Mooty is a small tree growing with evergreen foliage. Mootipazham is a rare plant found in the forests of Kerala. It is said that the tree got its name as the tree fruits at the base of the trunk.
The mooti tree is attractive with its beautiful flowers and fruits. By January or February, the trunk of the tree is covered with natural pale red flowers and small clusters of nuts. These turn pale red when ripe. By August, it will be ‘mootil’ (meaning, at the base) fruit season in the forest as most fruits are seen towards the base of the tree.
The fruit, about the size of an Amla. The pulp inside the fruit can be eaten. The taste is a mixture of sweet and sour. Moottypazham will also grow in the countryside. It is also a good shade tree.
Scientific name: Baccaurea courtallensis
Common names: Moottypazham, Mootil Pazham, Mootilthoori, Mootippuli, Mootikaya
Found in the Western Ghats from Coorg to Kuttalam, it is a medium-sized tree up to 15 metres tall. Planting material is the small seeds inside the fruit. These can be sown in sand and planted. Seedlings can be grown by budding and grafting. This tree bears fruit only during the hot summers. It can be grown in any non-waterlogged soil.
Mootilpazham: Male and female plants
Male and female plants exist. A single fruit may have two or three seeds. If three seeds exist, one of them is most likely a female. However, when a random seedling is planted, it may turn out to be a male plant and will not fruit. This issue is best avoided using a grafted plant.
Four varieties of moottypazham were found in their native Western Ghats. The bright red fruit is famous. However, yellowish green, yellow, and peach colours are also found. However, these latter three varieties are rare and found only in the forest interiors.
Nutritional value & Health benefits of Moottypazham
Although it is a wild fruit, mootil pazham is high in nutritional value. More protein than an apple, more vitamin C than a gooseberry, and more carbohydrates than a mango!
Moottypazham is high in protein. The protein percentage in apples is 0.3, and in mangoes it is 0.6. However, in Moottypazham, it is 0.92 percent. Vitamin C is 0.24 percent in mootty fruit compared to 0.3 percent in gooseberries. In terms of carbohydrates, mootty fruit (19.78%), mango (16.8%), and gooseberry (13.7%) The percentage of fibre is as follows: mootty fruit (1.59%) and mango (0.7%).