What are rare fruits?
Known as buah-buahan nadir in Malay, rare fruits are fruits that are not commercially cultivated. They are difficult to find nowadays. Many of them exist naturally in wild environments. Some of these rare fruits trees are mixed with other fruit trees in orchards. Sometimes, people plant these trees as shade trees around their houses.
Why do we need to plant rare fruit trees?
Rare fruits are important food sources for wild animals. They not only feed the animals in the forest, they also provide food for animals that live in close proximity to humans. Most of the rare fruit trees are native. Therefore, they adapt to local climate and environment. Many of them are used as canopy trees to create shady environment for shade-loving plants. Certain fruit trees such as Petai (Parkia speciosa) and Belinjau (Gnetum gnemon) improve nutrient availability in soil. They work with underground microbes to fix nitrogen. This benefits their neighbouring plants as the plants can use the nutrients in soil. Some rare fruits trees are close relatives of the common fruit trees. They are used as rootstock (lower portion of grafted plant) for disease resistance and fast maturity. These rare fruit trees are genetic reservoir for crop improvement.