Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), a tropical fruit native Malaysia. Rambutan belongs to the family Sapindaceae. The hairy fruit, is often red there are also yellow, orange and pink types, Rambutan when peeled open, reveals a sweet, white flesh, clinging to a woody seed. The word rambutan is derived from the Malay word rambut meaning "hair"
It is believed that rambutans are native to Malaysia and Indonesia. The earliest record of rambutan trees show that they were cultivated by the Malayan jungle tribes around their temporary settlements, a practice followed to date. Rambutan trees are today found growing naturally in Southern China, the Indochina region and Australia. With increasing popularity and growing demand for rambutans worldwide, the fruit is presently considered an important agricultural produce.
Rambutan trees are evergreen with a roundish-bushy appearance, growing up to a maximum of 30 m. Rambutan branches are low and wide spread. Rambutan bark is smooth, greyish-brown or reddish-brown. Rambutan leaves are simple pinnate compound, 15 to 40 cm long and arranged alternately. Leaflets are elliptical, blunt and up to eight leaflets are arranged in pairs. Rambutan flowers are greenish-white, small sized, occur in large bunches, have no petals, are mildly fragrant and are either completely male or bisexual. The male flowers occur on different trees. Rambutan flowers have six to eight stamens while the superior ovary has one to two lobes with a single style. Rambutan flowering occurs twice a year. Rambutan fruits are hairy, yellow to crimson, redden as they ripen and grow up to 7 to 5 cm in size. Rambutan seeds are oval, bitter, single, high in fat, narcotic and covered with the white juicy flesh that is eaten as fruit.
The Rambutan fruit is eaten raw, made into jams or is cooked. Rambutan fruit, canned in syrup is directly eaten off the can too. The seeds are sometimes roasted and eaten.
Rambutan pericarp or the fruit walls are high in tannin and saponin are used in Java for various medicinal purposes. A concoction of it is sold by traditional Malay medicine sellers. The Malays use a decoction of Rambutan roots to treat fever. Rambutan bark and the fruits are supposed to have astringent properties. Rambutan bark, made into a decoction, is used to treat tongue diseases. Rambutan fruit is supposed to have anthelmintic properties, helping one eradicate intestinal worms. It is also used in relieving diarrhoea. The leaves are used as poultices to relieve headaches.
Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) - Red
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