Kottarakkara: Gac fruit, which is a native of Southeast Asia, is the new guest in Kottarakkara. Ripe gac fruit was harvested from the ‘Green Gramam’ orchard of Dr. Harimuraleedharan.

Gac is more commonly cultivated in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. Gac fruit is an inevitable item in the celebration of Tét, the Vietnamese New Year. The fruit is imported to India also but is rarely cultivated here.

Gac fruit is an edible fruit and is also used as a medicine. The dark orange coloured fruit is rich in beta-carotene. They are good for improving vision. Vietnamese people use the gac fruit and leaves for cooking. Gac juice is very popular in foreign countries.

Gac plant looks similar to bitter gourd vine and the fruit is similar to thorn fruit. The plant grows rapidly and its vines cover all other plants close to it. New saplings are produced by sprouting seeds. Flowering period of the plant is during the period from November to February.

The male and female flowers bloom on different plants, so that hand pollination is usually carried out. But Dr. Harimuraleedharan said that the fruit harvested in ‘Green Gramam’ was produced through insect pollination. ‘Green Gramam’ in Kottarakkara is home to multiple varieties of fruits. Many foreign origin fruit plants grow here surviving the weather conditions.