Kensington Pride

Kensington Pride is the most popular mango variety grown in Australia. It is grown throughout Australia's subtropical and tropical regions. The major production areas are Queensland Dry Tropics*, Atherton Tablelands, Central Queensland, south east Queensland, northern New South Wales, Darwin, Katherine, Kununurra and Carnarvon.

The variety was first discovered in Bowen, north Queensland, but is thought to have originated as a seed imported on a shipping line from India. Kensington Pride has been known under several different names, including Bowen, Bowen Special or Kensington. Although this variety is the most popular in Australia, it is not grown commercially overseas.

Although Kensington Pride is prized in Australia for its unique flavour, it can be an irregular bearer with poor flowering in the northern regions and poor fruit set in the southern production areas.

* Refer to Glossary

Fruit characteristics

  • weight - 300-600 g
  • average length - 106 mm
  • average width - 79 mm
  • average depth - 83 mm
  • shape - ovate
  • flesh fibre - medium
  • skin thickness - medium-thick
  • beak shape - slight-prominent
  • stem end shape - level to depressed
  • lenticel* size - medium-large
  • lenticel colour - yellow-white
  • fruit flavour - sweet, tangy
  • percentage flesh recovery - 63 per cent.

* Refer to Glossary

Tree characteristics

Kensington Pride is a large, vigorous tree that can reach heights of 8 m if left unpruned. The tree has a dense spreading canopy. The new leaves are initially purple, turning green as they expand and harden.

The tree has a tendency for irregular bearing and medium-to-low yields. Seedling trees will bear fruit in the second or third year after field planting. Although widely grown, this variety is difficult to manage. In the cooler subtropical regions, temperatures are often too low for pollination, and in the Northern Territory, trees can be excessively vigorous at the expense of flowering.

Flower characteristics

  • panicle* length - 30-35 cm
  • panicle width - 20 cm
  • hair density - none to few
  • colour - dark pink
  • colour of wilted petals - faint pink.

* Refer to Glossary

Propagation

As a polyembryonic* variety, Kensington Pride seedlings will produce fruit true to type, so trees can be planted from seed or grafted. Seedling trees take up to three years to start cropping from field planting and are more vigorous than grafted trees. Grafted trees will often produce fruit in the first year after field planting and, by five years, produce up to 100 kg per tree. Because of the earlier cropping, grafted trees tend to be less vigorous and easier to manage.

* Refer to Glossary

Plant density

Because of Kensington Pride's vigour, trees have previously been planted at relatively wide spacings - 10 x 10 m or 12 x 12 m (100 or 96 trees/hectare). These trees often reached diameters of 10 m and heights of 6 m or more.

In recent years, plant spacings of new orchards have been reduced. An average plant spacing today is 6 x 9 m (185 trees/hectare). These closer spacings require annual pruning to maintain a smaller canopy size. Canopies generally touch in the row, and heights are kept to about 5 m for ease of spraying and picking.

Pruning and shaping

Kensington Pride trees grow rapidly in the first few years after planting and, if left unpruned, develop long branches with few fruiting terminals. In the first two years, the tree should be pruned twice a year to develop a well-branched frame capable of holding heavy crops in later years. The limbs should be pruned every second growth flush to force them to branch regularly. When the tree begins to bear regularly, the vegetative vigour slows and annual pruning should be adequate. When trees reach a desired height (up to 5 m), annual pruning is required to thin out the canopy, reduce tree height and diameter, and remove any sucker growth from inside the tree.

Harvesting and handling

Kensington Pride fruit is relatively soft when eaten ripe and has a short shelf life. Fruit should be harvested when hard green mature, fully mature but still firm. This allows the harvesting, handling and transporting operations to be carried out before the fruit softens. Fruit ready for harvest should have a minimum dry matter of 14 per cent, be well filled out at the beak and shoulders, and be yellow internally.

Harvesting Kensington Pride requires greater care than many other mango varieties because of its sap. The sap contains a caustic oil that can cause sapburn and skin browning to the fruit, and burn human skin. Detergent sprays or dips coat the fruit and protect it from the sap during harvesting operations.

Pest and disease status

The major pre-harvest diseases that affect Kensington Pride are bacterial black spot (.Xanthomonas campestris pv. mangiferaeindicae) and powdery mildew (Odium sp.). Anthracnose (Colletotrichum gleosporiodies) is a major cause of fruit blackening in ripe fruit, as is stem end rot (Botryosphaeriaspp. and Lasiodiplodia theobromae).

Kensington Pride is affected by major insect pests such as mango scale (Aulacaspis tubercularis), tipborer (Penicillaris jocsatrix and Chlumetia euthysticha), fruit flies (Bactrocera sp.) and planthopper (Colgaroides acuminata).

Fruit disorders

Kensington Pride suffers from several disorders. Sapburn is a particular problem. It appears as a black depressed mark on the skin and is caused by sap coming into contact with the fruit during the harvesting process. Skin browning is a major problem, which appears during post-harvest handling and marketing. Kensington Pride suffers from stem end cavity, which appears as a cavity at the stem end between the seed and the stem attachment, if picked at advanced maturity. The disorder is worse in late season fruit. The variety is also prone to jelly seed, where the fruit pulp softens prematurely around the seed to become over-ripe and then decay.

Marketing

Kensington Pride is the most widely grown mango variety in Australia. Fruit is marketed from mid-September to March, with the early fruit coming from the Northern Territory, followed by the Queensland Dry Tropics*, Mareeba, Central Queensland, Bundaberg and south east Queensland.

Approximately 90 per cent of the Kensington Pride crop is marketed within Australia and the balance is exported. Approximately 80 per cent is sold as fresh fruit and 20 per cent processed. Kensington Pride has export clearance for Japan after treatment with approved vapour heat treatment for fruit fly disinfestation.

Glossary

Dry Tropics

Townsville, Burdekin and Bowen region

Flushing

Periodic growth

Lenticels

Pores in the skin of the fruit

Monoembryonic

Single embryo in seed, producing a seedling that is a genetic cross between the mother tree and pollen donor

Panicle

Branched flower spike with many flowers

Polyembryonic

Seed with multiple embryos, producing seedlings that are genetically identical to parent tree

Ovate

Egg-shaped

Last updated 16 April 2014