1. Chammaliang (Lepisanthes fruticosa Leenh)
2. Khanun sampalor (Artocarpus odoratissimus Blanco)
3. Lamut khamen (Pouteria campechiana (Kunth) Baehn.)
4. Ma-kham-thet (Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth)
5. Naam daeng (Carissa carandas L.)
6. Star apple (Chrysophyllum cainito L.)
7. Takhop farang (Muntingia calabura L.)
8. Takhop-thai (Flacourtia rukam Zoll & Moritzi)
This group includes eight species that, at the present time, do not have any potential for being developed commercially. Most of these species are found growing naturally in the forests or growing unattended in wasteland. Some are found growing along roadsides. Currently, the only value of the fruit species in this group is due to their use by local villagers as traditional medicine, or for other necessities. This in itself indicates that they may have value as genetic resources for further scientific investigation.
The synonyms of this species are Otophora cambodiana Pierre, Otophora fruticosa Blume, and Otophora resecta Radlk.
Chammaliang belongs to the Sapindaceae family. It is found distributed in Thailand, Myanmar and Indo-China. It is mostly found growing as a home garden plant, and is only occasionally cultivated.
1.1 Vernacular names
There is no English name for this species. Mojowontu (Indonesia); setengok (Malaysia); linaunau (Tagalog), buli-buli (Bisaya), ara (Ibanag), (Philippines); kandak (Cambodia); kwad khaaz (Laos); and chammaliang, phumriang (central), mathao (north), (Thailand).
1.2 General description
Chammaliang is a shrub or small tree, usually 4-7 m tall. Leaves are usually paripinnate, 1-14-jugate. The leaf is ovate and acute at the apex, 7-21 × 2-3 cm in size, with a round stipule. The leaf is thick and shiny. Inflorescences 10-20 cm long are borne on branches and stems. The inflorescence contains perfect and non-perfect flowers. The flower has 5 purple sepals and petals. The petals are quite similar to the sepals, but are thinner. The flower is 0.3-0.4 × 0.5-0.6 cm in size. In Thailand the chammaliang flowers around December-January. The fruit is a subglobose to ellipsoid berry up to 4 cm in diameter. At ripening, it is dark red to black. The flesh is sweet. The seeds are subglobose to semi-ellipsoid, flattened on one side, and can grow up to about 2 cm in diameter. Propagation is done by seed germination.
The fruit can be eaten fresh, as it is sweet when ripe. The seeds are eaten roasted. The root is used in a compound poultice to relieve itching and to lower temperature during fever.
There is no prospect for developing chammaliang into fruit orchards. It may be used as an ornamental plant in landscaping due to its attractive form.
The synonyms of this species are Artocarpus tarap Becc. and Artocarpus mutabilis Becc.
This fruit tree belongs to the Moraceae family and its relatives are jackfruit and breadfruit. It originated in Borneo and has been introduced into neighbouring countries, including the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. It is now cultivated in the Philippines.
2.1 Vernacular names
The English name is marang. Pingan (Iban), pi-ien (Bidayuh), keiran (Kelabit), (Indonesia); terap (Malaysia); marang (Sulu), madang (Lanao), loloi (Tagalog), (Philippines); and khanun sampalor (Thailand).
2.2 General description
Khanun sampalor is rather similar to breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis Fosberg) in its tree shape, however, the leaves and fruit shapes are quite different. It is an evergreen tree, which can grow up to 25 m tall and has a 40 cm diameter trunk with low buttresses. Twigs are 4-10 mm thick with long, yellow to red, spreading hairs and stipule-scar rings. The stipules are hairy, 1-8 cm long and ovate in shape. The leaves are broadly elliptic to obovate, 16-50 × 11-28 cm in size. They are cuneated at base to slightly decurrent, margin entire or shallowly crenate, and apex blunt or shortly acuminate. Inflorescences occur in leaf axils, solitary. Male heads are ellipsoid to clavate and 4-11 × 2-6 cm in size, whereas female heads occur with pubescent peltate bracts, mostly shed and simple styles are exserted to 1.5 mm. The fruit is quite large, averaging about 16 cm in length, 13 cm in diameter and weighing about 1,000 g. It is roundish oblong, regular, and thickly studded with short, brittle, greenish yellow spines. The rind is thick and fleshy. The flesh is snowy white, very sweet when ripe, juicy, very aromatic and of excellent flavour (Coronel, 1983). The flesh is separated into segments clinging to the central core and each segment contains a seed. The seeds are many, whitish, 8 × 15 mm in size, smooth surfaced and readily separated from the flesh (Galang, 1955).
