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BREAKING NEWS! TheRainforest.com proudly presents an entirely plausible solution to rainforest destruction: BREAKING NEWS!

 

If you can only help save one tree this season…

If you can only plant one plant this year...

If you really want to help protect the rainforest…

 

Then it's time you learned about Ramón!

 

Ramón -- known to the Mayans as "Iximché"…

The "Corn-tree" or "Breadnut tree" -- a beautiful rainforest emergent that towers over the temples and pyramids of Tikal and Uaxactun, verdant home of Toucans and Howler Monkeys, sacred foundation of Mayan civilization, provider of high protein seeds for food and fodder for people and wildlife, nutrient rich leaves and branchlets for livestock and domestic animals,  sweet fruit pulp for jellies and jams, farmacopia for medicinal resins, source of a delicious nutritious flour for tasty tortillas, tamales, breads, cakes and cookies,  and a "sabroso" caffeine-free coffee

All this from one plant?  Sound to good to be true?

Through our research we have come to realize that  the Ramón tree could be THE KEYSTONE SOLUTION for mitigating and even ending deforestation due to cattle grazing and improperly managed slash and burn (swidden) techniques of shifting cultivation

We have witnessed its promise as a fundamental resource for alleviating hunger, malnutrition, poverty and the attendant suffering that comes from deforestation-induced soil erosion, water and air contamination, loss of wildlife biodiversity and climate change.

And we'd like you to know about it too!

The Vision:

Imagine yourself in a beautiful, hyperspeciated, unimaginably complex rainforest,  filled to the last niche with widly different, colorful, cacophonous and astonishing  life-forms.  As you walk between the giant, venerable Ramón trees, Cedar trees, and Ceiba trees and amongst hundreds of other different kinds of trees, shrubs, lianas and herbs, you practically trip over a myriad of ground dwelling mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds, whilst above you spider monkeys swing like a troop of Tarzans,  howler monkeys bellow their lugubrious territorial announcements and Toucans play with Oropendulas amidst a shower of falling fruit.   You think you have stumbled into some primeval, Edenic jungle... until you come upon magnificent human structures carved from stone, built from wood and woven from thatch, and meet a vibrant community of farmers, scientists, engineers, artists, teachers and students.  And suddenly you realize that you are not in some "wilderness jungle",  you are in a highly complex "ranch-forest" -- a sophisticated agro-forestry plantation that maximizes yields of food and forest products without damaging its resource base.  Your hosts invite you to sit down to a meal of tasty Ramón tortillas wrapped around delicious cuts of Tepescuintle meat, or, for the vegetarians among you,  a splendid spinachy mixture of local herbs, tender shoots and leaves, sprinkled with tasty mushrooms.  You drink the splendid Ramón coffee and the rich, Ramón atol and delight to a dessert mix of over 15 different kinds of fruit.

Unlike the "living museums" or "archeological mausoleums" you are used to from visiting Tikal, Uaxactun or the other "Ecotourism" sites, you find yourself in the presence of living, breathing, innoventive Mayans who are studying astronomy, pluriculture, agronomy, mathematics, biology, chemistry  and physics. You learn that you are in an autonomous community that provides not only its own food, but its own power and its own textile fibers as well -- all from agroforestry resources on-site or from the rain, the wind, the rivers, the lakes and the sun.  And they are inviting you to stay a while and learn with them how easy it is to create communities that are at once beautiful, functional, efficient, productive and sustainable.  You think you've found Eutopia.  Your hosts just call it common sense. 

We call it  the "Iximché Agrotourism Institute of Macanché" and working with Pedro Gonzalez Cuc Garcia  and his staff at the Flores INGUAT office (Guatemalan Tourism Agency) we have begun phase one of the construction of this foray into true sustainable development. 

Don Pedro Cuc is a proud full-blood Quiché Mayan who has struggled for almost 50 years to realize his vision of a better future for his beloved Guatemala.  With our support, and the support of the world community, Señor Cuc is on the verge of seeing the plans he has drawn and designed all these years become a reality.  The Iximché Agrotourism Institute, based on the fundamental Mayan cultivation of Iximché, the Ramón tree, is finally getting off his drawing board and onto the ground by a beautiful tropical lagoon in the hills of Macanché.

Captain Cuc's Vision-turned-Reality:

Pedro Cuc's  plan?  In the Macanché region of the Petén, Guatemala, we are working with villagers to transform a five-hectare pasture/corn-field that was once a mighty Mayan rainforest silvaculture site into a demonstration "ranch-forest" (agroforestry plantation) with Ramón as the dominant tree species. The forest here was devastated by campesinos who didn't have the means or knowledge to employ sustainable farming practices -- they were moved here by the government to alleviate population pressure further south or fled here from violent conflicts in the rest of the country and in Mexico, and they tried to make a living by growing corn and "rainforest beef".  Neither are appropriate for this region of extraordinary biodiversity but nutrient poor soils. They cut and burned the forest and planted their corn and ran their cattle.  After a few years the fertility of the area gave out and the farmers had to move on, ever onward, destroying yet another area of rain forest. 

With Pedro's leadership and the community's expertise and   guidance, we are currently nursing 10,000 Ramón seedlings and 5,000 seedlings of other valuable and nutritious standing tree crops (sericote, jocote, chicozapote, cacao, ceiba, cedro, aguacate, guama, capulín, chontaduro, and  corozo palms -- to name just a few of the  many other indigenous plants of socioeconomic/ecologic value that we are using).  These seedlings (called "viveros") will be available for eventual planting on the site and elsewhere (we plan to distribute them to neighboring farmers to help them reclaim their ruined land).  We estimate a mean density of 100 - 125 Ramón trees per hectare, interplanted with up to 100 other kinds of trees in this pluricultural plantation. 

Since Ramón trees don't begin producing fruit for about 6 years, the fields will grow in transition phases, producing light-tolerant vegetables and fast growing plants of nutritional and economic value until the Ramón forest canopy begins to shade them out.  This is the managed fallow system used by the ancient Mayans, now used by us for this reforestation initiative.

