This is in continuation to my earlier post Pan chewing: Green leaves and crimson lips
The heart shaped dark green leaves that are used in pan chewing come from the vine piper betle (betel plant). They are generally known as betel leaves or pan leaves.
The Sanskrit name for the climber is nagavalli. The word means snake-like vine. It is cultivated in many parts of
The two photos given below show betel leaf cultivation in my village Olavipe.
The young sapling is tied to a stake on which it establishes a grip and climbs as it grows. In another system, the plant is made to climb on coir ropes tied high on a coconut palm. This involves the use of a ladder to puck the leaves.
The propagation is by cuttings from vines which are between 3 to 5 years old. They are planted in specially prepared mulched furrows. Sandy, well drained soil, shade, tropical conditions and good rainfall are ideal for cultivating betel leaves. In most places, watering the plants is required during summer.
The betel plant requires regular supply of good nutrients. Usually, only organic manure is used for betel vines. But some unscrupulous farmers apply chemical fertilizers.
Pan leaf cultivation is ideal for small holders as an inter-crop.