Khanun sampalor is found growing naturally in Sarawak in secondary forests up to 1,000 m altitude on sandy clay soils. It is also found cultivated as well as growing wild in the Philippines. Under cultivation, it grows best in regions with abundant and equally distributed rainfall on rich loamy, well drained soils. It is also found in partially shaded locations from sea level to 800 m elevation.
2.4 Propagation and agronomy
Khanun sampalor is propagated from seed. The seeds are extracted from ripe fruit, thoroughly cleaned with water and sown immediately on sandy loam soil as they lose their viability quickly. Vegetative propagation by budding, grafting and inarching also give some degrees of success.
No serious pests and diseases have been observed apart from oriental fruit fly attacking ripe fruits (de la Cruz, 1991). Mature fruits are usually harvested by hand with the help of a curved knife attached to the end of a long bamboo pole.
The fruit is eaten raw and the large seeds are edible when boiled or roasted. The fruit also makes an excellent flavouring for ice-cream. It has 24-33 percent edible portion and contains, per 100 g edible portion: 65.7-84.2 percent moisture, 63-122 calories food energy, 0.8-1.5 g protein, 0.2-0.3 g fat, 32.4 g carbohydrates, 0.5-0.8 g ash, 0.6-0.8 g crude fibre, 17 mg calcium, 35 mg phosphorous, 2.1 mg iron and 30 mg ascorbic acid (Galang, 1955).
Khanun sampalor may not have any prospects in Thailand as its very sweet taste and strong smell are unfamiliar to the general Thais. It has low yield and short shelf-life as compared to jackfruit. It is grown as a home garden plant in some villages in southern Thailand. However, if the fruits can be processed, there may be some possibilities of expanding its plantation.
The synonym of this species is Lucuma nervosa A. DC.
This fruit tree belongs to the Sapotaceae family. It is a native of Mexico and has been introduced into the Philippines and later to other Southeast Asian countries including Thailand where it has been found growing as a collectors plant in home gardens in some villages in the North and Northeastern regions.
3.1 Vernacular names
The English names are canistel, egg-fruit, and yellow sapote. Tiesa, canistel, (Philippines); lamut khamen, khe maa, to maa (Thailand).
3.2 General description
Lamut khamen is a medium sized evergreen tree 12-20 m tall and with a 25-60 cm wide trunk. The dark grey bark is finely ribbed and 4-5 mm thick. It is rich in white gummy latex in every part of the tree. The branches are mainly horizontal. The leaves whorl at the tips of the branches, are obovate-elliptic, 6-25 × 2.5-8 cm in size, glossy, bright green, and tapering towards both ends. The petioles are 5-25 cm long. Flowers are axillary borne in the lower leaves. They are solitary or clustered and fragrant. The pedicel is 5-12 mm long. The fruit is a spindle shaped to ovoid, obovoid or subglobose berry, often beaked at the apex with a thin, tough, waxy smooth, yellow skin. The flesh is more or less musky aromatic, moist or dryish, mealy and very sweet with 1-5 seeds. The glossy brown seeds are ovoid and 4-5 × 1.5-2 cm in size.
3.3 Propagation and Agronomy
Lamut khamen is usually propagated from seeds. The seeds lose viability quickly and should be germinated within a few days after removal from the fruit. Seedlings grow fast and may produce fruit in 3-4 years. Vegetative propagation such as grafting can be done and the grafted plants can produce fruit in 2-3 years. Trees tend to flower over an extended period, as the dry season progresses in the tropics. In some areas the trees may flower intermittently throughout the year. Fruit ripens 5-6 months after bloom.
After removal of the skin and seeds, the fruit may be eaten as a sweet fruit, or as a vegetable with salt and pepper, lemon juice or mayonnaise. Blended with milk and nutmeg, it makes a highly nutritious cold beverage. It may be added to custards and to ice-cream before freezing. The flesh can be dehydrated, powdered and employed as a rich food additive.
