We do not have the usual four seasons of spring,summer ,and winter in Sarawak. But we have the rainy season, the planting season, the fruiting season and now in recent years the hazy season. Due to the global warming in the past decades the fruit season is no longer fixed and exact towards the end of the year in November when students go home for their school holidays. The fruit season this year was in January and tapered into February.
Each fruit season is a happy season and when the langsat arrives we know that it is the end of the fruit season.
Lansium domesticum, also known as langsat or lanzones, is a fruit from the family Meliaceae. The plant, which originates from western Southeast Asia. It is the provincial flower for the Indonesian province of South Sumatra
|I love to see a langsat tree bearing fruit. It is only a small tree and yet it can bear these gold skinned fruits in bunches like succulent grapes- and one just can't wait for them to ripen. But their arrival in the market is also a remarkable tell tale sign that the fruit season is over in Sarawak!!|
|The langsat is like the last runner coming up the finishing line and you know that the race is finally over.|
|When still on the tree these fruits are firm and ready to burst out of their skin.|
|The thick leaves of the langsat tree.|
|Succulent and sweet the langast is a good fruit to eat when having a good family time.|
|Mangosteen displayed in an antique Chinese bowl|
|when the flowers of the durian appear every one in the valley gets excited and relatives from afar are told to come back to visit during the ripening period. In fact people get into a durian eating partying mood! "Durian party" "waiting for the durian to drop" are catch phrases and idioms in the Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Iban vocabulary as only the locals can understand.|
People do not use poles or knives to pick the fruit. A lithe climber would be invited to climb up the small tree with a basket and each bunch of fruit is picked by hand like the way grape pickers pick their grapes. In the longhouse community where there is no fencing no one upon seeing the ripening langsat would climb up the tree and pick as they like. Each tree is owned by some one they know and property rights are very much respected by young and old.
. Usually when the last of the langsat is picked it can really be a sad time because it means that relatives would go back to town and the fruit picking season is over.
Money will become tight again for many of the poorer farmers who depend on sale of durians and better fruits to add to their cash flow. If a man has no skill and no regular jobs he will have to find an odd job in town. However a skilled person would have taken leave during the fruit season and when the langsat appear he will go back to his post which may be very far away from the longhouse.
So once again with the arrival of langsat in the market one knows that the fruit stalls may shrink and many of the rural fruit sellers would be packing their baskets and make their way home until the next season..and they will come back again!!
The atmosphere is like that of the last birds flying south for the winter....and the last of the flowers fade before autumn sets in.
L. domesticum is cultivated mainly for its fruit, which can be eaten raw. The fruit can also be bottled in syrup. The wood is hard, thick, heavy, and resilient, allowing it to be used in the construction of rural houses.
Some parts of the plant are used in making traditional medicine. The bitter seeds can be pounded and mixed with water to make a deworming and ulcer medication. The bark is used to treat dysentery and malaria; the powered bark can also be used to treat scorpion stings. The fruit's skin is used to treat diarrhea, and in the Philippines the dried skin is burned as a mosquito repellent.
The skin, especially of the langsat variety, can be dried and burned as incense.
The greatest producers of lansium domesticum are Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. The production is mostly for internal consumption, although some is exported to Singapore and Hong Kong.