Wednesday, September 13, 2006


The mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is a tropical evergreen tree, believed to have originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas. The tree grows from 7 to 25 meters tall. The edible fruit is deep reddish purple when ripe. The fragrant fruit is sweet and creamy, citrusy with a touch of peach flavor. In Asia, the mangosteen fruit is known as the "Queen of Fruits." It is closely related to other edible tropical fruits such as button mangosteen and lemondrop mangosteen.
The outer shell of the fruit is rather hard, typically 4-6 cm in diameter. Cutting through the shell, one finds an edible fruit shaped like a peeled tangerine but bright white, about 3-5 cm in diameter, nested in a deep red outer pod. Depending on the fruit size and ripeness, there might be seeds in the segments of the white edible part of the fruit. The seeds, however, are not edible unless cooked. The number of fruit pods is directly related to the number of petals on the bottom of the shell. On average a mangosteen has 5 fruits (round up figure).
The shell of mangosteens looks tough and hard, but they are soft and easy to open. To open a mangosteen, the shell is usually broken apart, not cut; one holds the fruit in both hands, and presses it gently (thumbs on one side, the other fingers on the other) until the shell cracks. It is then very easy to pull the halves apart along the crack and remove the fruit, taking care with the purplish, inky juice that the outer red part of the fruit contains. Mangosteen juice is a dye which can be almost impossible to remove from fabric (the reason why they are banned from some hotels in countries where they are available).


In a family of Burseraceae. It occurs mainly in the lowland forests. The grain is interlocked and the texture is moderately fine and even. The vessels are medium-sized and moderately few or moderately numerous with simple perforations, mostly solitary, the rest in radial pairs and multiples of 2 to 6 in a series. Tyloses are sparse or ill-developed in some species but well-developed and moderately abundant in others. The tree commonly 80 to 100 ft in height with trunk diameters of 2 to 3 ft. Varies with species and may reach a height of 180 ft with a diameter of 5 ft. Boles with small to prominent buttresses.



The scientific name is artocarpus heterophyllus and in a family of Moraceae, The jackfruit or nangka in Malay language is undoubtedly the worlds largest tree-fruit; with single pieces weighing up to 30 kg! Curiously, most of the fruit grows out of the main tree-trunk (see photos) which give the plant a bizarre appearance. Thought to be originally from the Indian sub-continent, this fruit has been grown in Malaysia since ancient times. Due to the spiny exterior, some people mistaken it for durian, however this fruit is much larger, sweeter, and has much more pleasant and less-persistent smell. Most people like the taste of jackfruit on their first bite. The fruit has a "familiar" yet exotic taste; somewhat a combination of pineapple, banana, and papaya. There are two different flesh colors available; Yellow and Orange


Guava, Psidium guajava L.

It came from the family of Myrtaceae. Common names are Buava, goiaba, guayaba, djamboe, djambu, goavier, gouyave, goyave, goyavier, perala, bayawas, dipajaya jambu, petokal, tokal, guave, guavenbaum, guayave, banjiro, goiabeiro, guayabo, guyaba, goeajaaba, guave, goejaba, kuawa, abas, bayabas, pichi, posh and enandi. In Malaysia we called it jambu batu.

A common shade tree or shrub in door-yard gardens and provides shade. The tree is to 33 ft (10 in) high, with spreading branches and easy to recognize because of its smooth, thin, copper-colored bark that flakes off, showing the greenish layer beneath; and also because of the attractive, "bony" aspect of its trunk which may in time attain a diameter of 10 in (25 cm). Young twigs are quadrangular and downy. The leaves, aromatic when crushed, are evergreen, opposite, short-petioled, oval or oblong-elliptic, somewhat irregular in outline; 2 3/4 to 6 in (7-15 cm) long, I 'A to 2 in (3-5 cm) wide, leathery, with conspicuous parallel veins, and more or less downy on the underside. Faintly fragrant, the white flowers, borne singly or in small clusters in the leaf axils, are 1 in (2.5 cm) wide, with 4 or 5 white petals which are quickly shed, and a prominent tuft of perhaps 250 white stamens tipped with pale-yellow anthers.
The fruit, exuding a strong, sweet, musky odor when ripe, may be round, ovoid, or pear-shaped, 2 to 4 in (5-10 cm) long, with 4 or 5 protruding floral remnants (sepals) at the apex; and thin, light-yellow skin, frequently blushed with pink. Next to the skin is a layer of somewhat granular flesh, 1/8 to 1/2 in (3-12.5 mm) thick, white, yellowish, light- or dark-pink, or near-red, juicy, acid, subacid, or sweet and flavorful. The central pulp, concolorous or slightly darker in tone, is juicy and normally filled with very hard, yellowish seeds, 1/8 in (3 min) long, though some rare types have soft, chewable seeds. Actual seed counts have ranged from 112 to 535 but some guavas are seedless or nearly so. Guava fruits are eaten fresh and made into drinks, ice cream, and preserves.