The edible portion constitutes up to 70 percent of fruit weight. Chemical analyses showed that 100 g edible portion of ripe fruit contain: water 57.2-60.6 g, protein 1.7-2.5 g, fat 0.1-0.6 g, carbohydrates 36.7-39.1 g, fibre 0.1-7.5 g, ash 0.6-0.9 g, calcium 26.5-40 mg, phosphorous 30-37.3 mg, iron 0.9-1.1 mg, carotene 0.32 mg, thiamine 0.02-0.17 mg, riboflavin 0.01-0.03 mg, niacin 2.5-3.7 mg and vitamin C 43-58 mg. The energy value is 580-630 kJ/100 g (Morton, 1991). Thus, the fruit is rich in carbohydrates, carotene and niacin.
Lamut khamen is still little known in Thailand and is grown only in some villages as home garden plants. However, the high nutritional value of the fruit may attract more interest and promote its wider growth in the future. Promotion based on its high food value and research on how to use the fruits is needed for future development of lamut khamen in Thailand.
The synonyms of this species are Mimosa dulcis Roxb.and Inga dulcis (Roxb.) Willd.
Ma-kham-thet belongs to the Leguminosae family and is very common in Thailand. It is found growing in many unattended waste areas. The tree is said to have originated in Central America, but it has been naturalized throughout Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
4.1 Vernacular names
The English names are guayamochil, Manila tamarind, and sweet inga. Asam belanda, asem londo, asam koranji (Indonesia); asam kranji, asam tjina (Malaysia); kamatsile, kamanchilis, damortis (Philippines); kway-tanyeng (Myanmar); âm pül tük (Cambodia); khaam theed (Laos); ma-kham-thet (Thailand); and me keo, keo tây (Viet Nam).
4.2 General description
Ma-kham-thet is a medium sized to large tree, which can grow up to 10 m or more. The ultimate branches are often pendulous and armed with short, sharp, stipular spines at the bases of leaves. Leaves are abruptly bipinnate and 4-8 cm long. Each single pair of oblique, ovate oblong leaflets is 1-4 cm long. Inflorescences occur in terminal panicles, puberulent, up to 10 cm long. Peduncles are 1-2 cm long bearing globular heads with 15-20 sessile white flowers. The calyx and corolla are tubular, 1.5 mm and 3.5 mm long, respectively, with white filaments. The fruit is a pod and is turgid, twisted, and often spiral, 10-18 cm long, about 1 cm wide, and weights about 10-20 g. It is dehiscent along the lower suture and the valve is red or reddish brown when ripe. The seeds are black, flat and shiny and 6-8 seeds are found per pod. The seed is surrounded by an edible, whitish, pulpy aril (Galang, 1955). The pulp is either red or white, sweet and rather dry and mealy.
4.3 Planting and propagation
Ma-kham-thet grows well at low and medium altitudes in both wet and dry areas under full sunlight. Although well drained soil is best, it also grows successfully in heavy clay soils.
Ma-kham-thet is usually propagated from seeds, which take about 2 weeks to germinate. Outstanding clones should be propagated vegetatively by marcotting, grafting or budding. Once planted in the field, the tree does not need any treatment other than occasional pruning. Pests and diseases do not seem to cause any serious problems.
The pods are usually picked by climbing the tree or using a long bamboo pole. When mature the pods split open at the lower suture exposing the edible pulp. For this reason the fruit does not keep long and has to be consumed within a few days.
The pulp of the ripe fruit is edible when raw. Fresh pods contain 50.3 percent pulp, 25.3 percent seeds and 24.4 percent peel (Gam and Cruz, 1957). The pulp per 100 g edible portion contains: 75.8-77.8 g. water, 2.3-3 g protein, 0.4-0.5 g fat, 1.1-1.2 g crude fibre, 0.6-0.7 g ash, 18.2-19.6 g carbohydrates, 79 calories food energy, 13 mg calcium, 42 mg phosphorous, 0.5 mg iron, 19 mg sodium, 20.2 mg potassium, 25 IU vitamin A, 0.24 mg thiamine, 0.1 mg riboflavin, 0.6 mg niacin and 133 mg ascorbic acid (Gamo and Cruz, 1957).
