Kapas-Kapas: An in­dige­nous veg­etable

Agriculture - - Contents -

KAPAS-KAPAS ( Telosmaprocum­bens [Blanco] Merr.) is also com­monly known as ad­wan di dalom (Ifu­gao); pad­padol, dugep, kuri­day-ong, and dukep (Ilokano); ka­puk-ka­puk and la­tok (Ta­ga­log); laknit (Bagobo); and saber­nokum, am­pupuyat, pusa­pusa, and bag­bagkong.

It can be found in thick­ets and se­condary forests from Ilo­cos Norte to Sor­so­gon, Min­doro, Cuyo, Bili­ran, Leyte, Ne­gros, Min­danao, and Basi­lan. This plant is also found in Viet­nam, Thai­land, and China. Kapas kapas flow­ers usu­ally open dur­ing the sum­mer and its fruits are nu­mer­ous dur­ing the months of Au­gust to De­cem­ber. In Ilo­cos, flow­ers and fruits are sold in bunches dur­ing its sea­son of flow­er­ing and fruit­ing.

It is a woody vine with leaves that are thin, ovate to ob­lon­go­vate, and slightly heart-shaped at the base. Flow­ers are greenyel­low, odor­less, and hairy, while the fruit is lance­o­late, green, an­gu­lar with four sides, and hav­ing nar­row wings. Seeds are black, flat, and crowned with long silky hairs.

USES AND NU­TRI­TIONAL VALUE In Ilo­cos Norte, im­ma­ture fruits are used for viands such as di­neng­deng, or are roasted. They are also used as in­flo­res­cence for sal­ads. Ilo­canos and Tag­ban­uas in Palawan use this plant for the same pur­poses.

The fruits have the con­sis­tency and taste of string beans; some com­pare its taste to that of winged beans. Fresh leaves and stems, though, have been re­ported to be poi­sonous to pigs.

For folk medicine, an in­fu­sion or de­coc­tion of kapas kapas leaves is used to cleanse or treat wounds, sca­bies, and ul­cers. The leaves are also ap­plied to the fore­head to treat headaches. In Viet­nam, the whole plant is used as a sub­sti­tute for licorice due to its sweet taste.

Prox­i­mate anal­y­sis of im­ma­ture fruits re­vealed the fol­low­ing: 89.57% mois­ture, 0.62% fats, 0.73% pro­tein, 0.59% ash, 1.30% fiber and 170 mil­ligrams or mg gal­lic acid equiv­a­lent or GAE/ per 100 grams or g to­tal phe­nol. An in­tensely sweet poly­oxypreg­nane gly­co­side (telos­mo­side A15) with a sweet­ness in­ten­sity 1,000 times higher than su­crose was iso­lated from Telosma procum­bens in Viet­nam. 17 other re­cently dis­cov­ered ex­tracts of kapas-kapas leaves were also found to have anti-di­a­betic po­ten­tial.

PRO­DUC­TION MAN­AGE­MENT Va­ri­eties: Kapas-kapas comes in a va­ri­ety of fruit sizes. There are also types that are more pro­lific than oth­ers. There is no rec­om­mended va­ri­ety so far but re­search is on­go­ing with re­spect

to va­ri­etal se­lec­tion and crop im­prove­ment.

Prop­a­ga­tion and plant­ing: Prop­a­ga­tion is through seeds or stem cuttings. Seed ger­mi­na­tion can take 1 to 1.5 months from sow­ing. Flow­er­ing com­mences 1.5-2 years af­ter plant­ing. Flow­ers start to emerge dur­ing the months of May to July and fruits emerge by Au­gust. Kapas-kapas is a climb­ing peren­nial, and hence re­quires a sturdy trel­lis.

Nu­tri­ent man­age­ment: Kapas-kapas is easy to grow us­ing a low-in­put or­ganic pro­duc­tion sys­tem. Com­post, fer­mented juices, and other or­ganic fer­til­iz­ers can be used to sup­ply the plant with its nu­tri­ent needs. Fer­til­izer ap­pli­ca­tion can be done ev­ery other week, ei­ther by side-dress­ing, drench­ing, or spray­ing. Gen­er­ally, a to­tal of 0.5-1.0 kilo­grams or kg/ per square me­ter or m2 of or­ganic fer­til­izer is ap­plied.

PEST MAN­AGE­MENT Mealy­bugs are com­monly ob­served through­out the life cy­cle of the plant. Prune heav­ily in­fested leaves or spray the plant with a soap so­lu­tion in­fused with hot pep­per.

HAR­VEST­ING AND PRO­CESS­ING Open and un­opened flow­ers can be har­vested fresh. Fruits for con­sump­tion can be har­vested a month from fruit ini­ti­a­tion, when fruits are still ten­der. Fruits have good stora­bil­ity; once har­vested, fruits re­main green and fresh even if stored for a month un­der room tem­per­a­ture.

Also, ma­ture green fruits are still at­tached to the pods 6-9 months from fruit emer­gence.

PO­TEN­TIAL The fruits have vast po­ten­tial not only as a veg­etable crop but also in the nu­traceu­ti­cal in­dus­try due to its anti-di­a­betic po­ten­tial.

RECIPE • Kapas-kapas pods in di­neng­deng: Bring wa­ter to a boil; mean­while, grill or fry fish in a cook­ing pot. Add fish sauce be­fore adding squash fruits, string beans, and ka­paska­pas, then cook un­til ten­der. Fi­nally, add malung­gay leaves and cook for a minute or two. For more in­for­ma­tion, please con­tact Dr. Rodel G. Maghi­rang, Crop Science Clus­ter-In­sti­tute of Plant Breed­ing, Col­lege of Agri­cul­ture, Univer­sity of the Philip­pines Los Baños, 4031 Col­lege, La­guna, or email rgmaghr@ya­hoo. com.

The an­gu­lar fruit of Kapas-kapas fea­tur­ing four “sides”. The im­ma­ture fruit makes a tasty, nu­tri­tious veg­etable.

Kapas-kapas fruits vary in size and shape.

Un­opened Kapas-kapas flow­ers.

Flow­ers, both opened and un­opened, are made into salad, Ilo­cano style.

Kapas-kapas fruit that is long and pointed.

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