Within the "ranch-forest", native animals of economic value will also be introduced to be harvested at sustainable-yield levels.  Our working plan includes the nocturnal Tepescuintle (Agouti paca - a favorite dish of Peténeros and my fave too!), the diurnal Guatusa (Dasyprocta punctata), Venado (Odocoileus virginianus) and Venado Colorado (Mazama americana), Coche de monte (Tayassu pecari) and Saíno (Tayassu tajacu), Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) and Pava Cojolita (Penelope purpurascens).  All of this animals form part of a nutritious Mayan diet, but they are becoming rare and threatened by habitat loss. 

In our ranch-forest concept, grassland pastures tenuously supporting destructive European and Middle Eastern Animals such as Cattle, Horses, Pigs, and Mules, are replaced with fodder and fruit producing "tree pastures" that sustainably provide food and forage for indigenous animals that have low-fat, high nutrition food value and do not exhaust the natural resources of the environment.    The need to cut and burn more forest to provide more pasture diminishes; instead, an incentive is created to plant yet more "ranch-forest" to encourage higher animal fecundity and "more meat on the hoof". 

The rain-forest ranch-forest, rather than negatively impacting other wildlife, acts as a nature preserve, supporting myriad species of    birds, monkeys and other mammals (in particular the gravely endangered Danta -- Tapirus bairdii).  These animals, once plentiful, are currently under seige.   When a "milpa" (corn field) or pasture is converted into  a Ramón forest, arboreal animals can feed on the fruit husk and pulp of the tree; browsers and grazers can feed on the fallen or harvested leaves; the seed that drops to the ground is harvested by human beings and is then  processed into flour and/or animal fodder. It is definitely a win-win.

Our experimental five-hectare ranch-forest draws on the principles of bio-intensive, well-planned, efficiency-zoned "permanent agriculture" developed by Bill Mollison, the Australian visionary-practitioner who started the "Permaculture movement".  Besides providing sustainable food self-sufficiency for the local community, it will feature an area that demonstrates   integrated intermediate technology systems.   Independent renewable energy production will be achieved using bio-gas and other biomass fuel resources (ethanol, methanol, and methane) as well as micro-hydro-electric, wind-powered-electric and photo-voltaic systems.

The promise of "Agro-Tourism".

The  "integrated human habitat" zone in our Ranch Forest will include our "School for Agro-tourism", one of the first of its kind.  The Agro-Tourism School  is  a place where students from all over the world -- and most especially local immigrant campesinos who are struggling to eke a day to day living out of the Petén's diminishing forests -- can come and learn sustainable ways of managing forested land so as to acheive high, permanent yields without damaging their environment or endangering their biodiversity.

Unlike "Eco-tourism", which engenders a "look but don't touch" attitude toward "nature" (which we consider an often dangerous social construct), the concept of "Agro-tourism" which we have developed encourages people to consider themselves a part of the natural ecosystem and challenges them to work with it and within it to achieve a life-style that will endure for generations to come.  Also, unlike "Eco-tourism", which is the province of the leisure class,  "Agro-tourism" satisfies the needs of all people, enabling visitors and residents to share information on an equal basis, helping people work together toward common solutions to common problems.  In agro-tourism (as we have conceived it) there will be no artificial division between "haves" and "have-nots" and local people will not be forced to become a "service class", catering to the needs and whims of vacationers who  come to Guatemala to satisfy their idiosyncratic romantic notions of "nature", "undeveloped areas" and "third world countries".

   In agrotourism, Peteneros will be able to receive their foreign guests with pride, knowing these visitors have come to learn from the particular expertise of the local silvaculturalist and, indeed, from over 3,000 years of accumulated Mayan knowledge and experience.  The agro-silvo-pastoral systems demonstrated at the school will hopefully not only change the practices of Guatemalan immigrant farmers, but hopefully all those mono-culturalists whose inappropriate practices have been the source of so much damage and suffering  in the tropics and sub-tropics.   The ultimate goal is to encourage people to rethink the artificial separation between "Man" and "Nature" and demonstrate conclusively that Homo sapiens and the other wildlife with whom we share this planet need not be at  odds.    The principles of permaculture, applied on a foundation of Mayan indigenous practice,  using indigenous flora and fauna with a maximum level of biodiversity, can go a long way toward solving the "development of underdevelopment" paradox.  

 

And it all starts with the sacred "Iximché", the "Corn-Tree" or "Bread-Nut Tree" of the ancient Mayans, now known as "Ramón."

Don't believe us?

Read on…

(Want to help? Click here for more info on what YOU can do…)

(In early July of 1999 we discovered the following obscure report in a musty Ministry of Agriculture Pamphlet that was buried amongst a stack of women's magazines in a used book shop in Zona 1, the red-light district of Guatemala City...

The rest is history...)

Conozcamos el Ramón

Getting to Know the Breadnut Tree

(Brosimum alicastrum Sw; Moraceae) Iximché, Pay yosh, Breadnut tree.

Drought tolerant, leaves for fodder,  edible fruit, high protein edible nut, raw or cooked, myriad products with high potential,  medicinal uses, soil stabilizer, carbon sequestration, climate stabilization, wildlife habitat

Report by Alfredo R. Guzman V.; Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganaderia y Alimentacion, Unidad De Comunicacion Social, Guatemala, C.A. 1986

(English Translation: T.H. Culhane)

VISION HISTORICA

HISTORICAL VISION:

El Ramón fue para los Mayas del período clásico, uno de sus alimentos primordiales y básicos para su subsistencia, como también lo fue el maíz.

To the Mayans of the Classical Period, the Breadnut Tree was one of the earliest and most basic foods used, eaten for subsistence in the same manner in which they used corn.

La prueba la tenemos al visitar los centros arqueólogicos de El Petén en donde a sus alrededores, en un perímetro bastante prudencial, se encuentran árboles de Ramón. Estos se pueden ver cerca de las ruinas o hasta encima de ellas.

The evidence for this comes from visits to the archeological centers in the Peten where we find growing in the verdant surroundings, in a well defined perimeter, galleries of Ramon trees. These trees can be seen near the ancient ruins and even almost on top of them.

El Maya clásico practicó cultivos intensivos del Ramón y, probablemente, otros productos agrícola asociados con sus áreas residenciales. El maíz aúnque era comestible, muy deseable y de gran importancia ceremonial, en realidad pudo haber sido un parte menor en la dieta de la mayoría de la población de esta región.

