Himbabao

Ark of taste
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Belonging to the same family as mulberry, the Broussonettia luzonica is particularly loved by the indigenous population of Aetas, in the municipality of Porac (province of Pampanga), for its smell and the shade it offers in the summer time, for the edible flowers and leaves and its capacity for purifying the air.

Commonly known as himbabao, the plant, which can reach up to 15 meters in height, used to be planted especially to give shade to abacá plants (Manila hemp). Despite its perfect coexistence with the surrounding environment, nowadays only few specimen survive, growing spontaneously. The wood is used to make paneling, furniture, musical instruments, butcher’s blocks, and ship hulls. The most fibrous trunks are used also in rope production.

The bark, grey and of a diameter of 40 cm, is smooth and the trunk does not bear branches until 6 meters above ground. The leaves, pointy and oval, with a heart-shaped base, are slightly hairy on the bottom and of a very intense green. The flowers are very small and grow on the longest and thinnest branches. They are used for food because of their high vitamin and fiber content, in addition to a mix of proteins of carbohydrates. Usually, they are used to season meat dishes, for example a typical dish made from pork and black beans. The plant also produces a fruit: spherical, lumpy and green, which matures between April and June.

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Other info

Categories

Vegetables and vegetable preserves

Indigenous community:Aetas
Nominated by:Convivium Puso Nato sa Sugbo