VEGETATION IN THE PHILIPPINES.

MUCH attention has of late been devoted to the Philippines, and as one result considerable interest has been evinced in their natural products. In the matter of vegetation they are highly favored. Fruits grow in great abundance, and the reputation of some of them is already established abroad, as is the case, for example, with the mango. Other fruits grown in the islands are the ate (the cinnamon apple of the French colonists), the mangosteen, the pineapple, the tamarind, the orange, the lemon, the jack, the jujube, the lit-chi (regarded by the Chinese as the king of fruits), the plum, the chicomamey (the sapodilla of the West Indies), the bread fruit, and the papaw. The last named is eaten like a melon, ,and is valued as a digestive; its juice furnishes an extract which is used as a medicament under the name of papaine, or vegetable pepsin. The banana grows abundantly and is a great boon to the poor people, supplying them with a cheap, delicious, and exceedingly nutritive food; there are many varieties, ten of which are in particular highly esteemed.

Plants which are cultivated for industrial purposes include the sugar cane, of which four varieties are grown-yellow cane, Otaheite cane, purple or Batavia cane, and striped cane. Of vegetables there are several pulses used as food by the natives which never appear on the tables of the European settlers. These include the mango, mentioned above, and three or four kinds of beans, such as the butingue, the zabache, the Abra bean, and the Patami bean. These suit the natives much better than the garbanzos, or chick peas, that are so highly prized by the Spaniards. Among the tuberous roots valued as food the sweet potato ranks first, with an annual production of 98,000,000 pounds.

     

The common or white potato, although of inferior quality, stands nextin importance. Then follows the camotengcahoy or manihot (cassava), the root of which is made edible by the removal of its poisonous juice in the same way as in the West Indies. After expression of the juice the pulp forms a sort of coarse-grained flour that is very nutritious, pleasant to the taste and easy to digest. Besides these tubers other plants, such as the ubi, the togui and the gabi, are cultivated in the fields for the sake of their edible roots. Other edible vegetables include calabashes, melons, watermelons, cucumbers, carrots, celery, parsley, tomatoes, egg plants, peppers, capers, cabbages, lettuce, endives, mustard, leeks, onions, asparagus, and peas. Of the cocoa palms the ordinary cocoanut tree is the most important, the oil of which is put to many and varied uses. The bamboo is much valued, the young and tender shoots making a very acceptable article of food, in the form of salads and other dishes, and the fibre is used for numerous purposes. Tobacco as a cultivated crop is generally grown in the same field as maize. Of spices the Philippines grow cinnamon, nutmegs, pepper, ginger, and majoram. Of medicinal plants the most familiar are the papaw, already mentioned, and ipecacuanha.

Among aromatic and ornamental plants may be mentioned magnolias, camellias, clematis, several kinds of roses, dahlias, ylang-ylang, papua, jessamine, and many species of orchids and ferns. These, however, grow wild in such profusion that little care is bestowed upon their cultivation. — Gardener's Magazine.


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