The classical Mayans practiced intensive cultivation of the Ramon tree and probably other agricultural products asociated with their residential areas. Maiz (Corn), although it was edible, very desirable and held great ceremonial importance, in reality could have played a minor part in the diet of the majority of the population in this region.

Hace más de 30 años, científicos como Cyrus Lundell, J. Eric Thompson y O.F. Cook comenzaron a darse cuenta de las concentraciones de este árbol alrededor de las ruinas de muchos sitios Mayas, en las tierras bajas. Esta distribución tan llamativa, surgirió al Dr. Lundell que los árboles eran vestigios de un cultivo Maya, observando que la fruta de este árbol produce un carbohidrato denso, frecuentemente usado por el Maya actual, cuando hay escasez de alimentos.

More than 30 years ago, scientists such as Cyrus Lundell, J. Eric Thompson and O.F. Cook began to notice that there were huge concentrations of this tree around the ruins of many Mayan sites in the lowlands. This rather auspicious distribution of Ramon suggested to Dr. Lundell that the trees were vestiges of a Mayan plantation, observing that the fruit from this tree produces a dense carbohydrate that is frequently used by the Mayans of today when there is a shortage of other foods.

El técnico del instituto de Antropología e Historia, Miguel Orrego Corzo, especialista del Proyecto Tikal, nos cuenta que cuando se encuentran árboles de Ramón en El Petén es indicio de que algún sitio arqueológico está cerca.

The technician at the Institute of Anthropology and History, Miguel Orrego Corzo, a specialist in "Project Tikal", tells us that whenever we encounter Ramon trees in The Peten, it is an indication that some archeological site is nearby.

Probablemente, este fruto maravillose, esté explotándose en México como un elemento más en la nutrición del pueblo.

It is quite probable therefore that this marvelous fruit is also being exploited in Mexico as yet one more element in the nutrition of the people.

El eminente estudióso de la cultura Maya Silvanus G. Morley nos dice acerca del Ramón:

"El Ramón es un árbol que crece en la Península de Yucatán y es muy común en el monte alto que rodea a las ruinas de las poblaciones antiguas, lo mismo que el Chicozapote (Achras zapota L.). La abundancia del Ramón y el Chicozapote en los lugares vecinos a los antiguos centros de población Maya, es una fuerte indicación de que los Mayas antiguos sembraron esta clase de árbol en la periferias de sus pueblos, como lo hacen todavía sus descendientes. Las hojas del Ramón son el forraje principal de las mulas y caballos de la península de Yucatán. La corteza del fruto es dulce y comestible, las semillas hervidas se comen también como legumbre o en forma de harina, moliéndolas cuando están secas."

The eminent student of the Mayan culture Silvanus G. Morley tells us the following about the Ramon tree:

"Ramon is a tree that grows in the Yucatan Peninsula and is very common in the high mountains that surround the ruins of the ancient population, similar in concentration and distribution to Chicozapote (Achras zapota, L.). The abundance of Ramon and Chicozapote in the neighborhood of the ancient Mayan population centers is a strong indication that the Mayans of old sowed this type of tree in the periferies of their cities, as their descendents continue to do today. The leaves of Ramon are the principal forage of mules and horses in the Yucatan peninsula. The rind of the fruit is sweet and edible; the boiled seeds are also eaten as a vegetable or in the form of flour, ground and milled when they are dry."

Esto nos demuestra una vez más que el Ramón sirvió como producto básico para la alimentación Maya y es, a la vez, un cultivo milenario. Si los Mayas de ayer lo consumieron y los de hoy lo consumen, ¿Por qué nosotros no nos decidimos a hacerlo?

This shows us yet again that Ramon served as a basic food product in the cuisine of the Mayans and is, at the same time, a cultivar whose continuous use stretches back for millenia. If the Mayans of yesterday were consumers of this food, and the Mayans of today are consumers of this food, why have we not yet decided to use it?

INTRODUCCION

INTRODUCTION

El Brosimum alicastrum Swartz, es un árbol poco conocido, explotado y casi ignorado por la mayoría de profesionales que se dedican al estudió de las plantas; produce un fruto comúnmente conocido en El Petén con el nombre de Ramón y, en el sur de México, como Ujuxte e historicamente como Iximché (Árbol de Maíz).

Brosimum alicastrum Swartz is a tree that is hardly known  or exploited and has been  practically ignored by the majority of professionales who dedicate themselves to the study of plants; it produces a fruit commonly known in The Peten under the name "Ramon" and, in the south of Mexico, as "Ujuxte". Historically is was known as "Iximche" (the Corn Tree).

Pertenece a la gran familia de las moráceas, dentro del fruto encontramos semillas comestibles, usadas por nuestros ancestros Mayas, como alimento básico y de primera importancia. El Ramón segrega, por incisión, látex en abundancia, que ha sido comercializado como leche vegetal por la farmacopea; su follaje ha sido usado como excelente forraje para el ganado, según pruebas recientes de palatabilidad hechas en el estado de Barinas, Venezuela . Se efectuaron experimentos con ganado vacuno de esta región, logrando un éxito total al ser aceptado al cien por ciento por el ganado, deduciendo una buena palatibilidad para éstos. Se obtuvo también una buena calidad y sabor de la leche del ganado lechero sometido a este experimento.

Ramon belongs to the large botanical family known as the "Moraceae"; inside its fruit we find edible seeds, used by our Mayan ancestors as a basic food source of primary importance. When an incision is made in the bark, Ramon secretes an abundant latex which has been commercialized as a "vegetable milk" by pharmaceutical companies; the foliage of this tree has been used as an excellent forage for livestock, according to recent palatability tests run in the state of Barinas, Venezuela. In this region, studies were done using cattle – these demonstrated total success in acceptance of the forage by the livestock; it was thus deduced that Ramon has a high palatability index for these animals.

Sus hojas tiernas se pueden consumir como lo hacemos con la espinaca, macuy y bledo.

The young leaves of the tree can be consumed exactly as we do spinach, macuy and amaranth.

Su semilla, convertida en harina, es usada ya sea en combinación o sola para fabricar tortillas y pan.