The seed contains 70.6 percent kernel, 21.7-56.4 percent water, 10.5-29.9 percent protein, 8.0-17.7 percent fat, 3.9 percent crude fibre, 1.6-2.3 percent ash, and 19.6-28.4 percent carbohydrates (Padilla and Soliven, 1933). The seed oil contains 51.1 percent oleic acid, 24.0 percent linolic acid and 24.3 percent saturated acids while the seed meal (after oil extraction) contains 27.6 percent protein, 2.2 percent fat, 8.5 percent crude fibre, 3.6 percent ash and 49.1 percent carbohydrates (Gamo and Cruz, 1957). The oil is edible and is used for the manufacture of soap and other purposes for which peanut oil may be used. Due to its high protein content, the seed meal may be used for animal feed.
4.6 Ethnomedical uses
Ma-kham-thet leaves can be used as a plaster to allay pain even from venereal sores, and can relieve convulsions. The leaves together with salt can cure indigestion and also induce abortion. The bark of the root is good for dysentery. The bark of stem is used for tanning (De Padua et al., 1978) and produces dull, but light coloured leather, which reddens on exposure to light. It is also used for dyeing fish nets (Galang, 1955). The bark, however, contains irritating substances, which can cause eye infection (Coronel, 1983).
In Thailand Ma-kham-thet is mainly grown as a hardy, easy to manage roadside tree. Now some growers in the Central Plain select the clones with large pods containing small seeds and sweet pulp. These clones may be cultivated in home gardens and there are possibilities for commercial development in the future.
Naam daeng (Carissa carandas Linn. or its synonyms Carissa congesta Wight.) belongs to the Apocyanaceae family. The tree is a native of India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia. It has also been introduced and naturalized in Indonesia and the Philippines. At present, naam daeng is widely cultivated in Thailand, Indo-China and East Africa.
5.1 Vernacular names
There are many English names such as natal plum, bengal currant, karandang and karaunda. Karandan (Java), senggaritan (Timor), (Indonesia); kerenda, kerandang, berenda (Malaysia); karanda, caramba perunkila (Philippines); naam daeng (Bangkok), manaao ho (southern peninsula), naam khee haet (Chiang Mai), (Thailand); and cây sirô (Viet Nam).
5.2 General description
Naam daeng is a small tree usually 3-5 m tall. The stem is rich in white latex and the branches contain sharp spines. Flowers are small, measuring 3-5 cm in diameter, with white colour. The fruit is a berry, which is formed in clusters of 3-10 fruits. The fruit is globose to broad ovoid in shape and about 1.0-2.5 cm long. Young fruits are pinkish white and become red to dark purple when mature.
Naam daeng is usually propagated by seeds. Vegetative propagation is not yet known.
The fruit is very sour at maturity but it is sourish sweet when ripe. It can be eaten raw or stewed with sugar. In Thailand it is mainly used as pickles, however, it can also be made into jam, jellies and puddings. Furthermore, the fruit is also used to make beverages, curries and tarts. Naam daeng trees are suitable for hedging in the home garden and are sometimes grown as an ornamental plant due to its beautiful cherry-like fruits.
Ethnomedically the fruits are used as an astringent, antiscorbutic and as a remedy for biliousness. A leaf decoction is used against fever, diarrhoea, and earache. The roots serve as a stomachic, vermifuge, remedy for itches and insect repellent. The wood is hard and is used to make small utensils.
Naam daeng has no future for development as a well known fruit tree. It has a place growing as a home garden tree with the fruit being processed as home made jam or pickles, mainly for home consumption.
The synonym of this species is Achras caimito Ruiz & Pavon.
Star apple is in the Sapotaceae family, the same family as sapodilla (Manilkara zapota L.). The tree is indigenous to the West Indies and spread over tropical America in the early days. At present it is found growing throughout the tropics, and is found as a home garden plant in Thailand, the Philippines and Viet Nam.
6.1 Vernacular names
It is known as star apple and caimito in English. Caimite, caimitier (French); caimito, estrella (Spanish); cainito, ajara (Portuguese); sawo ÿo (Indonesia - Java); caimito (Philippines); chicle durian (Singapore); and star apple (Thailand).
