Plant of the month 2012 March

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The plant of the month: Borassus flabellifer

Borassus flabellifer seedlings cut Paris.JPG

I have long been intrigued by this unusual vegetable sold in all the Indian groceries near Gare du Nord in Paris. No book was able to help me identify it, and I could obtain no Indian name, until in a restaurant, they told me that it came from a palm.

Digging into the fabulous encyclopedia The Wealth of India allowed me to find a photo. It was the seedling of Borassus flabellifer, one of the commonest sugar palm. The seed develops this conical organ below ground, before setting any leaf. It seems that seedlings are produced commercially in southern India and Sri-Lanka.

If you know more about cultivation and cooking, please tell us !

Michel Chauvet

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