Simpol, Kecindul, Turalak, Burahol
Kepel is known in Indonesia by many names, but its scientific name is Stelechocarpus burahol. It is a fruit producing tree that grows up to 25 m tall with a trunk of 40 cm in diameter, covered with brown, dark gray or black bark and glossy leaves. It is also planted as an ornamental tree. The tree produces both male and female flowers, with male flowers occurring on the upper trunk and female flowers on the lower trunk. The kepel fruit, also called the kepel apple, is about as large as an adult’s fist, brown in color and containing 4 – 6 seeds. Ripe fruits are collected when they drop from the tree, as the attached, unripe fruits tend to have a bitter or sour taste. Ripe kepel fruits are delicious when consumed fresh and used as an oral deodorant on the island of Java. The fruit is also believed to improve body odor. Medically, the fruit is also considered a diuretic, preventing inflammation of the kidneys, and contains prebiotics beneficial to human health. The trees grow throughout Indonesia but are especially present in Yogyakarta in central southern Java in the area around Yogyakarta Palace, as has been a symbol of the Special Regency of the Province. It has long been connected to local royalty. The tree symbolizes hospitality and is so is often planted at palace gates. A local legend states that a pregnant princess should not consume the fruit, or her fetus will grow vertically like the kepel seed. Aspects of royal life have been made increasingly available to the public since the 1970s, but today some elderly residents mistakenly believe that only the nobility are allowed to plant the tree or consume the fruit. Due to this, the fruit is not found on the market, although it is gathered by some for personal consumption. The trees must be grown from seed and take 6 – 10 years before they begin bearing fruit, which is difficult due to the plant’s hard seed that should be softened before planting. Many are unaware of the culinary and health properties of the fruit, using the tree only for ornamental purposes.