25 September 2006

Wood Apple (2)

Thanks to Divya for sending news of a link with information about the Elephant Apple mentioned in this Blog, September 17. The following information comes from a compilation by Prof KN Rao and includes a good photograph of the fruit:

"Also called elephant apple and monkey fruit, wood apple is vilampazham. It used to go by the botanical name Feronia elephantum but today it has a new botanical name: Limonia acidissima.

After the rains, the trunk and branches give off a gum called 'Feronia gum' which counteracts diarrhoea, dysentery and diabetes.

Now to the question: Why elephant apple? In fact, the older botanical name indicates the elephant connection in that the specific name is 'elephantum'. Undoubtedly, elephants are fond of the fruit. For an animal that wholly survives on plant parts, including the bark of several trees, it is not a surprise that elephants are especially attracted to this fruit.

There is more to it than the mere fondness which the elephants have for this fruit. The rural folk believe that the digestive track of the animal has a peculiar capacity for digesting the inner contents of the fruit without in any manner affecting the fruit's woody rind. So, as the animal defecates, the fruit comes out looking as if it is whole."

1 comment:

Divyakka said...

Glad to help. :-)