6.2 General description
The star apple is an evergreen tree. It is erect, 8-30 m tall, and has a short trunk up to 1 m thick with a dense, broad crown, brown hairy branchlets, and white gummy latex. The alternate leaves are elliptic or oblong-elliptic, 5-15 cm long, slightly leathery, rich green and glossy on the upper surface, and coated with silky, golden-brown pubescence beneath when mature, although they are silvery when young. Petioles are 0.6-1.7 cm long. Inflorescences are borne axillary on the current season's shoots. The small, inconspicuous flowers are greenish yellow, yellow, or purplish-white with tubular, 5-lobed corolla and 5 sepals. The fruit is round, oblate, ellipsoid or somewhat pear-shaped and 5-10 cm in diameter. The mature fruit may be reddish purple, dark purple or pale green. The glossy, smooth, thin, leathery skin adheres tightly to the inner rind. In purple fruits, the flesh is dark purple; in green fruits, it is white. Both purple and white flesh have soft, white, milky, sweet pulp surrounding 6 to 11 gelatinous, somewhat rubbery, seed cells in the centre. When cut through transversely, they are seen to radiate from the central core like an asterisk or many-pointed star, giving the fruit its common name. The fruit may have up to 10 flattened, nearly oval, pointed, hard seeds 2 cm long, nearly 1.25 cm wide and up to 6 mm thick. Usually, several cells are not occupied and the normal fruits have as few as 3 seeds. The seeds appear black at first with a light area on the ventral side, and become light brown upon drying.
6.3 Climatic requirements
Star apple grows successfully on almost all types of soil and in a range of tropical or near tropical areas. Throughout Southeast Asia it thrives in the lowlands (up to 400 m elevation) and in areas with a distinct dry season. If the dry period is most pronounced, undue loss of leaves and less juicy or even shriveled fruit are evident, which indicates that the drought is too severe and irrigation is needed. Fertile, well drained and slightly acid soils are ideal for good growth.
Star apple trees are widely grown from seeds, which retain viability for several months. The seedlings bear fruits in 5-10 years. Vegetative propagation hastens production and should be more commonly practiced. The cuttings taken from mature stems root well (Morton, 1987). Air-layers can be produced in 4 to 7 months and bear early. Budded or grafted trees have been known to fruit one year after being set in the ground.
Asexual propagation is recommended to multiply healthy, good quality trees. Cleft grafting is the most common propagation method and gives a high percentage take. C. oliviforme is a compatible rootstock, but most grafts are made on star apple seedlings (de la Cruz Jr., 1991). In the field, planting space is usually set at 10 × 12 m. In Thailand planting is done at the onset of the rainy season.
Fruits should be harvested when fully ripe, which can be seen by shiny light green or yellowish-brown skin for the green type and pale to dark purple for the purple type. Harvesting is done on individual fruits as all fruits on a tree do not ripen at the same time. Fruits are harvested by cutting the stalk with a pair of clippers or by using a long bamboo pole with a net. After harvest, the protruding stalk is clipped off and the unblemished fruit is packed in bamboo baskets lined with banana leaves and transported to the market. Ripe fruit keeps only for a few weeks if stored under refrigeration.
Star apple fruit is usually consumed fresh, but it must not be bitten into. The skin and rind are not edible. When opening a star apple fruit, one should not allow any of the bitter latex of the skin to contact the edible fresh. The ripe fruit, preferably chilled, is cut in half and the flesh spooned out, leaving the seed cells and core. A better way of serving the fruit is to cut around the middle completely through the rind and then, holding the fruit stem-end down, twisting the top gently back and forth. As this is done, the flesh will be felt to free itself from the downward half of the rind, and the latter will pull away, taking with it the greater part of the core.
Besides being consumed fresh, the fruit may be used as an ingredient of ice-cream, and sherbet. The nutritional values per 100 g edible portion are: water 80.5-82.6 g, protein 0.7-1.3 g, fat 0.6-1.1 g, carbohydrates 15.3-17.4 g, fibre trace-0.7 g, ash 0.2-0.3 g, calcium 14-17 mg, phosphorous 9-13 mg, iron 0.2-0.4 mg vitamin A trace-10 IU, thiamine 0.01-0.02 mg, riboflavin 0.01-0.02 mg, niacin 0.8-0.9 mg, and vitamin C 6-7 mg. The energy value is 280-300 kJ per 100 g.
6.7 Ethnomedical properties
The ripe fruit is eaten to sooth inflammation in laryngitis and pneumonia. It is given as a treatment for diabetes mellitus, and as a decoction is gargled to relieve angina. A decoction of the rind, or of the leaves, is taken as a pectoral. A decoction of the tannin-rich, astringent bark is drunk as a tonic and stimulant, and is taken to halt diarrhea, dysentery and hemorrhages, and as a treatment for gonorrhea and "catarrh of the bladder". The bitter, pulverized seed is taken as a tonic, diuretic and febrifuge. The latex of the tree is applied on abscesses and, when dried and powdered, it is given as a potent vermifuge. It is also taken as a diuretic, febrifuge and remedy for dysentery.
