Sunday, September 26, 2010

Home Island stroll: Anyone for a coconut?

Or perhaps you prefer limes?

I have been a bit spoilt for fruit over here on the Cocos islands but not so with veg - which is surprisingly hard to come by.

Guavas do quite well
as does the Jambon (Bellfruit or Wax Jambu) - which is a type of Syzigium. the fruits are about the size of a medium plum.

Breadfruit is a bit of a winner, seemingly needing no special care and providing fruit ( from a plant grown from a root cutting) in its' second year. The Cocos Malay people have amazing gardens made up of almost totally food plant poly cultures.  However the soils and climate mean that they almost totally focus on a variety of perennial plants rather than annuals.
This photo says it all - food plants, seafood and coconuts. More coconuts below.
They have also worked out  local solutions to problems without imported inputs.
Pure white sand is piled around the banana trunks to deter pests. On home island where this photo was taken there are many magnificent stands of Bananas while on west island i struggled to find any fruiting plants. I think this success is a combination of tried and true techniques and a focus on food plants without the competition from ornamental plants that is an issue on West Island.


  1. I would like to visit this place one day. Interesting I never know we can deter pest by piling sand around the banana trunks. We call jambu wax, jambu air (air meaning water. My parents has several jambu wax trees at the back of their house.

  2. Hi Malay-Kadazan girl,it was a surprise to me to about the sand. I'm still not sure why the Banannas looked so well fed. Is the Jambu called water because of the watery flavour? The Lily Pily that you can grow in Adealide has a similar texture to this one although much smaller and bright pink.