February 16, 2017

Sarawakian Local Delights :Tekalong - a soon to be forgotten wild fruit

Many people who live in the cities and towns of Sarawak may have forgotten about the tekalong fruit. But they may know a lot about terap which has been grown for many decades in kampongs.

The tekalong(some people spell it terkalong)  is not a very favourable fruit but its bark is very useful . However it is a favourite food of the wild boars, which often camp under terkalong trees when they know that more fruits would fall. Hunters use the terkalong fruiting season to plan their hunt.

Its scientific name is Artocarpus elasticus Reinw. ex Blume

Pretty Edas - you can see the horizaontal material is different from the perpendicular material which is rattan. Edas mat is made from tekalong bark and rattan. It is a very intelligent use of forest resources.

Terkalong trees have been roughly cut down to make way for houses because the fruit is not marketable like its cousins the terap or cempedak.

From ancient days the Ibans have many uses for terkalong tree bark. Women would wear a belt or brace made from processed terkalong bark around their waist after childbirth. This would get rid of pregnancy fat and they therefore would have a very flat tummy. Terkalong is also used as a rope for baskets. And the most famous use of terkalong is  as part of a mat called Edas, a pretty mat made from weaving rattan and terkalong strips.

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 Edas can be easily bought at Serikin where Kalimantan Dayaks sell their mats of different types made from rattan, terkalong, and other materials.

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The glue or sticky sap from the terkalong is used for catching birds. In the evenings when birds come out to bath and look for food, the Ibans would plant their stick covered with the terkalong sap in the small streams and wait for the birds to come. Very often a young boy can even get 20 birds stuck to the small sticks. In fact this is the type of fun young Iban boys would have in the olden days. They did not use the catapult like many of the town boys would use.

Today these trees are found where fewer people live or on terrain which are not suitable for development . They are considered rather rare now and soon to be forgotten.


Anonymous said...

Also, the tree are cut down for its inner bark which is used for traditionbal clothing.

Ensurai said...

Yes that is true..

Anonymous said...

Wonder if it can be grafted with domesticated species such as nangka and cemedak as root stock. Similarly, wild sour mango species has been used as root stock for grafted domesticate dmango and also durian musang king is the domesticated duriand grafted onto a wild durian (red durian rootstock.

Ensurai said...

We can always try...before it is too late..thanks for the suggestion.

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