Monday, July 2, 2007

Mango trees: 'ottu mavu' and 'nattu mavu'

Today I got a reference about ‘nattu (native) mavu (mango tree)’. The mangoes from these are small. There are two types of them. The sour variety is generally used for curries and pickles but there are sweeter types for juice and making a delicacy called ‘thera’. See my post Mango Memories.Add Image

‘Ottu (grafted or budded) mavu’ is not native to the land. Their mangoes are table fruit. Another difference between the two types of trees is that ‘ottu mavu’ is intentionally planted whereas ‘nattu mavu’ grows at random, from discarded nuts.

The photo below is that of an ‘ottu mavu’ in a corner of our front yard. It is an Alfonso. I bought the sapling from the government nursery at Cochin and planted it about fifteen years back. It was a sickly looking tiny plant with one of the two branches already dead. That was the only one available. I had my doubts whether it would survive, but it caught on well probably because of the sandy soil. The brownish leaves on the tree are tender ones. You can see supports to prevent the low branches from touching the ground. Children have a great time climbing the tree. The mangoes are excellent.

Here we have the picture of a ‘nattu mavu’ just outside our gatehouse:

I have no idea how old the tree is. Over a hundred years? That would mean that it has seen six generations in our family – my great-grandfather during his sunset years to my grandson who is just seven. The tree has been like this from the time I can remember except that some of the lower branches were cut off so that they wouldn’t block the road. Look carefully and you can see the stumps. The tree stopped yielding about ten years back, but still seems healthy.

I hope that this grand old lady lives on to witness at least one more generation.


Photos: ©KO Isaac

Click on the images to enlarge.

Also see:

Mango Memories

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