Our guide was an educated man, who had a spice shop in town. He must have been a Botany graduate or something. He knew a lot about plants and was pretty up-to-date with everything. When I first entered the spice plantation, I was taken by surprise. I was expecting something like a tea plantation where they would have acres and acres of the same crop. I thought that each spice would be cultivated over a certain allocated area. But I was wrong. This spice plantation that he had taken us to, was just like a little forest, with all the spice plants growing here and there. There was a true variety in this plantation.
As he went on with the tour, telling us about all the spices and how they are harvested and processed, I was stunned by the number of spices that were grown! I know Kerala is famous for its spices... but I never expected this kind of a variety! I had underestimated God's Own Country!
I have a Biodiversity course next semester. I am sure this plantation would make an excellent field trip!! :P Here are a few pictures of some of the plants we had taken there. (finally! something educational on macho's blog!;) )
The chocolate source!! Cocoa!!! Of course, these pods are not quite ready yet for making chocolate....
A rubber tree with a cut to tap the latex oozing out of it. They collect the latex in coconut shells. I don't think the time I went there was the right season to be observing latex collection because of all the heavy rain. But it was quite interesting to learn about it. Reminded me of school!
Coffee beans! My dad calls this picture "The Genesis of the Coffee Bean"! It shows a raw bean, a ripe one and a bean which had been split open (from right to left). The different stages in a Coffee bean's life!
The following two pictures are not spices either. I took them just because I liked their names. Not the botanical names. The common name was pretty amusing for some reason. Especially the plant highlighted in the second picture!
This flower is called an "angel's trumpet". I can see why. I think it is quite apt. (I would have liked a yellow shade instead of the pinkish shade though. Then it would me more or an angel's trumpet!)
And here is my favourite!!! The plant that is shown with the red arrow is called "mother-in-law's tongue"!!!! This was the first time I had heard such a name! I wonder what the daughter-in-law's tongue looks like! ;)