The seed, converted into flour, is used both in in combination with other flours or by itself to make tortillas and bread.

Las semillas del Ramón son bastante utilizadas en la región de El Petén, cuando la cosecha de maíz no es suficiente.

The seeds of Ramon are used a lot in the Peten region whenever the corn harvest is not sufficient or there is crop failure.

La posibilidad de aprovechar el Ramón para convertir la energía solar en alimento, en combinación con el poco esfuerzo requerido para su manejo y cosecha, fue el factor determinante para el éxito y vitalidad de la civilización Maya en el período clásico.

The possibility of harnessing the power of Ramon to convert solar energy into food, in combination with the minimal labor investment required to manage and harvest this food supply, was the determinant factor in the success and vitality of the Mayan civilization in the classical period.

DESCRIPCION BOTANICA

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION

 

Nombres comunes: Ramón, Ujuxte, Iximché, Capomo, Másico (Ox en Maya).

Common names: Ramon, Ujuxte, Iximché, Capomo, Masico (Ox in Mayan)

Nombre científico: Brosimum alicastrum Swartz.

Scientific name: Brosimum alicastrum Swartz. (Moraceae)

Es un árbol muy variable en cuanto a su crecimiento, llegando a medir hasta 30 metros de alto, su tronco es derecho, generalmente con gambas bien formadas, sus ramás son ascendenes, de las cuales cuelgan sus frutos, la copa tiene forma piramidal y muy espesa.

The Ramon is a very variable tree when we consider its growth characteristics, reaching an average of 30 meters (99 feet) in height; its trunk is straight, generally with well formed buttresses. The branches are ascendant and from them hang the fruits. The canopy has the form of a very thick pyramid.

Corteza

Bark

Exteriormente se presenta lisa y, frecuentemente, escamosa en piezas grandes, su color es gris pardo. En su lado interior es de un color cream amarillento, fibrosa o granulosa, con abundante secrecion de látex, de sabor ligeramente dulce.

The exterior of the tree is smooth and frequently is covered with large plate-like scales. The color is a cloudy grey. The underside is a creamy yellow color, fibrous and grainy, which secretes an abundant latex having a slightly sweet flavor.

Ramás

Branches

Ligeramente ovaladas, con cicatrices de estípulas caídas, verde-grisáceas a glabras, numerosas lenticelas pequeñas, redondas, protuberantes y pardas.

The branches are slightly oval, with scars from the fallen stipules. They have a grey-green color and are hairless (glabrous), with numerous small lenticels that are round, portrude from the branch and have a dull appearance.

Hojas

Leaves

Simples, elípticas, de 7 a 14 centímetros de largo, coráceas, glabras o con pubescencia serícea, de color verde brillante; estípulas laterales hasta amplexicantes, libres ocannadas.

Simple, eliptical, from 7 to 14 centimeters long, leathery, glabrous or with very fine silky hairs. The color is a brilliant green with lateral stipules.

Yemás

Buds

Llegan a medir hasta un centímetro, son agudas, cubiertas por un estípula de color verde, glabras;; una estípula para cada hoja hasta de un centímetro de largo, verde, glabra, caediza, dejando una cicatriz anular. Hojas alternas simples, láminas de 4 x 2 a 18 x 17.5 centímetros, ovado-lanceoladas a ovado-elípticas, con el margen entero, ápice agudo a notablement acuminado, especialmente en las hojas jóvenes. Base obtusa hasta aguda; verdes oscuras y brillantes en el haz, verdes grisáceas y blanquizcas en el envés por la presencia de numerosas escamás blancas entre el tejido de las nervaduras glabras en ambas superficies; pecíolos de 2 a 12 milímetros de largo, glabros.

Buds grow up to a centimeter, are pointed and covered with a green glabrous stipule; there is a stipule for each leaf up to a centimeter in length, green, glabrous, ready to fall, leaving an annular scar. The leaves are simple alternate with blades from 4 x 2 to 18 x 17.5 centimeters, oval-lanceolate to oval-elliptical, with a complete margin and a needle-like apex notably acute, especially in the young leaves. The base is obtuse to acute, dark green and brilliant in a bunch, gray green or whitish on the underside due to the presence of numerous white scales between a glabrous web of veins that is evident on both sides of the leaf. Pedicels are glabrous from 2 to 12 millimeters in length.

Flores

Flowers

Especie monoica. Flores en cabezuelas axilares de un centímetro de diámetro, pedúnculos de 1 a 5 milímetros de largo, glabros; cada cabezuela verdosa consiste en muchas flores másculinas y una sola flor femenina, la superficie de la cabezuela está cubierta por numerosas escamás peltadas persistentes en el fruto; las flores másculinas consisten en un perianto rudimentario y un sólo estambre de 1.5 a 2 milímetros de largo con la antera prada y peltada; la flor femenina está hundida en la cabezuela, con el estilo exserto y está formado por un perianto hinchado de un milímetro de largo, unido con el ovario y rodeando íntimamente el estilo. Ovario ínfero con un sólo lóculo, uniovular. Estilo de 2 a 3 milímetros de largo, proyectándose fuera del receptáculo, terminando en dos lóbulos estigmáticos recorvados. Florece principalmente de noviembre a febrero.

Ramon’s flowers are monoecious. The flowers grow in little axial heads approximately a centimeter in diameter, with pedicels from 1 to 5 millimeters in length, glabrous; each green flowerhead consists of many male flowers and a single female flower. The outside of the flowerhead is covered with numerous persistent, hairy scales that stay persistent in the fruit. The male flowers consist of a rudimentary perianth and a single stamen from 1.5 to 2 millimeters in length with an anther PRADA and hairy; the female flower is hidden in the flower head with its style extruding and is formed by a enclosed perianth of a millimeter in length, united with the ovary and intimately surrounding the style. The ovary contains a single locule and is uniovular. The style is between 2 and 3 millimeters long, projecting outiside the receptacle and ending in two curved stigmatic lobes. Ramon flowers principally from November to February.

Frutos

Fruit

Son de color verde-amarillento o anaranjado. Bayas de 2 a 2.5 centímetros de diámetro, con pericarpio carnoso, cubiertos en la superficie por numerosas escamás blancas.

