extinct.

Scientists at IITA, in Nigeria, launched an innovative program in which true seed of cassava was given to school children to grow in the school garden, with a view to doing their own selection work. This was both a valuable education, and a means of farmer-participation in breeding. This is an example that should be copied with many crops, in many schools, in many countries. Manila bean

See: Psophocarpus tetragonobolus. Manila hemp See: Musa textilis.

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