When immature and until a very short time before ripening, the fruit is green, hard, gummy within and very astringent.



Pulasan or nephelium mutobila is from a plant family known as sapindaceae.
Pulasan looks similar to the better-known rambutan and lychee, but it is much larger and far superior eating. A unique feature of the pulasan raw-seed is edible. The flesh of pulasan tastes like a sweet grape , and the seed like an almond. This is a native tree fruit of Malaysia, and as far as we know is not cultivated commercially anywhere else in the world. The size is 60-100 g per fruit (11 -14 fruit /kg) and the external color is light red at packing time. You can just simply peel the fruit (as you would a lychee) and eat as a fresh fruit. You can eat the seed at the same time as the flesh, although some experts prefer to first consume the meat, then slowly nibble on the delicious seed.


Starfruit ( Belimbing )

Also called Belimbing in Malay Language. From a family of Averrhoa bilimbi L. Starfruit or carambola acquired its name from the five pointed star shape when cut across the middle of the fruit. It has a waxy, golden yellow to green color skin with a complicated flavor combination that includes plums, pineapples, and lemons. Fruit color changes from green to yellow which is accompanied by an increase in soluble solids including sugars (sweetness). Carambolas should be picked when fully yellow to assure good eating quality. However, color break (1/2 to 3/4 of fruit is yellow) is used as the commercial maturity index because these fruits are firmer and easier to handle.

Starfruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, is low fat, and naturally sodium and cholesterol free. A small whole star fruit will provide approximately 2/3 cup sliced.

Star fruit is a slow-growing, short-trunk evergreen tree with a much-branched, bushy canopy that is broad and rounded. Mature trees seldom exceed 25-30 feet in height and 20-25 feet in spread. In a spot to its liking starfruit make handsome ornamentals. Container grown plants are equally attractive and have the additional advantage of being movable.

The spirally arranged, alternate leaves are 6 - 10 inches long, with 5 - 11 nearly opposite, ovate-oblong leaflets that are 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches in length. They are soft, medium-green, and smooth on the upper surface, faintly hairy and whitish on the underside. The leaflets are sensitive to light and more or less inclined to to fold together at night or when the tree is shaken or abruptly shocked.

Starfruit flowers are fragrant, pink to lavender flowers are 3/8 inch in diameter, perfect, and borne in clusters in axils of leaves on young branches, or on older branches without leaves. There are several flushes of bloom throughout the year.
Starfruits are ovate to ellipsoid, 2-1/2 to 5 inches (6 to 13 cm) in length, with 5 (rarely 4 or 6) prominent longitudinal ribs. Slices cut in cross-section are star shaped. The skin is thin, light to dark yellow and smooth with a waxy cuticle. The flesh is light yellow to yellow, translucent, crisp and very juicy, without fiber. The fruit has a more or less oxalic acid odor and the flavor ranges from very sour to mildly sweet. The so-called sweet types rarely have more than 4% sugar. There may be up to 12 flat, thin brown seeds 1/4 - 1/2 inch long or none at all. Seeds lose viability in a few days after removal from fruit

Cashew Nut

Cashew Nut

Also known as cajueiro, cashu, casho, acajuiba, caju, acajou, acaju, acajaiba, alcayoiba, anacarde, anacardier, anacardo, cacajuil, cajou, jocote maranon, maranon, merey, noix d’acajou, pomme cajou and pomme. In Malaysia they been called gajus, jambu, jambu golok, jambu mete, jambu monyet or jambu terung Its from the family of Anacardiaceae.

Cashew is a multipurpose tree grows up to 15 m high. It has a thick and tortuous trunk with branches so winding that they frequently reach the ground. Cashew trees are often found growing wild on the drier sandy soils. The cashew tree produces many resources and products. The bark and leaves of the tree are used medicinally, and the cashew nut has international appeal and market value as a food. Even the shell oil around the nut is used medicinally and has industrial applications in the plastics and resin industries for its phenol content. Then, there is the pseudo-fruit-a swollen peduncle that grows behind the real fruit that yields the cashew nut. The pseudo-fruit, a large pulpy and juicy part, has a fine sweet flavor and is commonly referred to as the "cashew fruit" or the "cashew apple."