In Thailand star apple has little chance of being developed into an economic crop. It will remain as a garden tree for the relatively dry lowland areas where irrigation is not available. Unless the people are educated in the eating and utilization as well as the nutritional values of this fruit, the chance of its development is still uncertain due to the lack of market demand.
Takhop farang (Muntingia calabura L.) belongs to the Elaeocarpaceae family. It is a small to medium sized evergreen tree commonly found in Southeast Asia as it has an incredible property for very quick establishment. The tree is a typical pioneer species and found colonizing disturbed sites in tropical lowlands, which can sustain continuous growth. It is one of the most common roadside trees in Southeast Asia.
7.1 Vernacular names
The English names are capulin, Jamaica cherry, and Panama berry. Cerri, kersen, talok (Indonesia); kerukup siam (Malaysia); datiles (Philippines); krâkhôb barang (Cambodia); khoom sômz, takhôb (Laos); takhop farang (Thailand); and trúng cá, mât sâm (Viet Nam).
7.2 General description
Takhop farang is a small to medium sized evergreen tree 3-12 m tall, with spreading, or fan-like branches. The branches are horizontal and pendent towards the tip, which is soft and hairy. The leaves are simple, alternate, ovate-lanceolate, long-pointed at the apex and oblique at the base. They are 4-14 cm long and 1-4 cm wide. The leaves are dark green and minutely hairy on the upper surface, and greyish pubescent on the lower surface, with serrated leaf margin. The flowers are borne singly or 2-3 in leaf axils. They are 1.25-2 cm wide, hermaphrodite, with 5 green sepals and 5 white petals with many prominent yellow stamens. The fruits are abundant, round and 1-1.25 cm in size. The fruit is red or sometimes yellow with smooth, thin and tender skin. Within a fruit, there is a light brown, soft and juicy pulp with a very sweet taste and a musky somewhat fig-like flavour, filled with exceedingly minute, yellowish seeds too fine to be noticed when eating.
7.3 Phenological characters
Takhop farang is a typical pioneer species. It can colonize disturbed sites in tropical lowlands that can sustain continuous growth. The growth and development of this tree are neatly structured at the shoot level, in a system that allows continuous growth extension and fruit production (Verheij, 1991). The flowers open just before dawn and only last for one day. Bees are the main pollinators. The species is self-compatible and intensive pollination is needed to reach the normal number of several thousand seeds per fruit. The flowers in a fascicle open sequentially at intervals ranging from 4-9 days. Within 2 weeks from the opening of the last flowers, the first flower of the following fascicle may already have reached bloom. A series of remarkable pedicel movements lifts each flower bud above the plane of the plagiotropic shoot just before anthesis and turns the flowers to a pendent position within 2 days from fruit set. Thus the flowers are conspicuous to pollinators and segregated from the concealed fruit. This favours bats and birds as the main dispersers of the seed and reduces the likelihood of them damaging the flowers. The fruit ripens in 6-8 weeks from anthesis and the life span of the mature leaf is only slightly longer.
Fresh seed germination is enhanced by passage through the digestive tract of bats and birds. The seed is well represented in the seed banks of forest soils and requires high temperature and light conditions for germination. The seedlings do not tolerate shade.
Planters use fresh seeds mixed with the sweet juice of the fruit to sow directly into the field. To prepare seeds for planting, water is added repeatedly to the squeezed-out seeds and juice, and as the seeds sink to the bottom of the container, the water is poured off several times until the seeds are clean enough. They are then dried in the shade.
7.5 Cultural practices
Takhop farang is not normally cultivated in Thailand as the tree spreads spontaneously. Seedlings flower within two years due to their fast growth. Air-layer plants fruit straight away. The tree has the reputation of thriving with no care in poor soils and it does well in both acid and alkaline soils and even on old tin tailings in South Thailand and Malaysia. It is drought resistant, but not salt-tolerant.
The fruit is widely eaten by children as it is sweet. They usually climb up the tree and pick the fruits by hand, or sometimes shake the tree and wait for the fruits to drop. The fruit is also cooked in tarts and made into jam. The leaf infusion is drunk as a tea-like beverage.
