Saturday, December 17, 2005

Variety is the spice of life!!!

This post is probably going to be like a National Geographic post!!! As I had mentioned in my previous post, I had gone to Thekaddy with my parents for a vacation. Being in Kerala, I couldn't come back without spending some time in a spice plantation, could I??!! We had arranged for a guided tour of the spice plantation in that region. We heard that these tours were supposed to be very interesting. And we were not disappointed!

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....

Whats lies inside the cocoa pod. The cocoa beans! The pulp which surrounds them is supposed to be good for cosmetic use... Not bad eh? Chocolate and good looks in the same package!

This plant is seen frequently all over the state. Pepper corn. I tried one. It was not bad. Tastes like pepper (well obviously!!)

I know i know.. bad shot. What was I supposed to do? it was cloudy that day and the flash was not good enough! But anyway.. Presenting... THE NUTMEG!!! (no applause required!)

Here is another familiar and all time favourite plant of many... THE VANILLA PLANT!

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!

Not really a spice plant. I just liked the flowers. They are called "bleeding hearts" (poor things!)

This is also not a spice. Its heliconia. I thought it would make a pretty picture!

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!

This is the cardamom plant (elaichi).

This is a branch full of ripe coffee beans. Looks like someone is going to have a good harvest!

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! ;)


Clueless said...

hey...great great snaps!! wow, ur getting really good at photography! maybe u should consider making it a part-time hobby! loved ALL the pictures, all the depictions and learnt a lot too!! keep up the good work! :)

double head said...

yeah, great snaps, who clicked them any ways. Wanna see daughter-in-laws's tongue? Well atleast some of them have tongue like the one in the same picture, but unfortunately you have cut off that portions. Look in the original picture on the far right hand side. Nice blog, keep blogging!! Use the pics for an assignment in BIODIVERSITY and convince the prof to bring you guys and girls for a trip to GOD's OWN COUNTRY. Gods will feel happy!!!

Smrithi said...

great snaps.. the mother in laws tongue took the cake.. hehe. and that angels trumpets only brings back fond memories.. the mess of a play that we once did.. remember? wher i gez u were the devil???? hahah good ol days..
hav fun

Macho Girl said...

thanks for the compliment! :D

#double head
i think i shud include the daughter-in-law's tongue in the picture.... lemme see if i can get a good and clear picture of that first!

haha.. i remember that play very well. I was supposed to be the devil in it... but i became the wannabe drug addict! Someone stole my role! but i agree with u on the "good ol days" part. Even though we didn't win, we had fun!

H2O said...

Hey...Awesome snaps !! Clueless I agree with you...Aparna you should think of a career in photography!!Keep posting more beautiful snaps...