For us Indians the king fruit is Mango and the queen flower is Jasmine. I am aware some of you may place Rose above Jasmine but my choice is Jasmine. But most agree that Mango is the undisputed king. Both these are indigenous and get mentioned in texts written more than 1500 hundred years ago. I like Jasmine not because it is a favorite of the ladies [it is] but because of its elegance and scent. No other flower has the extraordinary scent of the Jasmine. A Jasmine shrub when in bloom tells you that he [she] is there from a distance. The flower itself lays no claim to the beauty of the rose or the hibiscus but the fragrance of Jasmine it is the creation of gods. Unlike rose bush it needs no pampering, grows anywhere, needs little care and little or no insecticide use and unlike rose it can be woven into a variety of garlands and hairdos. In the south the young girl’s braided hair is often decorated with Jasmine and is a favorite flower in most Indian marriages.
Mango with its rich sweet pulp and flavor is the Indian’s favorite and is the king of fruits. Some of you, Americans in particular, with your peculiar noses, don’t like the scent of the Mango and I am very surprised! Such a devine gift to mankind and there are persons who dislike this fruit! Like the Jasmine there are hundreds of varieties but the most popular is the Alphonso [exported]. Its second cousin is our own Badam. In the north it is the Dussheri. The little Apus may weigh as little as two ounces and the giant Malgoa as much as a kilogram, but to me the tastiest is the Badam. Those of you, who reside out of India, when you get a chance, have a go at Alphonso [the fruit arrives in the US market sometime in May/June]. You will then realize why I call it the king of fruits.
Right now the mango trees are in full bloom and the fragrance of the flowers herald a bumper crop and hopefully the prices will be affordable this year.