La pulpa del fruto es comestible, de color y sabor dulce. Los frutos maduran de marzo a mayo.

The fruits can be yellow-green or orange in color. These "berries" are from 2 to 2.5 centimeters in diameter, with a fleshy pericarp; the skin is covered by numerous white scales.

The pulp of the fruit is edible, is colored like the skin and has a sweet flavor. The fruits mature from March to May.

Madera

Su tonalidad es de un rojo brillante en la sección central del tronco, y tallo amarillento, grano fino algo variable; textura fina compacta, pesada, resistente y durable.

Actualmente, suele utilizarse en construcciones. Sin embargo, por sus cualidades, reúne estimables aptitudes para ser utilizada en la industria de los muebes de lujo, como también en la decoración de interiores.

Wood

The tone of the wood is a brilliant red in the center section of the trunk, and has a yellow stem, with a fine grain that is somewhat variable; the texture is fine and compact, heavy, resistent and durable.

At the present time people are accustomed to using the wood in construction. Nonetheless, because of its qualities, it is considered to hold great promise for use in the luxury furniture industry as well as interior decoration.

Semillas

Seeds

Su diámetro es de aproximademente 1.2 centímetros, cubierta con un testa papirácea amarillenta.

The diameter of the seed is aproximately 1.2 centimeters, covered with a paper-like test that has a yellow-green sheen to it.

ECOLOGIA

ECOLOGY

Distribución Natural

Natural Distribution

Tiene una distribución muy amplia en nuestro país. Crece entre 1,000 y 2,000 metros sobre el nivel del mar. Reportado de El Petén, Alta Verapaz, Izabal, Escuintla, Retalhuleu, Quiché, Huehuetenango, Baja Verapaz y Guatemala. Según el Centro de Estudiós Conservacionistas, CECON.>

Ramon has a very extensive distribution in our country. It grows between 1,000 and 2,000 meters above sea level. It has been reported from The Peten, Alta Verapaz, Izabel, Escuintla, Retalhuleu, Quiché, Huehuetenango, Baja Verapaz y Guatemala, according to the Center for Conservation Studies, CECON.

En la investigación bibliográfica que hiciéramos, encontramos la siguiente anotación la cual transcribimos íntegramente:

In the bibliographic research we have done, we encountered the following annotation which we transcribe here in its entirety:

"Esta es una de las especies más dominantes de nuestras selvas Peténeras que tienen distribución muy amplia en casi toda la república de Guatemala. Se presenta pues, desde el norte bajo, Petén región central oriental, hasta la costa sur del país con altitudes hasta de 800 m.s.n.m."

"This is one of the most dominant species in our Petenero Forests which has a quite extensive distribution in almost the entire republic of Guatemala. It can be found from the lowlands of the north Peten region down to the eastern central region and all the way to the coasts of the country with alititudes up to 800 meters above sea level.

"Ocupa principalmente la zona de vida correspondiente a bosque muy húmedo subtropical (cálido)…"

(Algunas Generalidades, Habitat y Usos del Ramón Blanco. Ing. For. José E. Sosa A.)

It occupies principally the biological zones corresponding to the very humid subtropical rainforest…"

(Some Generalities on the Habitat and Uses of White Ramon. Forest Engineer Jose E. Sosa A. )

Ecología de su Habitat

Ecology of its Habitat

Altitud: 125 a 800 metros sobre el nivel del mar.

Altitude: 125 to 800 meters above sea level.

Precipitatión pluvial: 1,500 a 2,000 milímetros al año.

Temperatura: 25.4 grados C, media annual.

Precipitation: 1,500 to 2,000 millimeters per year.

Temperature: 25.4 degrees C, yearly average.

Humedad relativa: 80 a 96 %.

Relative Humidity: 80 to 96%

Luminosidad: 30 % a 50 %.

Luminosity: 30% to 50%

Suelos

Soils

Poco profundos bien o mal drenados, de textura arcillosa moderadamente plástica o friable.

Shallow soils, well or poorly drained, of a clay texture moderately plastic or friable.

Suelos con reacción ligeramente ácida a levemente alcalina, con fertilidad natural baja o moderada, tiene marcada preferencia por cerros de origen calizo.

Soils with reactions varying from lightly acid to slightly alkaline, with naturally low or moderate fertility. Has a marked preference for hills having limestone origins.

 

PRODUCCIÓN:

PRODUCTION:

 

Las ventajas del Ramón cultivado en huertos, respecto del cultivo del maíz a base de agricultura rosa, son muchas. De primera improtancia es la alta producción por hectárea.

The advantages of cultivating Ramon in orchards, as opposed to the cultivation of corn as the basis of agricultural production, are many.

El maíz, aún con períodos mínimos de barebecho, no puede producir más de 320 kilos (705,47 libras) anuales por hectárea en las áreas del lago Petén Itzá. Ello explica por qué el maíz como planta de los altos no se adapta a los suelos calizos de la selva (tierras bajas), las cosechas de maíz son de más rendimiento en muchas partes de los altos.

Corn, even with minimal fallow periods, cannot produce more that 320 kilos (705.47 pounds) per hectare per year in the areas surrounding Lake Peten Itza. This is explained by the fact that corn, as a plant of the highlands, does not adapt well to the lime rich (calcium rich) soils of the rainforest (lowland forests); the harvests of corn are more efficient in many areas of the highlands.

Al haberse practicado el cultivo del Ramón en huertos habría presentado ventajas altamente significativas respecto al cultivo del maíz, si se hubiese asociado con otras especies también anuales de importancia económica. La primera ventaja del Ramón tuvo que haber sido su producción superior por hectárea. Recogiendo frutos de un sólo árbol en Tikal se obtuvieron 32.6 kilos (71.86 libras) de semilla y, según un eminente científico, un árbol mediano puede producir hasta 75 kilos (165.34 libras) de grano. En bosques densos pueden estimarse hasta 250 árboles por hectárea, aunque una plantación con amplio espaciemiento puede tener de 100 a 125 árboles donde se asocien al Ramón otras plantas alimenticias o de importancia agrosocioeconómica.

