Sunday, 12 October 2008

Tarap - A Unique Bornean Fruit

The tarap is a fruit that Borneans love, well, I don't think I know anyone who grew up here who doesn't like it. However visitors or newcomers to this parts either hate it outright or eventually get used to it and like it! They say it's the smell... not like that of the durian but somewhat strong.
Photo 2: A ripe tarap is easily opened with your bare
hands - the white stuff is the sweet yummy part!

Botanically it is known as Artocarpus odoratissimus and belongs to the Moraceae plant family like its related cousins the Jackfruit or Nangka, Chempadak and Breadfruit.

The tree of the Tarap grows to a height of 20-25m, and is usually grown from seed, fruiting starts when the tree is about 4-5 years old. The flowers, both male and female look like light-bulb-shaped and sized fruits, the male inflorecence drop to the ground soon after releasing pollen while the female heads continue to grow to a large roundish and almost football sized fruit covered with spiny protrubences. The white flesh-covered seeds are attached to a centre core inside the fruit and can be seen (and eaten) when the skin is removed. The flesh is sweet with a strong fragrance.Photos 3 & 4: Tarap infloresence, these are the flowers, the male
head below is about to wither and drop after releasing pollen

The Tarap is widely cultivated in Borneo and many "improved" varieties are known. Although it is also grown in the Philippines where it is called Marang, experts believe that Tarap is native to, and possibly introduced there from Borneo where wild trees are common in the jungle. Whereas in the Philippines the species only exists as cultivated plants and its distribution there limited to Mindoro, Mindanao, Basilan and the Sulu Archipelago. It is also known in Peninsular Malaysia (terap) and southern Thailand in the wild (with inferior fruits) but is not commonly cultivated.

Other names: Timadang (Kadazan/Dusun)