On my last visit to my native in Odisha I had the chance to visit a nearby village, Chandanpur. A very small village but very famous for it’s betel leaf or what is popularly known as Pan. The village is famous for it’s tasty betel leafs and even sends them outside the state of Odisha.
The betel leaf (Piper betle) plant is an evergreen and perennial vine and has a reputation to be very a sensitive plant. I had the opportunity to visit on of the plantations and take some photographs and get some details from the owner. So, here you go….
The enclosure that you see is where the betel leaf plant is grown. The enclosure is typically made of bamboo and covered from all sides by mats made out of coconut leafs. If you are just starting to wonder why are they growing on a small mountain like structure, hold on. I’ll explain.
Here is the entry to the enclosure. A typical enclosure is of 1500-2000 sft in size. Inside the enclosure there are rows of thin bamboo sticks meant to support the betel plant vine.
Each stick will support a single vine and as the plant grows it will be meticulously entwined on the bamboo stick. It takes roughly a year for the plant to grow and start yielding. However a plant can keep yielding for many years, roughly 20-25 years. amazing, isn’t it ??
The mountain like structure you saw in one of the pics above is formed because of top soil addition which is added every year. The enclosure is first made at ground level , however with passing time/years, top soil/ash is added to the roots of the plant almost covering the base resulting in a mound or this mountain like structure.