THE RE­LI­ABLE AND STURDY KAMIAS TREE

Agriculture - - Old Reliable -

THE KAMIAS TREE ( Aver­rhoa bil­imbi) is a fruit-bear­ing tree of the genus Aver­rhoa, fam­ily Ox­al­i­daceae, and is so sturdy,it lives for many years, par­tic­u­larly when well cared for.

One such ex­am­ple is in Que­zon City; it is more than 50 years old but con­tin­ues to bear fruit.The tree be­longs to Ruben P. Cobang­bang, and he de­scribes it as al­ready be­ing a part of his fam­ily.

Ac­cord­ing to Cobang­bang, or “Benru” as he is fondly called, even be­fore he mar­ried his wife, the late Julita Vil­lena, the kamias tree was al­ready pro­lific in their front yard. Af­ter they had four chil­dren, all grown up now, their kamias tree re­mains as re­li­able, durable, and use­ful as it ever was.

Over the years, this tree al­ways draws my at­ten­tion when I visit Cobang­bang. There is a roofed garage in Cobang­bang’s yard which en­com­passes the tree, yet it con­tin­ues to grow and has even branched out onto the outer part of the garage, as if seek­ing sun­light to re­main pro­lific. It con­tin­ues to bear fruit to this day.

A STURDY TREE WITH GOOD FRUIT The ma­ture kamias tree can reach be­tween 5 to 10 me­ters in height; its trunk is fairly short and can quickly di­vide into sev­eral branches.The trunk and branches have to be ex­posed to sun­light for fruits to form. This can be en­cour­aged by re­mov­ing the leaves ex­cept from the branch end.

Aver­rhoa bil­imbi prob­a­bly orig­i­nated in In­done­sia, though the species is now cul­ti­vated and found through­out the Philip­pines and In­done­sia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Mal­dives, Myan­mar, and Malaysia. Es­sen­tially a trop­i­cal tree, kamias is less re­sis­tant to cold, and grows best in rich and well-drained soil.

The kamias tree usu­ally be­gins to flower in Fe­bru­ary then blooms and bear fruits more or less con­tin­u­ously un­til De­cem­ber.The fruits are usu­ally picked by hand; th­ese need gen­tle han­dling be­cause of their thin skin.

No pests or plant dis­eases have been re­ported specif­i­cally for the kamias tree. The fruit of the kamias tree con­tains pro­tein, fiber, phos­pho­rous, cal­cium, iron, thi­amine, ri­boflavin, carotene, ascor­bic acid, and­niacin, among oth­ers.

Here in the Philip­pines, where it is com­monly found in back­yards, the fruits are eaten ei­ther raw or dipped in salt or ba­goong (fish paste).It can be used as a sour­ing agent for sini­gang, a pop­u­lar Filipino dish, to cook the na­tive “pi­nan­gat,” or eaten as an ap­pe­tizer when sliced and dipped into ba­goong or

The kamias tree ( Aver­rhoa bil­imbi) is a fruit-bear­ing tree of the genus Aver­rhoa, fam­ily Ox­al­i­dacea; it is a very sturdy tree which can live and bear fruits for over 50 years.

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