Forestry and Environment Sympoisum 1998, Sri Lanka

Fourth Annual Symposium organized by Department of Forestry and Environment Science, University of Sri Jayewardenapura, Sri Lanka.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION ON TRADITIONAL TAPPING METHODS OF `KITUL' OR THE FISH -TAIL PALM (Caryota urens L.)

K V S Premakumara, J M Senevirathne and W D L Gunaratne
Department of Export Agriculture
Kundasale.


Rural survival depends largely on the wealth of the natural environment. "Kitul" or the Fish-tail palm is one of the important species which has been exploited from the wild by the villagers from the ancient past. Tapping the inflorescence of the Kitul tree for collecting file phloem sap for producing jaggary, treacle and toddy has been generating practices, among the rural folk in some villages particularly those abutting the natural forests. The tapping process makes direct use of the transport mechanism of file tree in which the assimilates are moved to file developing organs. The method of lapping differs from place to place. Usually tappers use plant extracts for seasoning the inflorescence before tapping. The purpose of using these various plant extracts is the arresting of the maturation of the inflorescence and the increasing of the sap flow. The knowledge of these indigenous tapping practices are not being handed down file generations and therefore being gradually lost. This paper presents the results of a preliminary investigation the traditional tapping methods of Kitul by file people in villages abutting in the Sinharaja forest and the Knuckels ranges.

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