The nutritional value per 100 g of edible portion of the fruit contain approximately: moisture 77.8 g, protein 0.32 g, fat 1.56 g, fibre 4.6 g, ash 1.14 g, calcium 124 mg, phosphorous 84 mg, iron 1.18 mg, carotene 0.019 mg, thiamine 0.065 mg, riboflavin 0.037 mg, niacin 0.554 mg, and ascorbic acid 80.5 mg. The energy value is 380 kJ/100 g (Morton, 1987).
The flowers are said to possess antiseptic properties. An infusion of the flowers is valued as an antispasmodic. It is taken to relieve headache and the first symptoms of a cold (Morton, 1987).
The sapwood is yellowish and the heartwood is reddish brown, firm, compact, fine grained, moderately strong, light in weight, durable indoors and easily worked. It is useful for interior sheathing, making small boxes, casks and general carpentry. The wood is valued mostly as fuel as it ignites quickly, burns with intense heat and gives off very little smoke. It is also used as wood for cooking and is valued in Brazil as a source of paper pulp.
Takhop farang is very common in Thailand, but has hardly been studied. Although it is commonly seen growing in wasteland, it has received very little attention by scientists. This may be due to the fruits having little market demands, so it does not appear worthwhile developing takhop farang for cultivation.
The synonym of this species is Flacourtia euphlebia Merr.
Takhop-thai belongs to the Flacourtiaceae family. It is found widely distributed but scattered, both cultivated and wild, all over Malaysia. It is said to be a native of Indo-China, India and Thailand.
8.1 Vernacular names
The English name is rukam. Prunier de chine, prunier café (French); ganda rukem, rukam (Java), Klang tatah kutang (Borneo) (Indonesia); rukam manis, rukam gajah (Malaysia); amaiit (Tagalog), aganas (Bisaya), kalominga (Igorot), (Philippines); kén (Laos); takhop-thai (Central), khrop-dong (Pattani), (Thailand); and mung guan ru'ng (Viet Nam) (Hendro Sunarjono, 1991).
8.2 General description
Takhop-thai is a many-branched, crooked tree 15-20 m tall. Usually it is heavily armed with forked, woody spines on the trunk and old branches. The leaves are evergreen, spiralled, red when young, elliptic-oblong, 7.5-15 cm long and 3.2-6.25 cm wide, coarsely toothed and slightly shiny. Flowers occur in small clusters and are borne in the leaf axils. Male and female flowers are usually borne on separate trees; although occasionally both are found occurring on the same plant. There are no petals and the male have many stamens. The fruits are borne on old branches or on the trunk. They are nearly round, slightly flattened at the apex, 1.25-2.5 cm wide. The dark purple-red fruits have a smooth skin with whitish, juicy, acid flesh. There are 4-7 flat seeds in a fruit.
Takhop-thai grows under humid tropical conditions up to 1,500 m above sea level. Its natural habitat is primary or secondary forest; often along rivers and the trees grow in the shade as well as in full sunlight. The tree appears to be fairly adaptable to a range of temperatures, rainfall and soil conditions.
Takhop-thai is usually grown from seed, but the tree produces root suckers which can be used for vegetative propagation, e.g. of spineless trees. Budding or grafting on its own rootstock or on other Flacourtia species is also possible.
The ripe fruit can be eaten raw by rubbing between the palms of the hand because bruising the flesh eliminates astringency. It is also served as a fruit salad with spicy sauce, and pickled or sweetened with sugar to make jam or confectionaries. The young leaves are eaten raw in side dishes. Immature fruit is used to prepare traditional medicine against diarrhoea and dysentery. The juice of the leaves is applied to inflamed eye-lids. The wood is hard and strong and is used to make household utensils such as pestles and furniture.
The dark purple-red fruit has white flesh. Analyses of the edible portion in the Philippines show the following composition per 100 g edible part as: water 77 g, protein 1.7 g, fat 1.3 g, carbohydrates 15 g, fibre 3.7 g, ash 0.8 g. The energy value is 345 kJ (Hendro Sunarjono, 1991).
Takhop-thai has very little prospect of being developed for large scale plantation. This is due to the lack of market demand, especially in Thailand where many high quality fruits are available. The pattern of growth, flowering and fruiting through the year needs to be understood to strengthen the basis for selection of superior trees. This could widen the perspectives for the fruit, including production for processing.