William and Robert Chambers,
Text on page 48
such a tree, n a country where hard labour is oppressive by reason of heat ! There are as many varieties of this fruit in Burmah as there are of the apple with us ; some preferred for cooking, others for eating in a raw state ; some sorts grow wild, but in general it is exclusively the result of culture.
The small-fruited Plantain, or Banana (musa sapien-tum), is common in the southern districts, but is not much cultivated. It is found wild, and in that state has seeds, which the cultivated plantains never have.
The Coon-the, or Betel (areca catechu), another species of palm, grows both wild and cultivated, attaining the height of thirty to fifty feet, but seldom so thick as a man's thigh ; without limbs or leaves, except at the top Bark, smooth, ash-coloured, and marked with parallel rings. The fruit is the size of a nutmeg, and resembling it in structure.
Near it is generally seen growing the Pung, or Betel Vine (piper betele), a slender annual, whose leaf, touched with a little lime, is the universal accompaniment to the areca-nut and cutch for chewing. It is cultivated on a trellis like the grape.
It would be tedious to describe all the other palms, which are exceeding numerous, different species being applied to different uses, but all of them of primary importance. One of the most widely dissenjinated is the cocos nypa. From this are obtained the best leaves for thatching, called by Burmans denee, and by Europeans atap, from the Malay word for thatch, and by them specifically given to this plant as furnishing the best. It yields abundance of toddy and sugar.
The Magee, or Tamarind (tamarindus Indiens), is not found upon tide waters, but is very abundant throughout the upper provinces. It becomes ninety or 100 feet high, and twelve or fifteen in circumference, and, like the mango, is planted not less for shade than fruit. The branches extend widely, with a dense foliage of bright green composite leaves, very much like those of the sensitive plant. The flowers are in clusters, of a beautiful yellow, veined with red. The fruit hangs like beans. The pods are longer, darker, and richer than the tamarind of the West Indies, and are preserved without the addition of syrup. The timber is like ebony, very strong, and used for mallets, by coolies for bear-ing-poles, and c. The young leaves, as well as the fruit, are used in curry.
The Toung-pien-nai, or Mountain Jack, grows like the jack, but the fruit never exceeds the size of a goose's egg, and has the taste of a tart cherry.
The Mayan, or Marian (mangifera oppositifolia), grows wild in most parts of the country. It is a lofty, spreading tree. Fruit yellow, the size of a plum. There are several varieties, of which some are sweet and others sour. It is an excellent fruit, but does not grow in the upper provinces.
The Sabu-tha-bey is one of the largest of trees. Fruit, size of a small peach, red, very many seeds, hanging in clusters from the trunk.
The Palmyra (borassus) grows every where, but abounds chiefly in the upper provinces, especially near Ava. There are several varieties. It issues from the ground the full thickness it is ever to be, about three to four feet diameter, and gains a few inches in height every year, throwing out no branches, and bearing leaves only at the summit. It reaches the height of about forty feet ; and sometimes, but rarely, fifty-five or sixty feet. The leaves are of great size, standing out from a stem like the fingers of an extended hand. From this species of palm, the leaves for writing are prepared. The tree comes to maturity in about thirty years, but often takes forty. The male trees afford juice for toddy three months in the year, the female seven or eight, each giving daily from one to three gallons, which is gathered by cutting off a shoot which would bear fruit, and suspending a pot or a bamboo to the end. Most of this is made into molasses or jaggery. Some of it is drunk fresh from the tree, when it resembles new cider. By standing a few hours, it ferments rapidly, and in that state is considerably intoxicating.
It is, I believe, never distilled. The fruit is black, oval) shiny, two inches in diameter, and used after cooking iA a great variety of ways. The stone of the fruit is a third of its bulk, and is buried in the ground for the sake of the large sprout it produces, which is prized aS an esculent. Every part of the tree is made useful. The sap is boiled down as we do that of the maple, and yields the tolerable sugar called jaggery in commerce. Large quantities of this are made.
The May-u-ah is the size of an apple-tree. Fruit excellent, size of a plum, purple colour, sweet, small seeds. It is said to grow in the celestial regions, and to be a favourite food of the Nats.
The Aw-zali, or Guava (psidium pomiferum), abundant in some places, but is not extended over the whole country, and is certainly not indigenous. I* grows to the height of twenty or thirty feet,with leaves of pale green, and beautiful, large, white blossoms. The fruit is about the size of a pear, and a little yellowish when ripe, full of hard seeds, the size of buck-shot. Foreigners generally despise it, as they do many other Indian fruits, which a few experiments would teacb them to admire. There are several varieties.
The Custard-apple (annona squamosa, and c.) grow* well, if planted in proper places, but receives little care, and is not so common as its extreme deliciousness deserves. The fruit resembles a large pine bur not ye* opened, or a pine-apple cheese, and is about the size oi a large apple. The skin is thick, and the inside filled up with seeds mixed among a yellowish pulp, so closely resembling soft custard as to fully justify its name. Its Javanese name has the same allusion.
The Ta-lain-no is a vine which attains a diameter of eight or twelve inches. Fruit, yellow, pear-shaped, acid* with six or eight stones, size of an egg.
The Zee, or Crab-apple, a moderate-sized tree. Fruit, size of a large cherry, one large stone. Two kinds, sweet and sour. The timber is highly prized for its fine grain, toughness, and elasticity.
The Zim-byoon (dillenia) is of several kinds. They are large trees, but the timber is worthless. Fruit, siz0 of a small plum, sour, red.
The Ka-ling grows twenty or thirty feet high, generally wild. The fruit is the size of a child's marble, used more as medicine than food.
The Theho-tharet, or Ka-shoo, Cashew or Acajou (anarcardium occidew tale), is a spreading tree, seldom more than fifteen or eighteen feet high. The fruit resembles a pear, but is rendered very remarkable by a crescent-shaped nut growing on the end. It is much prized by Burmans, though not by foreigners. The roasted nut is excellent*
Cashew-Nut. The Kyet-mouk, or Cock's-comb, is a moderate-sized tree, found wild in most parts of the country. The fruit is red, sour, the colour of a cock's comb, and has similar corrugations on the skin. It hangs in grape-like clusters.
The Zoung-yan is peculiar to the upper provinces* Fruit, size of a guava, pink, full of seed, smooth skin-Fruit, leaves, and root, are used as medicine. The tree is of good size, but useless as timber.
The La-moo is a small tree, like a willow, growing only near salt water, and generally in the very edgeA twelve or fifteen inches in diameter. The blossom very beautiful, a little like a thistle, very fragrant, pal0 green, large, umbrella-shaped pistil, innumerable stamens, no corolla, but a thick calyx, which remains, and holds the fruit like a dish. Monkeys are fond of tb0 fruit, and are often seen in the tree. The natives us0 it in curry. Timber useless.
The Na-uah is a very large tree, thorny. Fruit, deep red, size of a small plum, skin very thin, full of hard white, triangular seeds. Prized only by the natives.
The Than-lwen, or Olive, grows plentifully round Mergui, but not of very good quality, as it is entirely neglected.
The Lep-han grows every where in the upper pi'0'The Lep-han grows every where in the upper pi'0'