Cashew nut is defined botanically as the fruit. It grows externally in its own kidney-shaped hard shell at the end of this pseudo-fruit, or peduncle. The nut kernel inside is covered with an inner shell, and between the two shells is a thick, caustic, and toxic oil called cardol. Cashew nuts must be cleaned to remove the cardol and then roasted or boiled to remove the toxins before they can be eaten.


Santol, Sandoricum koetjape

There are two forms of the santol or sentul in Malay Language. It is in red and yellow, both have large round textured yellow fruit with a very thick velvety skin. The divided fruit segments can be consumed raw. The flesh is usually sucked off the seeds as the pulp clings firmly to them. Take care not to swallow the slippery seeds. By removing the seeds it makes a tasty jam or jelly. Sometimes it called the "Lolly Fruit" because you have to suck it to get the flavor. Plants from it seeds bears fruits in three-four years. Fruits mature in mid summer.

The tree itself is very elegant in appearance with large lime to deep green leaves and offering occasional contrasting red leaves. In its native setting it is a large tree that will buttress with age, it has low growing branches and makes an excellent street or shade tree. Young plants are frost sensitive and will require protection from cold, however once established they can handle a light brief frost.



Custard Apple or Annona Reticulata is known as “buah nona” in Malaysia. Heart-shaped fruit, 10-15 cm in length and 10 cm in diameter; contains cream-coloured, juicy pulp. The mature fruit is heart shaped, sometimes oval or conical. It takes a long time to mature. The surface of the fruit is smooth with hexagonal lines and reddish brown in colour. The flesh, like the other Annonas, is pulpy and contains numerous brown seeds. The tree reaching 8-10 m in height. It sometimes shed its leaves, behaving as semi-deciduous. Leaves are used as an insecticide and anthelmintic and the fruits as an anti-diarrhoeic. Flowers are often produced in clusters. Leaves and stem constituents include: anonaine, roemerine, corydine, isocorydine and many other aporphine alkaloids. All parts of the tree contain hydrogen cyanide, especially the bark.


Various species of palms of the genus _Salacca_ in the subfamily Lepidocaryoideae. Grows in very low, dense, prickly clumps and on a short palm tree, with huge leaves up to 6m long. The tough skin of this golf ball-sized fruit is quite thin and strong and is easily peeled off. Inside are three or four segments of firm, creamy-beige flesh. The flavor of a ripe salak is intriguing, neither sweet nor sour. The fruit "buah salak" ["buah" means "fruit" in the Malay languages] that one comes across in rural markets throughout Malaysia is generally from _Salacca edulis, which is often cultivated. The fruit is brown, very roughly elongated pear-shaped, about 4 - 7cm long, covered all over with a remarkable coat of brown shiny scales that give them a rather reptilian aspect! As with many tropical fruits, it finds no taste equivalent in temperate fruits. The scaly skin is easily peeled off, revealing a firm shiny pulp which looks like and has the consistency of garlic. Good ones are sweet, with a perky dash of astringency and tannin (a bit like cooking apples).



The tree is erect, short-trunk, slender or spreading; reaching 35 to 50 ft (10.5 to 15 m) in height, with red-brown or yellow-brown, furrowed bark. Its leaves are pinnate, 9 to 20 in (22.5-50 cm) long, with 5 to 7 alternate leaflets, obovate or elliptic-oblong, pointed at both ends, 2 3/4 to 8 in (7-20 cm) long, slightly leathery, dark-green and glossy on the upper surface, paler and dull beneath, and with prominent midrib. Small, white or pale-yellow, fleshy, mostly bisexual, flowers are home in simple or branched racemes which may be solitary or in hairy clusters on the trunk and oldest branches, at first standing erect and finally pendant, and 4 to 12 in (10-30 cm) in length.
The fruit, borne 2 to 30 in a cluster, is oval, ovoid-oblong or nearly round, 1 to 2 in (2.5-5 cm) in diameter, and has light grayish-yellow to pale brownish or pink, velvety skin, leathery, thin or thick, and containing milky latex. There are 5 or 6 segments of aromatic, white, translucent, juicy flesh (arils), acid to sub-acid in flavor. Seeds, which adhere more or less to the flesh, are usually present in 1 to 3 of the segments. They are green, relatively large–3/4 to 1 in (2-2.5 cm) long and 1/2 to 3/4 in (1.25-2 cm) wide, very bitter, and sometimes, if the flesh clings tightly to the seed, it may acquire some of its bitterness.