Synonyms: Ficus auriculata, Ficus macrophylla.
Common name: Elephant ear fig tree.
ocal Names: Taryambal (तर्याम्बल), Timbal, Tremal, Trembal, Taryambalu.
Taryambal is a very commonly growing tree in the mid-hills of Himachal upto an elevation of 1700 m. Its trees can be seen growing wild in forests, village common lands, cultivated fields, grasslands etc. This tree grows as a single tree and not in group. Taryambal is a vigorous tree and can become quite large if the soil contains plenty of organic matter and there is also water source nearby.
Taryambal is a multipurpose tree. The main produce is fruit which when unripe, is cooked as a vegetable. The ripe fruits, though not much sweet, are very much liked for the jelly like substance contained in them. These are fondly eaten by all.
The large leaves of this tree are used as leaf plates for serving food in village community functions. For this 3-4 leaves are just stitched together with pins made from bamboos. The leaves are also fed to cattle.
A deciduous woody tree, having a short trunk, which soon divides into a few stout laterals, which further branch irregularly, spreading in all directions; height10-12 m, bark smooth, gray, with a tinge of yellow or green..
Leaves exstipulate, petiolate, each having a 8.5 cm-long petiole, deciduous, obtuse, cordate, entire to undulate, alternate, 21.5 cm long, 23.5 cm. broad, having reticulate venation.
Flowers unisexual; inflorescence hypanthodium, both the male and female flowers borne on the fleshy receptacle, male flowers, 4 mm long, the female flowers 6 mm long, calyx and the corolla, modified into threadlike scales, stamens very small, about 2 mm long; style long, deeply two-branched; ovary, single, ovoid.
Flowering begins from the first week of March and continues till the end of April.
Fruit a syconoid, globose, having a 4.5 cm long stalk, 4.5 cm in diameter, 30.5 g in weight, 30.1 ml in volume; the apical opening of the fruit guarded by scales; mature fruits yellowish to purple; pulp, light red.
The fruit is, in fact, a fleshy receptacle, enclosing a number of true fruits or achenes, which develop from the female flowers lying within this receptacle.
The fruits start ripening in the first week of June and continue till July end.
Seeds, numerous, very small, eaten along with the fruits.
The raw fruits are used as vegetable. A preparation from newly emerged tender leaves called patrodu (पत्रोडू) in local dialect is also popular among people.
Preparing taryambal vegetable:
Taryambal fruits cut into four pieces,1 kg; mustard oil, 3-4 table spoons; coriander powder, ½ table spoon; fenugreek powder,1 tea spoon; cumin seed, 1 table spoon turmeric powder, 1 table spoon; red chilies, 2-4, medium sized chopped onion, 1; chopped garlic cloves, 4-5; tomato puree half cup; salt, according to taste.
Boil fruits till they become soft and let them cool. Then mesh fruits manually and sauté in hot oil by adding spices mentioned above in the same sequence. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes and then the vegetable is ready to serve. It is usually served with chapatis. To serve with rice add 4-5 cup amount curd or butter milk and cook for another 10-12 minutes. Garnish with Garam masala,chopped coriander leaves and serve.
Newly emerged tender leaves,15-20; besan (black gram flour) or corn flour, 250 gm; fresh coriander leaves (chopped), 1 cup; green chillies, 3-5; turmeric powder, ½ table spoon; medium sized chopped onions, 2-3; chopped bhavri (Ocimum bacillus) leaves, 1 cup: salt, according to taste.
Make paste of spices and besan (or corn flour) by mixing together. Take one leaf and keeping its lower side upward apply this paste over it then cover this leaf with another leaf in reverse order and again put paste over it. Repeat this process for 4-6 leaves and fold side of the leaves inwards and roll like bedding. Tie it with thread or wrap inside by large turmeric leaf to make it one piece.
Take a big pan and put some water in it. Place small sticks of wood to make a rack over the water. Place the leaf rolls on this rack and steam cook for for 15 to 20 minutes. Take out the rolls and let them cool down. Then cut these into small slices.
These slices may then be shallow or deep fried according to one’s taste and served as snack with tea or eaten as vegetable.
The ripe fruits are eaten just out of hand. These taste fairly sweet. The fruits are filled with an attractive jelly-like substance, which is much sweeter than the pulp. The absence of acidity, however, makes it slightly flat in taste. The overall fruit quality is good.
It is better to wash or clean the fruits before eating. The surface of fruits is not smooth and there catches fine atmospheric dust. So, it is better to wash them.
Food value of only ripe fruits is available. These contain 87.1 per cent moisture and 7.5 per cent total soluble solids. The total soluble solids of the sweet jelly-like substance, however, are 9.9 per cent. The fruit is almost devoid of acidity; the total sugars are 6.15 per cent; the reducing sugars are 6.12 per cent; the non-reducing sugars are 0.03 per cent and pectin is 0.48 per cent. The vitamin C content of the fruit is only 3.35 mg per 100 g and this content is rather very low.
The protein content of the fruit is 0.59 per cent. The fully ripe fruit contains 1.068 per cent total minerals, as represented by its ash. The percentage content of some of the mineral elements in the fruit, viz., phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron is, 0.039, 0.331, 0.039, 0.045 and 0.003 respectively 1 .
Seek advice from a professional before using this plant medicinally.
The latex from the stems is applied to cuts and wounds and fruits are effective in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery.
As stated already, taryambal is a multipurpose tree serving as a source of food, fodder, fuel wood, household items and medicine
Tree is lopped for fodder during the winter season. Its leaves are very much liked by cattle. The leaves are also used as plates by stitching 3-4 leaves together for taking food during feasts in the villages, these plate are used especially when leaf plate of Bauhinia vahlii are not available and social gathering are small . Leaf are also used to prepare bowl locally called as doonu used during worshiping.
These traditional practices are in sharp decline due to easy availability of plastic plates. Need of hour is to promote and revive these ecofriendly social practices for healthy environment.
Twigs or branches left after cattle feeding are dried and used as a fuel.
The possibility of jam-making from this fruit should also be explored.
- Parmar, C. and M.K. Kaushal (1982), Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region, Kalyani Publishers, Ludhiana.