Sunday, June 7, 2015

Bilati Gaab (বিলাতি গাব) Diospyros blancoi

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Bengali Name : Bilati Gaab (বিলাতি গাব).
Common Name : Velvet apple, Butter fruit, Mabolo fruit.
Botanical Name : Diospyros blancoi
Synonym : Diospyros discolor
Family : Ebenaceae

আজকে লেখব বিলাতি গাব নিয়ে। নামের সাথে বিলাতি যুক্ত হলেও এইটা কিন্তু আমাদের দেশের দক্ষিনে প্রচুর পরিমানে দেখা যায়। ঐ এলাকার মানুষ বানিজ্যিক ভাবে এই ফলের চাষও করে থাকে। সারা দেশে আমরা যেই গাব দেখি সেইটাকে দেশী গাব বলেই চিনি। হয়তো নামের পার্থক্য করার জন্য এইটাকে বিলাতি বলা হয়। গাছটার আদিনিবাস ফিলিপাইন দেশে। ফল পাকলে হালকা গোলাপী রঙের হয়, আর ফল গোলাকার (যা দেশী গাবের থেকে আকারে একটু বড়)। ফলটা দেখতে খুবই সুন্দর, আর এই ফলে রয়েছে প্রচুর পরিমানে ক্যালসিয়াম।

The name of the plant is Bilati Gaab (বিলাতি গাব) in our Bangladesh. This plant is popular for its pinkish colored fruits. The word bilati (বিলাতি) means foreign. Yes, this plant is native to the Philippines, but interestingly it is widely available at our Southern part of the country. They use to cultivate this commercially, and are the main supplier of this fruit in the whole Bangladesh.

But at other places of our country it is a rare plant. For example at Dhaka, we do not see that much of this tree. It has several common names which are Velvet apple, Butter fruit, Mabolo (in Philippines), etc. Binomial name of this fruit plant is Diospyros blancoi. It belongs to the plant family Ebenaceae.

Velvet apple (বিলাতি গাব) is usually a medium sized growing plant but can grow as a tall tree in suitable condition. It is an evergreen plant with long leafs which are slightly elliptic-oboong shaped. Leafs are initially coffee colored and then turns into light green and then finally dark green. Leafs are alternately arranged and having pointed at the top. Leafs are glossy at upper side.

The flowers of the Velvet apple (বিলাতি গাব) blooms as a small cluster. Small flowers from the cluster is having white or creamy-white color. It has four waxy petals and twisted, bended outwards. Flowers are covered with thick bracts which are slightly hairy. Male and female flowers bloom in the different trees.

The fruits are attractive of this plant. They are bronze-golden when immature. Later they use to turn into pinkish when ripen. Round shaped fruits are having white buttery inside. That's why it has a name like Butter fruit. Though the smell of the fruit doesn't sound nice. It is something like rotten butter. Outer surface of the fruit is hairy.

I didn't like the taste of the fruit. I bought it from the market because it was looking attractive. But It was my fault, cause the smell was coming from the skin of the fruit. It requires to peel the skin first then go for the flesh. By this way the fruit will not produce any pungent smell. I'll try it next time.

No matter how it smells like, but the fruit is full with nutrients. It is a great source of Calcium and Iron. Doctors suggest that the fruit is much more effective than the calcium/iron tablets or injections. This fruits are sufficient to fulfill the need of Calcium/Iron for the pregnant women.

Mabolo flower with immature leafs.

Apart from the fruit value, the tree provides timber too. The timber is too much dense and heavy and almost unbreakable. For this feature this timber is also falsely known as ironwood. The color of the timber is dark.

Mabolo leafs.

In Bangladesh we are cultivating this fruit commercially at our Southern part. This is a slow growing plant when growing from the seeds. That means brings the fruit after around 5-7 years. But the trees which are grown from cutting are capable to bring fruit in a quick time. Not sure which technique is our farmers are using!

I have seen only two Diospyros blancoi trees at Dhaka (ঢাকা). One is at Ramna park (রমনা পার্ক) [GPS: 23°44'9.02"N, 90°24'9.57"E] and the other one is at Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University (শের-ই-বাংলা কৃষি বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়) [GPS: 23°46'16.88"N, 90°22'29.64"E]. For the flowers you can visit during March and for the fruits you can visit June and later on.

Immature Mabolo leafs.

Bilati Gaab (বিলাতি গাব) or Velvet apple fruit.

Bilati Gaab (বিলাতি গাব) or Velvet apple fruit.

Bilati Gaab (বিলাতি গাব) or Velvet apple fruit.

Bilati Gaab (বিলাতি গাব) or Velvet apple fruit.

Bilati Gaab (বিলাতি গাব) or Velvet apple fruit.

Photos of this article were taken from Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) as mentioned below:
1) 26 March 2015: Romna park, Dhaka (রমনা পার্ক, ঢাকা): flowers.
2) 06 June 2015: Romna park, Dhaka (রমনা পার্ক, ঢাকা): immature fruits.

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog

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