Red Fruit and the History of Pandan Kingdom on Yapen Island, Papua

goodmorningpapua.com – Papuan people call Buah Merah (Pandanus conoideus) as the Tawi fruit, Sauk Ekendi or Kuansu. The pandanus plants grow in clusters on the plains 40 to two thousand meters above sea level.

To grow perfectly, the red fruit needs air temperatures below 17 degrees Celsius. Rainfall averages 186 mm per month, sunshine 57 percent and air pressure averages 896 mb. The Red Fruit Tree can grow as high as 16 meters. The length of the fruit reaches 55 cm. diameter 10-15 cm, and weight 2-3 kg. When it is ripe,  the colour is bright maroon. There is also this type of plant that has brown and yellowish brown colors.

The greatness of the red fruit became famous after a researcher from the University of Cenderawasih, Drs. I Made Budi MSi, discovered the medicinal properties and extraordinary nutritional content in the fruit, at the end of 2004.

Made Budi, who is a nutritionist, observed the habits of traditional communities in Wamena, Timika and villages in the mountainous region of Jayawijaya. They usually eat red fruit as a cure for worms, blindness, and skin diseases.

In his opinion, this fruit contains natural substances that enhance the immune system and metabolic processes. Among them are carotenoids, beta-carotene, alpha tocopherol and other substances that become anti-free radical compounds that control various diseases such as cancer, hypertension, lungs and infections.

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The natives, usually remove the pith (the innermost part of the stem) using a cassowary thigh bone instead of a machete. The red fruit flesh is cut into pieces, boiled and processed into oil. One red fruit weighing 2-3 kg, produces 75-300 ml of oil.

On October 6, 2006, a small party was held on Yapen Island, Papua. Two researchers from LIPI, Ary P. Keim and Y. Purwanto discovered the Pandan kingdom in the forest on the island which is surrounded by Cenderawasih Bay.

The discovery was claimed to end the research of Odoardo Beccari, an Italian botanist who had researched pandanus plants in Papua, 131 years earlier.

Some of these plants, allegedly contain properties as great as red fruit. The Pandan is a yellow fruit Pandan. The Serui people call it Awone Mangkaki and pandanus abo which are red and yellow.

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