The practice of cultivating Ramon in orchards would present advantages significantly higher with respect to the cultivation of corn, especially if the Ramon trees were associated with other annual species of economic importance. The primary advantage of Ramon is that it has a superior production capacity per hectare. Collecting fruits from a single tree in Tikal we obtained 32.6 kilos (71.86 pounds) of seed, and according to an eminent scientist, a medium-sized tree can produce up 75 kilos (165.34 pounds) of "grain". In dense forests we estimate up to 250 trees can be planted in a single hectare, although a plantation with ample spacings would suggest a density of 100 to 125 trees per hectare where the Ramon trees are associated with other food-bearing plants or plants of agrosocioeconomic importance.

Durante tres años se estudió un Ramónal natural en Tikal, que promedió un mínimo de 1,762 kilos (3,805.83 libras) y un máximo de 2,616 kilos (5,768.28 libras) por hectárea al ano.

During a three year study of a natural "Ramonal" (Ramon grove) in Tikal, we found a minimum production of 1,762 kilos (3, 805.83 pounds) and a maximum of 2,616 kilos (5,768.28 pounds) per hectare per year.

Nutricion

Nutrition

Como en el caso de los tubérculos, la alta productividad sin alto valor nutritivo no favorece un producto básico para la dieta. Por esta razón, es importante examinar los aspectos nutritivos del Ramón. Según estudiós realizados por Leung INCAP-ICNNP en 1961, muestran que:

As in the case of tubers, high productivity without nutritional value would not favor a basic food product for the human diet. For this reason, it is important to examine the nutritional aspects of Ramon. According to studies conducted by Leung INCAP-ICNNP in 1961, it was demonstrated that:

1. La semilla produce 362 calorías en cada 100 gramos, un poco más que en el maíz o en el frijol y de dos a siete veces más que los tubérculos.

1. The seed produces 362 calories in each 100 grams, a little more than either corn or beans and from 2 to 7 times more than tubers.

2. La semilla contiene un porcentaje de proteína de 11.4%, a 13.4% mientras que el maíz muestra 9.4% y la raiz de camote sólo 1.3%.

2. The seed contains a percentage of protein that varies from 11.4% to 13.4%, while corn shows 9.4% and the roots of yams only 1.3%.

3.El Ramón se compara favorablemente con el maíz, frijol, calabaza y tubérculos, en su contenido de hierro, vitamina A, riboflavina, niacina y ácido ascórbico con mayor cantidad de algunos componentes nutritivos que los otros productos.

3. Ramon compares favorably with corn, beans, squash and tubers in its content of iron, vitamin A, riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid with a greater quantity of some nutritional components that the other products.

El contenido de aqua en la semilla es muy exiguo (sólo 6.5%), esto contribuye a una mejor adaptabilidad de la fruta al peligro de que la semilla se enmohezca antes de germinar o una vez caída sobre el suelo húmedo; comparando el porcentaje de la semilla del Ramón con el de la bellota de California ( 9.0 %), obtenemos un porcentaje de agua significativamente menor que el de la bellota de California; este porcentaje de agua en la semilla del Ramón resulta muy ventajoso, porque garantiza su almacenamiento durante meses.

4. The content of water in the seed is very meager (only 6.5%). This contributes to better adaptability of the fruit to the danger of moisture before germination or once fallen on moist ground; comparing the water percentage of seed from Ramon with that of the California acorn (9.0%), we obtain a percentage of water that is significantly less than that of the acorn; this percentage of water in the Ramon seed results in great advantages, because it guarantees its preservation for months.

Según bibliografía consultada por el autor del folleto "Algunos Generalidades, Habitat y Usos del Ramón Blanco," se hace referencia de un análisis porcentual de la materia contenida en los frutos del Ramón, y es el siguiente:

According to the bibliography consulted by the author of the pamphlet "Some Generalities, Habitats and Uses of White Ramon" there are references to a percentage analysis of the material contents of the fruits of Ramon, and these show the following:

Agua: (Water:) 54.53%
Proteína: (Protein:) 7.48%
Carbohidratos: (Carbohydrate:) 24.18%
Grasa: (Lipids:) 2.12%
Celulosa: (Cellulose:) 8.26%
Ceniza: (Ash:) 3.43%

Y en cuanto a los elementos digeribles en la semilla, anota los siguientes porcentajes:

And considering the digestible elements of the seed we note the following percentages:

Carbohidratos: (Carbohydrates:) 20.55%
Proteína: (Protein:) 6.65%
Grasa: (Lipids:) 1.57%
Total digerible: (Total digestible material:) 28.77%
Relación nutritiva: (Nutritional ratio:) 1:34.9

Propiedades físicas de la madera:

Physical properties of the wood:

Peso especifico: (Specific Weight) 0.806 a 0.965
Peso en Kilogramos por M3 (Weight in Kg/sq.m) 806 a 965
Volumen de la tonelada (Volume per ton) 1,240 a 1,036
Poro de la humedad del peso seco (Dry weight) 21 a 25.70

Las ramas y hojas del Ramón como forraje

The branches and leaves of Ramon as animal forage or browse:

Las hojas y ramás tiernas se utilizan como forraje para el ganado mular y caballar, en las zonas chicleras de El Petén, como en Uaxactún, Paso Caballos, Carmelita, Dos Lagunas y otras más.

The leaves and young branches are used as forage for livestock, mules and horses in the "chiclera" (chewing gum producing) areas of the Peten, as well as in Uaxactun, Paso Caballos, Carmelita, Two Lagoons and many others.

FACILIDAD DE COSECHA

EASE OF HARVEST

La cosecha del Ramón no requiere mayor esfuerzo que el e rocoger las fruta caída al suelo. Invirtiendo ocho horas diarias, en ocho dias, una mujer con dos o tres niños puede recoger 1,360 kilos (2,998.26 libras) que se necesitan para sostener a su familia durante un año completo. Es claro que el Ramón también debe ser sembrado y, habitualmente, esto implica rozar, quemar, sembrar y limpiar. Con todo, en comparación con el maíz, el cultivo del Ramón promete ser un producto alimenticio de mucha aceptación. El fundamentar la alimentación básica de nuestras familias con la harina del Ramón sería un gran recurso, cuya producción es muchísimo más eficiente en términos de labor física y en todo sentido.

