The Three-hundred-variety mango of Malihabad

by Luigi Guarino on May 8, 2010

Another reflection on a remarkable Indian mango tree from our friend Bhuwon Sthapit of Bioversity International.

It is hard to believe that a farmer can have as a hobby the grafting of multiple varietal scions of interesting and unique mango diversity on to a single tree. I certainly did not believe it. Until I saw the orchard of Haji Kaleem Ullaj Khan in Malihabad. There he maintains several trees with many varieties grafted onto them as sources of scions for his mango nurseries. A good and reliable source of scions is essential to run a successful and credible mango nursery, but to have a conventional scion block is expensive in terms of maintenance and land.

The son of the magician grafter, Najmi, showed me two very remarkable mango trees. One is said to be 100 years old and is named Al-Muqarrar. It has had more than 300 varieties of mango skilfully grafted onto it by Najmi’s father father. The other, younger tree has more than 150 mango genotypes grafted on to it. Each branch looks like a different tree! Both trees are bearing fruits of different colour, shape and size, and at different times.

Born in 1945, Haji Kaleem Ullaj Khan does not have any academic horticultural degrees, but he is widely renowned in India for his skills and knowledge in multiple grafting on a single tree. He was awarded the title of Udhyan Pandit (Professor of the Orchard) by a former President of India. He has also presented a mango tree bearing 54 varieties to the current President for the premises of the Mughal Garden of Rastrapati Bhavan. He has been acknowledged by many high-profile visitors from abroad and also decorated with the Padamashri award. His name is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records for his grafting feats.

Abdullah Nursery is famous in Malihabad and throughout India for Haji Kaleem Ullaj Khan’s innovations, and markets saplings of commercial varieties to such distant places of Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Unlike government research stations, Haji Kaleem Ullaj Khan uses ground layering for his propagation for most commercial saplings, and veneer or wedge grafting in special cases. He has also grafted a guava tree that flowers and fruits all year round, which is another attraction for the nursery.

This innovation borne out of local need is a promising way for nurseries to maintain many scions at relatively low cost. However, this can be a high risk practice, because many varieties depend on one mother tree’s survival. It is thus important to have adequate safety duplication or maintain some scion material trees separately. Multiple variety grafting can also be used as an attraction in agrotourism, and for innovative marketing of diversity in urban and home gardens. This will create a new market for nursery growers and raise public interest in the diversity of mangoes. This activity has been conceptualized in the context of the UNEP/GEF project Conservation and Sustainable Use of Tropical Fruit Tree Diversity in India.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg Laden May 31, 2010 at 6:58 pm

This post has been included in the latest edition of the Berry Go Round web carnival. Please visit the carnival and let other people know about it, click on the links, read everything, and help promote plant blogging! The plants can not do this themselves, people!

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Avinash Shukla June 18, 2010 at 6:47 am

Dear Friends,
its very intresting subject to listen that u have grown 300 mango variety in malihabad, i am also intrested in this field & want to plantation in my field so looking your cell Nos so that we can talk to you.my cell nos is 09389949527

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Nafees July 19, 2010 at 9:20 pm

I am deleting the content of this post; we are not actually an electronic billboard for you to use. By all means email your prices etc direct to the person who asked for the details.

Jeremy

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shabihul hasan July 19, 2010 at 9:24 pm

I am interested for Mano Plantation Please Send me Rate List of plants.

Shabihul hasan khan

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Feroz khan Suroor February 20, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Padam shree KALIM ULLAH CHACHA , Malihabad ki shan hain
JOSH MALIHABADI Ke bad kalim uallah chacha ne malihabad ka namm poori duniya me roshan kiya hai

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rakeshkanojiya August 8, 2011 at 10:45 am

malihabad is a good town here so much verity mangos avileble

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skjain February 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I am fascinated by reading about malihabad mango grafting and i plan to take a trip to lucknow this june just to see for myself how mangores of different varieties on a signle tree look like. I hope june is the right time for seeing and for tasting different varieties of mangoes

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