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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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particularly in the upper part, are much smaller than in Amazonas, especially between Obidos and Santarem, and as far as the Tocantins Islands; they also say that these cocoa trees produce less abundant crops, and then they die early. For this reason, cocoa is less cultivated than the cacao, or almond tree, and the land is considered more appropriate for coffee, tobacco and sugar cane. The plantations were done in regular rows, some 15 feet apart between each tree, and were cut to the height of 20 feet. The cleanness of the soil and the fresh, vicious green of the canopies made the view of well-tended cacao everywhere beautiful. Then the trees began to bloom. The fruits, which come next, mature in February and March. There appears in the cultivated trees a second layer of flowers, whose fruits mature in August; the harvest of the cacao trees is done only once in the first months of the new year. It is not uncommon for a good tree to produce from 10 to 12 harvests in its lifetime;

Theobroma cacao, the almond tree

however, it is difficult to determine the normal production per foot; on identical plots, you may find on one foot of land from six to eight pounds of produce, while another foot may produce only one or two pounds. In the years of great flood, the harvest is fuller. Two-year trees already bear fruit. An average annual harvest of 50 arrobas of dried almonds is calculated per thousand trees,. The hard fruits of the almond, similar to small arboras, are split in half, and the almonds are grated in a thick sieve, to separate the sweet juice, contained in its viscous envelopment, and which is appreciated by the Indians as a pleasant drink. In this operation, the Indians continually take some pods in their mouths to suck them. After this preparation, the almonds are dried on mats of tupe (maranta). The fruit of the robust cacao is always heavier and more bitter than that of the meager cacao, which is grown in plantations; not infrequently, their pods are also smaller. On its own plantations, it is sold at $1000. We also found in the same place several Tamarind trees,

Tamarind tree

very tall with dense canopies, which should give a good harvest. It is customary to prepare the pulp of the Tamarind with sugar and use it as lemonade. Urucu, copaiba balm, rubber, cumaru beans (tonca) and pixurim are also shipped from here to Para, but in much more considerable quantities was the trade made with sarsaparilla, and for some time also with cotton and coffee.

Cumaruna odorata, small fava beans

Pixurim, fava beans

The cumaru (Cumaruna odorata, Aubl.) and the pixurim have not yet been cultivated; their fava beans are harvested by the Indians, particularly in the upper Rio Negro, and taken in small quantities to be sold. I was fortunate enough to be able to observe the plants, and so I made sure that the small and large fava beans of the pixurim come from two different trees. Also the vanilla, brought to market

Vanilla planiflora

by the Indians in small sauces wrapped in foil and tied with string, and the fruit of different plants, that await the investigation of future botanists.

Vanilla

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