Ark of taste
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The Lipote tree, scientifically known as Syzygium polycephaloides or Syzygium curranii, is an evergreen fruit-bearing tree belonging to the family of Myrtaceae and it’s indigenous to the Philippines. It’s known by many other local names besides lipote, as Bahag, Baligang or Igot.
It’s a small to medium-size tree with alternate, oblong-lanceolate leaves and white flowers. It’s a quite rare plant which can be found at the primary forests at low to medium elevations. Only occasionally it’s cultivated for its edible fruit, but mostly this fruit is harvested in the wild. Most of the trees are in Luzon (Cagayan, Laguna, Camarines, Albay, Sorsogon, Mindoro), Leyte and Samar.
The ripe fruits are in compact clusters of fifty or more fruits in each one. They are red to dark purple, small and round (1-2.5 cm diameter) and they’re a good source of vitamin C. Their taste is crisp yet dry and with a mild sour flavor.
The fruits are eaten fresh, by local people, with salt or sugar. Sometimes it’s eaten cooked made into jellies and jams. It’s also used in making preserves, juice and wine. Furthermore, the Lipote was reported to have medicinal properties. For that reason, local folks use it to cure diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The Ifugaos also use the fruit for treating coughs.
Even while it seems to be found useful for its nutritional value among the locals, Lipote is now rarely found in its natural habitat. It might be the immediate need of the wood the reason for its decrease. Indeed, the plant is maintained when it grows accidentally, but there is no conscious effort to cultivate it normally. For this reason, it should be protected and maintained for its fruits.

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Other info


Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Indigenous community:Ifugaos
Nominated by:Aurora Esther B. Perez