Tag Archives: Fruit

Tropical Fruits

Plants grow best in the soil and climate they have originally adopted. These days with lots of technology available, the optimum conditions can be created at places different from the original.

Ripe Banana

Areas around the Equator have tropical climate. The weather is warm and there is plenty of water due to rains. This weather is suitable for copious growth of plants.

Fruits such as pineapples, persimmons, papayas and bananas grow in such a climate. Bananas are number one crop of the world. They grow in more than one hundred countries on the farms called plantations. India is the largest producer. Philippines, China and Ecuador are the next 3 top producers. Bananas are the powerhouse of energy which is stored as sugars.

Kiwifruit called Kiwi has a very different story. It was originally found in China. In early 1900, Mary Isabel Fraser visited China and tasted the fruit. She brought home the seeds and with the help of a gardener succeeded in growing the first crop in 1910. Since then New Zealand produces 1/3 of all the crops of the world.

Kiwi Slices

 

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Apples

For those who are from  science stream, the Apple occupies a place of esteem. As the story goes, an apple fell on Newton,  on of the greatest physicists, mathematicians an philosophers as he was sitting under an apple tree and mulling over the gravity and suddenly the darkness was dispelled and outcome was his laws of gravity. This seems very ludicrous because the process of ideation is not  momentary. It goes on and on.

Apple is also the brand name of the revolutionary electronic products founded by Steve Jobs. Its product line includes laptops, ipods and ipads.

But one thing is true that Apple is the king of fruits. It is about apples hat doctors said “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apples are the most widely cultivated fruit trees. There are thousands of varieties of apples in the world. It is grown in the mild to cold climates. The apple has, like other fruits that has been domesticated, undergone a sea change from its original wild varieties.

Thousands of the varieties that are grown today can be divided broadly into three: Cider varieties, Cooking varieties and Eating varieties.

Cider varieties are usually more acidic, although cider can be made from any type of apple. Cyder is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from fruit juice, most commonly apple juice but also the juice of peaches or other fruits.

Cooking varieties include the Bramley, one of the most popular and easily stored types of apple. Eating varieties include the well-known Cox’s Orange Pippin, Granny Smiths, Russets, Braemar, Golden and Red Delicious.

Eating apples have been selected for several centuries for their colour, size, ‘bite’ sweetness, physical nature of the pulp revealed once bitten, and their aftertaste. The aroma of the ripe apple before consumption is also an important commercial consideration. Modern selections are now so high in sugar and low in balancing Malic acid that dentists often no longer recommend apples to clean the teeth. It is same story like white rice. Rice in the natural form has a coating of brown color on the seed. This coating is rich in many vitamins especially “Vitamin B” and in the process of polishing this coating is removed and resulting rice is rich only in starch but poor in the minerals and vitamins. So the rice has to be taken with supplements like green leafy vegetables and fish to compensate for the minerals and vitamins. The famous 1930s slogan, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ extolling its value as a source of carbohydrate and dietary fiber, is no longer universally applicable as many varieties now contain so much sugar they actually cause tooth decay.

Cannonball tree

Whenever I saw these trees in my neighborhood, I was surprised by their odd features. These are very upright and very tall trees. There are four or five trees in our area at Panvel near Mumbai. There are big ball like fruits of khaki color hanging just below the main canopy, very near to the beginning of the trunk. Some of them are as big as musk melons. I am sure that if it hit someone who happens to be under the tree, it may cause a grievous injury. Ants gather on these fruits. Big shoots come out which are bend downward and have many buds of creamy color. Very beautiful pink color flowers come out of the buds.The flowers have six petals which are thick and waxy in nature. I did not know the name of the tree then.

Today, as I was passing underneath one of these trees on the roadside, I noticed that tree is in full bloom. There is strong fragrance all around. Bees are hovering on the flowers and enter the flower and fly over to another one. They are helping in the process of cross pollination.

After some search on the internet, I came to know that the tree is commonly called Cannon Ball tree because of those big and heavy ball like fruits. Its scientific name is Couroupita guianensis and it is said to the native of Brazil, a claim which may not be very true because in India these trees are growing for thousands of years.

