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five to fifteen nuts in a bunch, and in good soil, a tree may produce from eight to twelve bunches, or from eighty to a hundred nuts annually. Trees which grow near the sea much more luxuriant and productive than those which are planted inland, or upon elevated situations. They are frequently struck by lightning, which often kills the bud, and thereby occasions the death of the tree.

In Ceylon the Coco-nut tree is most extensively cultivated, and the following remarks are intended more immediately to apply to the tree as it grows in that island.

It does not appear that the Coco-nut tree is nearly as much cultivated in the West India islands as in the East. In some estates of Jamaica groves of them are planted, and an oil extracted from them to light the works during crop time; and occasionaily the nuts are served out to the negroes as an article of food.

The root of the Coco-nut tree is sometimes masticated by the Cingalese in place of the Areca. * The Brazilians make baskets of the

* The Areca tree is the smallest of the palms, and grows perfectly straight. The stem is not more than thirteen inches in circumference,

small roots. The hard woody shell of the trunk is employed by natives for drums, and in the

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and attains to the height of sixty feet. The leaves shoot out from the top of the tree, and are much smaller than the Coco, which in shape they considerably resemble. The nuts grow in clusters at the bottom of the leaves, are of an oval shape, a little larger than a nutmeg. The skin is smooth, of a bright gold, or orange colour, occasionally speckled with brown. The inside of the kernel is solid, of a white colour, streaked with red. These nuts are in general use as a luxury for mastication throughout India and the Eastern Archipelago. It is considered an antiscorbutic for the teeth and gums, and to give the breath an aromatic odour ; but its habitual use gives an appearance of bleeding at the mouth, which in the women is very disgusting. The properties of the Areca nut as a dye are well known in Scotland : it is of a peculiar red, and cannot be mistaken by any one accustomed to the colour. One of these trees produces from three

THE ARECA.

construction of their huts, &c. It is also much employed in making gutters. Towards the base of the trunk the wood is remarkably hard, and admits of a high polish. “I have seen,” says the Rev. J. Cordiner, “a polished portion of the wood set in the lid of a silver snuff-box, in the same manner as jewellers occasionally fix agate hundred to a thousand nuts annually ; they bear but once a year, but commonly there are green nuts enough to eat all the year long. The leaves fall off every year, and the skin upon which they grow with them. They also clasp about the buds or blossoms which bear the nuts ; and as the buds swell, so this skin-cover gives way to them, till at length it falls off with the great leaf on it. It is somewhat like leather, and of great value to the country people. It serves them instead of basins to eat their rice in ; and when they go a journey, to tie up their provisions ; for in these they can tie up any liquid, as oil or water, doubling the leaf in the middle, and rolling in the two sides almost like a purse. They are commonly about two feet long, and one and a half in breadth. In this country there are no inns, therefore people, when they travel, carry, ready dressed, what provisions they can, wrapped up in these leaves. A slice of Areca nut, and a pinch of chunam, (a fine species of lime made with calcined shells,) are rolled up in a Betel leaf, put into the mouth, and chewed. The Areca nut corrects the bitterness of the Betel leaf, and the chunam prevents it from hurting the stomach. The Betel plant resembles the black pepper, and grows like ivy entwined about trees or props. The leaf is shaped like a heart, about the size of a man's hand, dark green, thick, and aromatic. It is eaten all over India with the Areca nut and other additions.

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or cornelian. In some parts, I am informed that a cradle is made of the network-like substance, resembling coarse cloth, which clothes the base of each leaf, and which falls off before the leaf attains maturity. This is chiefly used as a filter for straining the sweet juice which is extracted from the flowering sheath of this tree; it is also made into a durable sackcloth, called gunny, which is used in making bags for transporting grain.” The unexpanded leaves, or terminal leaf-bud, is occasionally eaten by Europeans, as well as by natives. When boiled it is tender, and forms a good substitute for cabbage. The natives sometimes preserve it in vinegar, and eat it as a pickle: when this part is removed the tree dies.

Many of the natives thatch their houses with Coco-nut leaves. To do this the leaf is split, and the leaflets of each half are then plaited and interwoven, by which means they are adapted for a variety of uses. In this state they are employed to thatch cottages, to shelter young plants from the scorching rays of the sun, to construct fences, to form the ceilings of rooms, and to make baskets for carrying fruit, fish, &c. The young leaves of the Coco-nut tree have a fine yellow colour and a

In some

beautiful texture, like fine kid or satin. parts of Ceylon, great taste is evinced in ornamenting triumphal arches, as also ball rooms and similar places of public resort, with the leaves of this tree, and some very remarkably beautiful species of moss. As the young leaves are transparent, they serve to make lanterns, in the construction of which many of the inhabitants are very dexterous. The leaflets are sometimes used to write upon, and the instrument employed to make the impression is an iron stylus (or pointed piece of iron). The leaves of the Palmyra are, however, in more frequent use for this purpose : during the operation of writing the leaf is supported by the left hand, and the letters scratched upon the surface with the stylus. Instead of moving the hand with which they write towards the right, they move the leaf in a contrary direction by means of the thumb of the left hand. The natives do not require tables to write upon. They can write standing, as well as walking.

Baskets for catching fish, shrimps, &c., are made of the tough ribs of the leaflet; the same substance is employed for many of the purposes for which we use pins. A bundle of these ribs is in

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