August 23, 2011

Babaco

Common name - Babaco, Mountain Papaya are the few names in which Babaco is known by.

Origin - The babaco is known to have originated in the central south highlands of Ecuador .

Appearance - Babaco is an attractive torpedo shaped fruit with an effervescent flesh hence it is also called the champagne fruit . When sliced crosswise, the facets of this fruit gives a pentagonal outline which gives it the scientific name of Carica pentagona. The texture of this golden fruit is very light and refreshing. The babaco fruit is just like a papaw with a single, knobbly stem dividing into two or more branches at the top. It bears a few large, sparse flowers and lobed leaves which forms on the trunk and branches.

Nutrients in Babaco

Babáco is best eaten raw. It contains three times the amount of papain as in papaya and is considered as an excellent source of vitamin A and C. Our body needs vitamin C which mainly helps to heal wounds and also to maintain healthy gums.


Babaco Facts

1) The capacity of a matured babaco tree is nearly between 38 to 100 fruits per year.
2) Fruits are harvested only when they lose their green colour and turn yellow all over.
3) Babacos require a very warm, humid climate and perfect drainage. They are not tolerant to strong winds and hot dry conditions.
4) All babacos are female and do not require pollination, which means all the fruits are seedless.
5) The babaco plant has an average life span of about eight years.
6) The babaco plant is damaged by air frost, and sometimes will be killed in severe air frosts.
7) Babaco fruits may get damaged easily, hence it should be handled very carefully.

Babaco - disease controller

Babacos are remarkably tough and disease-resistant. They are very susceptible to root rot diseases when they become saturated with water or full of water. Severe root rot diseases in babacos can only be treated by chopping down the plant and either treating the soil with a fungicide or,chopping out the whole root system and leaving the ground empty by without planting any other fruit tree there for at least a year.

Prolonged humidity can also bring on powdery mildew, which coats the leaves in a pale, powdery substance. This can be easily treated with either milk sprays (one part milk to 10 parts water) every 10 days or a commercial brand remedy. Prevention is always better than cure – good drainage, plenty of light, and good air circulation around the plants will prevent the trees from the occurence of such problems. Babacos need humidity to set fruit. Crowding them to together may cause the fungal problems to develop.
Diseases in Babaco

The major pests affecting the babaco fruit and the tree are the

* Two spotted mite - Tetranychus uraticae
* Strawberry mite - Tetranychus atlanticus

Controlling these diseases is very difficult since most miticides are phytotoxic to babaco leaves. Predatory mites may give reasonable control. Slugs and the California brown snail may damage the fruit and must be controlled.