Buah Merah | Marita – Pandanus conoideus
Buah Merah, Pandanus conoideus, also known as Red Fruit and, by the Papua New Guineans as the Marita Fruit, is a tropical fruit bearing plant, native to eastern part of the Indonesian Islands, Papua, especially the cool mountain forest regions on 2000-3000 meters above sea level. There are around 30 cultivars but only four have economic value among them Merah panjang (long red).
Pandanus conoideus grows as an evergreen tree shaped plant that it can achieve heights of up to 16 meters. Branching begins at a height of 5 to 8 meters above the ground. The 3 to 3.5 long prop roots grow from and support the stem occupying an area of about 67 cm in diameter. The dark green leaves have a length of 85-100 cm and a width of 6 and 10 cm, ribbon-shaped, pointed and with a small spur on the edge.
The Buah Merah fruit has an elliptic cylindrical shape with blunt rounded tips. It reaches, draped and protected by their carpels, a length of about 50 to 100 cm and has a diameter of 10 to 18 cm. Fruit weight is commonly 2 to 3 kg but sometimes up to 7.5 kg. Mature fruit is light to dark red and shiny.
Buah Merah Fruit
Buah Merah Fruit is generally prepared by splitting it in to portions, wrapping it in leaves, and cooking it in an earth oven. Papua New Guineans call it marita fruit and make a red sauce out of it which they call marita sauce. Marita sauce is a ketchup-like substance which is used to flavor food.
Besides being a good source of nutrients the Buah Merah fruit also contains essential oils, vitamins, minerals and high doses of antioxidant and antiviral compounds. It is known as a traditional medicine and regarded as a sacred plant in Papua.
Buah Merah Propagation Methods
Plant propagation is readily from seed but also from branch cuttings and from shoots that form spontaneously in the axils of lower leaves. Pandanus conoideus is a member of the family Pandanaceae the genus Pandanus.
Buah Merah, Pandanus conoideus
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