Do the words alingaro, bignay, and mangkono ring a bell to you?
These are some of the country’s 25 promising native plants featured in the coffee table book “Sariling Atin“, a publication of the Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI), through its office in Region 4-A (Calabarzon), in partnership with the MoCa Family Farm Learning Center.
The coffee table book, launched at the Teofely Gardens in Silang on Thursday, aims to bring back awareness and appreciation of the country’s native plants, said Rolando Maningas, information chief of DA-ATI 4-A.
“It is the desire of this book to re-introduce some of these native plants, identified for (their) culinary uses, landscape potentials, and timber utilization, to its readers,” Maningas said.
He said priorities in food production changed to products with higher yield, but diversity and sustainability dictate that native plants and fruits should not be ignored.
MoCa Family Farm owner Gigi Morris, who nurtured her interest in native plants, saw the benefits of these plants despite the pressure of the misconception that Philippine native trees have little economic benefit.
Morris said together with other custodian farmers who manage a wide range of native plant production in their own little way, growers, propagators, and promoters of native plants are reaping the benefits of these plants.
She said these benefits include nutritional diversity, food security, income-generating opportunities, ecosystem benefits, and maintenance of cultural identity.
Morris said she hoped the book would lead to the understanding of the economic potentials of native plants.
One of the 25 native plants featured in the book, arranged alphabetically, is the alingaro (scientific name Elaeagnus triflora Roxb, from the Elaegnaceae family), whose fruit has a sweet, tangy flavor and can be used to make an excellent savory sauce or sweet jam.
The fruit of the alupag tree (of the Sapindaceae family) may look warty and has a rough peel but its whitish, semi-transparent flesh, wrapped around a black seed, tastes delicious and juicy.
The book contains photos and general information about the plants and their economic potentials, culinary uses, and tips on propagation. (Gladys Pino)
News source: Philippine News Agency