The trees in India have various names according to the states of their habitat. It is called Shiva Kamal or Kailashpati. In Tamil it is called Nagalingam. All these names suggests a relation to Shiva. Due to this, these trees are revered and are found near the Shiva temples. The flower shape resembles the hood of Naga, a sacred snake. In Kannada it is called Nagalinga Pushpa and Mallikarjuna flowers in Telugu.  Even here, I saw many people gathering these flowers in the morning and upon asking told that these are offered to the God Shiva.

Buddhists also plant this tree at Buddhist temples. The fruits fall down with a great force when the stem is unable to bear its weight. It cracks on falling and emits a foul odor. The ants however like these fruits and gather within no time after the fruit has cracked and split apart.

Here are some pictures, I took with my htc mobile camera. I think you will like these.

Distant Relatives

The more I watch the nature closely and more I go through the literature, it is becoming clear how shallow is our knowledge of the world around us which the God has created. Sometimes I become more and more confused and become awestruck when some mystery of nature becomes clear to me. As we know that living things are related to one another at some stage or other during evolution though they must have diversified at some period of time but at least some basic properties resemble.

In the months of January & February, one can notice that Pipal trees which is very sacred tree of India, copiously shed their leaves. All day the leaves fall on the ground following zigzag trajectories. The wind forces them to float and it seems that they are reluctant to fall to the ground beneath the tree. Whole ground beneath the tree becomes strewn with leaves. Within few days, the trees looks as skeletons, completely shorn of  leaves. All the other trees around them have already acquired new green leaves. But it is matter of days. The new translucent leaves burst out of the branches and the whole tree is decorated with reddish brown leaves which seem to be very beautiful. One can notice the change which the tree undergoes and it is completely covered with lush green leaves. Then many birds are seen visiting them. They are there for eating the very small rounded green fruits. If you break this fruit with slight pressure of fingers you can see that inside is just like figs.

At the same time, there are other trees, the trunks of which are covered with similar type of fruits as that of Pipal. But these fruits are very numerous, bigger and become brown red on ripening. The ground is totally covered with these fruits and there is smell of food decomposition and formation of alcohol due to fermentation. Lots of ants roam on the tree and bore into the delicate fruits to eat the fruit inside. The fruit bear uncanny resemblance to Pipal fruits.

Otherwise, the look of both these trees is completely dissimilar. Leaves are different. While Banyan tree has cordate type of leaves, the Indian Fig has lanceolate kind of leaves. But in my mind, the picture began to became clearer that may be they were related. Internet queries revealed the truth. Both are ficus genera and are commonly called figs. The botanical name of Pipal or Banyan  is Ficus religiosa and other one is Indian fig.

Ficus Lutea

Pipal or Banyan

Fruits of Banyan

Serpent: The Inspiration Behind Costume Industries

Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, were living blissfully with all the other animals in the garden of Eden. God , had told them, that they don’t need to do any work and can feed freely on the fruits of all the trees there except one tree named “tree of wisdom and evil”.

All day long, Adam loitered here and there among the bushes, bathed in the pristine waters and came back in the evening, hanged on the branches of trees, ate fruits and berries which were in abundance given the fact that there was no pressure on resources. The eve on the other hand, remained more or less confined to home, sitting and talking to other animals who gathered around her. It must had been very boring. It must be the ultimate case of ennui.

Serpent, was most intelligent of all the animals. He asked the Eve why they did not eat the fruits from the tree of wisdom. Eve told him that God had forbidden them to eat from this tree because if they do they will die. Serpent told them that this is not the case, He does not want you to eat only for the reason that your eyes will open and you will also become like God.

Eve was beguiled by the talk of serpent and ate the fruit. It tasted very good and she gave some to Adam also. He could not refuse overcome the curiosity and out of love for Eve. As soon as they ate the fruit, they became aware that they were naked and feeling of shame was born in them. They covered their loins with banana leaves. When God came and realized what has happened, he gave the divine retribution to serpent to crawl and lick the dust forever. He created the punishment of great pain during childbirth for Eve and to Adam, He told that there shall be no free lunches anymore henceforth and they had to toil from day break to day ending and expelled them from the garden after making clothes and attiring them.

Thus we can not only credit Serpent for inspiring the costume industry but gynecology and agriculture.