Botanical name: Docynia indica
Wild Apple is a particular variety of apples that grows wild in the hills of Meghalaya. They are about a third the size of regular apples and taste from sour to bitter. That doesn’t make it an attractive fruit, but we, at Zizira, so excited about it.
Because we found that these apples contain a bagful of goodies that can add oodles to your health. This is sheer health food.
Locally, these apples are known as 'Sohphoh Khasi' or crab-apple in English, is an acidic wild fruit popular among the Khasi tribe of Meghalaya.
In Meghalaya, the fruit is sold fresh, preserved or cut into small bits and added with chili powder and salt. The tribes of Nagaland believe it to be a ‘health fruit’ with high medicinal value.
So how does wild apple, one of the fruits of Meghalaya differ from the domesticated one?
Wild apples are about one-third the size of a regular apple. As far as taste goes, wild apples tend to have sour or at times even bitter taste when compared to its domesticated counterpart.
Wild apples have also been used in traditional medicine in parts of Eastern Asia for stimulating digestion, appetite, bloating treatment and heartburn.
Frankly, that isn't the way a fruit is supposed to be had. But while this fruit was introduced in the Khasi hills by the British about 200 years ago, it was a common sight in other Southeast Asian countries for ages before that. The fruit has not been commercially farmed as yet. In Meghalaya, it still grows mostly wild and is sold in the market by traditional farmers.
Wild apple trees are evergreen or deciduous, 2-3 m tall. Farmers who indulge, sow in the autumn, the flowers coming in March-April, with fruits maturing in September.
There is little required by way of farming: Just a well-drained soil in a sunny location.
Have you tasted Wild apple from Meghalaya? Or Do you know any farmer growing them? Do write back and tell us!