The harvest of Ramon doesn’t require any more force than the collection of fruits that have fallen to the earth. Investing 8 hours a day, in 8 days, a woman with 2 or 3 children can collect 1,360 kilos (2,998.26) which are needed to sustain a family for an entire year. It is clear that Ramon also can be planted and, habitually this implicates clearing, burning, sowing and cleaning. With all this considered, in comparison with Corn, the cultivation of Ramon promises to be a nutritious product of great acceptance. Laying the foundations of a basic nutrition for our families using flour made from Ramon would be a great resource, whose production is many times more efficient than Corn in terms of physical labor and in every other sense.

EXPERIMENTOS DE ALMACENAJE DEL RAMÓN COMO CULTIVO MAYA

EXPERIMENTS IN THE PRESERVATION OF RAMON AS A MAYAN CULTIVAR

En los experimentos llevados a cabo por eminentes científicos en los chultunes (depósitos) mayas de Tikal, comprobaron la resistencia al moho por tener un porcentaje bastante bajo de agua.

In experiments carried out by eminent scietists in the "chultunes" (grain repositories) of the Mayans of Tikal, high resistence to fungus was proven owing to the very low percentage of water in the seed.

La evidencia indica que los Mayas cultivaron y almacenaron en sus chultunes la semilla del Ramón. Cuando la semilla del Ramón estuvo almacenada junto con maíz y frijol en un chultún Maya, durante 12 meses, al término de nueve semanas el maíz y el frijol fueron econtrados completamente arruinados por el moho y sin utilidad como comestible.

The evidence indicates that the Mayans cultivated and preserved the seeds of Ramon in their chultunes. When the seed of the Ramon was stored for comparison along with corn and beans in a Mayan chultun for a period of 12 months, at the end of 9 weeks both the corn and the beans were found to be completely ruined by fungus and without any further utility as foodstuff.

PREPARACION DE LA SEMILLA PARA LA ALIMENTACION

PREPARATION OF THE SEED FOR EATING

A la semilla debe quitársele la pulpa o cáscara que la recubre para poder someterla a cocción, luego se muele (commúnmente los habitantes de El Petén lo hacen con piedra de moler), después se amása y puede mezclarse con maíz y harina de trigo.

The pulp and fruit skin that covers the seed is removed so that the seed can be cooked. Then it is ground (communally the inhabitants of the Peten grind the seeds with grind stones); afterwards the Ramon mass can be mixed with corn and/or wheat flour if desired.

De esta mezcla se pueden preparar tortillas, tamales y pan, que tienen un agradable sabor. Las semillas tostadas y molidas sirven para preparar un exquisito café, siendo un buen sustituto de esta bebida.

From this mixture tortillas, tamales and bread can be prepared that have a most agreable flavor. The toasted seeds, finely ground, serve in the preparation of an exquisite coffee, and turn out to be a great subsitute for this drink.

BIBLIOGRAFIA

1. SOSA, JOSE E. Algunas Generalidades, Habitat y Usos del Ramon Blanco, Banco de Semillas  INAFOR, Mimeogriado, 11 pp, 1983

  1. MINISTERIO DE EDUCACION, DIRECCION GENERAL DE ANTROPOLOGIA E HISTORIA DE GUATEMALA. Revista Antropologia and History of Guatemala, Vol 1, II Epoca 1979, 287 pp.
  2. RAMIREZ, BERMUDEZ, JOSE. Informador. Agricola No. 3, marzo 1981. Departmento de Divulgacion Agricola, Minesterio de Agricultura, 40 pp.
  3. AGUILAR C, J. M., AGUILAR C, C. A., AGUILAR C. M. A. Introduccion al Estudio de los Arboles de Guatemala. Primer tomo. Ministerio de Agricultura, Direccion de Recursos Naturales Renovables, Division Forestal. Departamento de Estudios Forestales Especificos. Guatemala, 1971. 355 pp.
  4. AGUILAR G. JOSE IGNACIO. Relacion de unos aspectos de la Flora util de Guatemala. Imprenta Hispania, Guatemala, 1958. 379 pp.
  5. DE POLL, ELFRIEDE. Plantas Comestibles y Toxicas de Guatemala. Facultad de Ciencias Quimicas y Farmacia. Centro de Estudios Conservacionistas. CECON. Segundaa Edicion, 1983, 114 pp.
  6. MORLEY, SYLVANUS G. Civilizacion Maya, Version Espanola del Licenciado Adrian Recinos. Fondo de Cultura Economica. Mexico, 1975. 526 pp.
  7. ORREGO CORZO, MIGUEL. Informacion Verbal.

 

GLOSARIO DE TERMINOS USADOS

Baya: Fruto con el epicarpio muy delgado y mas o menos papiraceo, mesocarpo y endocarpo

Pulposo, jugoso en su interior.

Estambre: Organo sexual masculino de las plantas fanerogamas: el estambre esta terminado por la

Antera.

Eliptica: Cuando su ancho es el doble o mas del largo, apice y base redondeados a obtusos; ejemplo: el nance.

Estigma: La parte del pistilo que recibe el polen.

Estipula: El apendice basal de un peciolo. Apendice foliaceo situado en el punto de nacimento de las hojas.

Glabras: No peludo; con frecuencia utilizado incorrectamente en el sentido de liso.

Gambas: Estas son proyecciones del fuste, en forma de tablas se extiende lateralmente en ambos lados de la base con el objeto de darle mayor sosten al arbol.

Lanceolado: En forma de lanza: mucho mas largo que ancho; que se ensancha arriba de la base y se hace angosto hacia el apice.

Lenticela: Uno de los poros corticales en los tallos de las plantas lenosas, por medio del cual el aire penetra al interior.

Loculo: Compartimiento o celda de un ovario, antera o fruto.

Lobulo: Cualquier parte o segmento de un organo espcificamente, una parte del petalo, del caliz o de la hoja. Que representa una division mas o menos por la mitad.

Ovado: Con un aspecto como el de un huevo; el extremo mas ancho abajo de la mitad.

Papiracea: Consistencia muy parecida a la del papel.

Peciolo: Tallo de la hoja.

Perianto: Las dos envolturas florales consideradas juntas; un termino colectivo para la corola y el caliz.

Sericea: Cubierta con pelos finos, suaves, apretados, cuyo conjunto semeja seda.

Receptaculo: El apice del pedunculo ensanchado, que sirve como base a los carpelos y muchas veces a los demas organos florales.

Coraceas: Limbo de la hoja de consistencia muy parecida a la de cuero.

Glabrada o Glabrecente: Superficie de hojas que tienen muy poco pelo, debido a ciertas circunstancias. Ejemplo: porque ha llegado a su madurez.

NOTA:

El autor del presente folleto ha recabado informacion de la escasa bibliografia que hay al respecto y de personas que conocen el uso del Ramon. Se hace saber al lector que el fin de esta pequena resena es el de enriquecer la bibliografia de este topico, el de llevar informacion a todo el interesado y despertar el interes nacional hacia este cultivo tan olvidado.

La Unidad de Comunicacion Social agradeceria en gran manera, la sugerencias que se pudieran hacer para ampliar este pequeno folleto y asi enriquecer la informacion para estudios posteriores.

La Unidad de Comunicacion Social fue creada por Acuerdo Presidencial del 10 de marzo de 1982, Reglamento del Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganaderia y Alimentacion, Capitulo IX, Articulo 36, como una institucion que depende del Despacho Ministerial, cuya funcion principal es la divulgacion, informacion, recopilacion y reproduction de material didactico y especializado en materia agropecuaria por medio de folletos para los tecnicos que trabajan con el Sector Publico Agropecuario y de Alimentacion del Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganaderia y Alimentacion.

Direccion: 7a, Avenida 3-67, zona 13.

 


 

Project Glossary:

Ixim:  Classical Mayan word for "corn"

Ché:  Classical Mayan word for "tree".  Many areas of the Petén have the ending "ché" signifying the important trees of the region, for example "Macanché" and "Sayaxché".  Iximché is also the name of a famous Mayan ruin on the road from Guatemala city to Lake Atitlán, where presumably the "Corn Tree" was also widely in cultivation.

Guatemala:  A Spanish bastardization of the Aztec word for "Land of Iximché" -- "Cua-tle-malan".  In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs,   "Cua" means Corn, "tle" means tree, and "malan" means "land of".   This word was the Aztecs correponding term for the Mayan description of their homeland, "Land of Iximché" or "Land of Ramón".   It is believed that the Aztecs traded with the Mayans for Ramón seeds and products.


MORE EVIDENCE: From CARE/USAID:  "Plantas Comestibles y Medicinales" Poster in the INGUAT Office in Flores, Petén  (Edible and Medicinal Plants):

Ramón:

(Brosimum alicastrum)

Ujushte y ramón blanco.

Usos:  Forraje, fruto comestible, alto contenido proteico; fue alimento de los Mayas, su resina combate enfermedades gastrointestinales.  

Uses:  Forage, edible fruit, high protein content;  was the food of the Mayans; its resin is used to combat gastrointestinal disorders.

 


Project Iximché invites your help and participation

The staff here at TheRainforest.com are dedicated to preserving biodiversity and human dignity by assisting in development projects that ensure the survival of indigenous pluricultures. Our "Project Iximché" is currently underway in the Petén region of Guatemala where we are interplanting 10,000 Ramón trees with over 5,000 other agroforestry and silvacultural crops of socioeconomic and ecological value (including native animals) on a 5 hectare "milpa" (cornfield) and grazing pasture that was once a mighty rainforest. From the yields of this ambitious "reforestation plantation"or "rain-forest-ranch-forest", community cooperatives are working to produce sustainable products and market alternatives to the destructive agricultural practices that have led to such destruction here in the past. If you would like more information, or would like to help us bring back sustainable Mayan silvacultural solutions to the nightmare of biodiversity loss and imminent extinctions, please contact us at:

innoventor@95net.com

or write T.H. Culhane directly at

tculhane@ucla.edu

El Proyecto Iximché te invita a ayudar y participar

El personal aqui en TheRainforest.com está dedicado a preservar la biodiversidad y la dignidad humana, asistiendo en proyectos de desarrollo que aseguren la sobreviviencia de las "pluri-culturas" indíginas. Nuestro Proyecto Iximché ya está en proceso en la región de Petén, Guatemala, donde estamos sembrando diferentes especies de arboles entre si, incluyendo 10,000 arboles de Ramon y 5,000 arboles y plantas agroforestal/sylvacultural de valor socioeconomico y ecologico (incluyendo animals típicos del área) en una milpa y un área de pasto que anteriormente fue un bosque impresionante. De las cosechas de esta ambiciosa "plantacion de reforestación"o "finca-forestal-silvestre" la cooperativa de la comunidad esta trabajando para producir productos sostenibles y mercados alternativos para sustituir los metodos agriculturales que han venido destruyendo desde hace mucho tiempo. Si quieres más información, o si te gustaría ayudarnos a traer de nuevo las soluciones sostenibles de los Mayas, contra la pesadilla de la pérdida de la biodiversidad y extinciones repentinas, por favor contactanos en:

innoventor@95net.com

or write T.H. Culhane directly at

tculhane@ucla.edu

 

THANKS TO RECENT BENEFACTORS:

Thanks and love and blessings go to Martha Liu, President of M&D International Inc., Taiwan's leading agent of fine garments, for her recent seed-money grant of $5,000 to help the villagers of Macanché, Flores Petén, purchase farm equipment, construct viveros for Ramón seedlings and prepare the land for conversion from a swidden agricultural field and cow pasture back into a non-timber forest-product extraction reserve.

God bless you!

 

GRACIAS A LOS BENEFACTORES

 

Gracias, amor y bendiciones a Martha Liu, Presidente de M&D Internacional, líder en la industria de vestuario en Taiwan, por su aporte de $5,000 para ayudar a los habitantes de Macanché, Flores Petén, a comprar herramientas de agricultura, a construir viveros para arbolitos de Ramón y a preparar la tierra para convertirla de frontera agricola y un sistema de talación y pastura para el ganado en un bosque de reserva y extracción de productos no-maderables.

Dios te bendiga!