Indian Journal of History of Science, 34{ 1),1999

BETELVINE (PIPER BETLE L.) CULTIVATION: A UNIQUE CASE OF PLANT ESTABLISHMENT UNDER ANTHROPOGENICALLY REGULATED MICROCLIMATIC CONDITIONS
NIKHIL KUMAR*

(Received 12 August 1998; after revision 11 February 1999)
Piper betle L. (betelvine) was known to communities long before its medicinal

uses were documented by different masters of Ayurveda. A shade-loving climber native of tropics. this plant requires high humidity and mild temperature. Its cultivation in subtropics is the first example of anthropogenic transfer of a plant from its natural habitat to a condition where it just cannot grow on its own. Betel cultivation in subtropics became possible only when suitable structures were created wherein temperature. humidity and light were effectively regulated. It is claimed that such structures were the first greenhouse created by man anywhere in the world. Key Words: First anthropogenic plant transfer, First greenhouse, Piper betle, temperature humidity and light regulation, Traditional wisdom
INTRODUCTION

Historically, the development of the whole human race is linked with the development of agriculture. This primeval human activity can be termed protected agriculture because whatever was to be grown for human consumption had to be protected from herbivores, since they outnumbered humans by at least one or two orders of magnitude in ancient times. Thus all the crop growing activities fall under this category. With the development of civilizations and large scale human migrations, plants as propagules (seedlings, seeds, bulbs, etc.) also crossed natural geographical boundaries and new homes for plants were anthropogenicaUy created. Ever since this process has continued and shall continue till the human race continues. In fact, with the advancement of technologies for cultivation and better understanding of the habit and habitat of plants, this will register even greater increase in times to come. In the cultivation of P. betle (betelvine), traditional agriculture in India provides one major example of how from very mild climatic regions (tropics) plants were introduced 10 areas where climatic changes were sharp (sub-tropics). What made its

*

Scientist, Betelvine Laboratory, National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, 226 001

20

INDIAN JOURNAL OF HISTORY OF SCIENCE

cultivation in the Indian sub-tropics a success story was ingenious anthropogenic intervention. Piper betel L. ( Hindi Pan; Sanskrit Tambula I Tambool; Kannada Villayadele ; Malayalam Vettilakkoti ; Tamil Vettilai; Telugu Tamalapaku, Nagavalli; Marathi Videch-Pan, Villedele; Gujrati Pdn, Nagarbel ; Bangala Pd» and also figures in foreign languages like Arabic Tanbol, and Persian Tanbol, Burg-e- Tanbol) belongs to family Piperaceae and is basically a shade-loving climber (Fig. 1). The word Pan in Hindi and other Indian languages is apabhransa of Sanskrit pam meaning leaf. Pan is a plant of tropics requiring high humidity and mild temperature. There occur frequent references to Tambool in several ancient Sanskrit texts including Caraka and Susruta Samhita (circa. 600-400 Be), Astanga Hrdayam, Bhavaprakasa, Harivamsa, Varahapurdna, Paiicatantra and Jiitaka tales. In most of these texts various medicinal properties have been highlighted. The classical compilation of Sanskrit terms by Monier- William I shows that tambool was perhaps a post Vedic plant as it does not figure in Vedic references. References to Tambool occurs right from Vatsyayana's Kamasiura and Paiicatantra down to Kalhan' s Rajatarangini (which may perhaps be the last of the recognized old Sanskrit writings of historical significance). Tambool has been referred to, thus roughly across a period of about two thousand years. MonierWilliam's compilation also includes several words with tambool as prefix, which clearly suggests the functional aspects related to tamboo!. Another compilation/ enumerates its citation in Indian systems of medicine, thus highlighting the medicinal properties. In Ayurveda, betel leaf extract is frequently used as an adjuvant and mixed with different medicines possibly for better effects beside its independent use as medicine:'. In Susruta Samhita (ch 28-46; 279-280)4 tambool leaves have been described as sharp, hot and acrid; they aggravate pitta, are aromatic and not slimy; they are bitter and beneficial for voice; they also pacify viita and are laxative; they are acrid in final taste after digestion, astringent in taste and appetizer; they remove oral itching, dirt, extra salivary secretion and bad odour etc. Similar characteristics have been described in Bhdvaprakasa ( sloka 180-183)5. In addition to these, specific times suitable for betel chewing have also been described. These include: while making love ( cohabiting), after getting up from the bed, after vomiting and while going to attend a noble gathering. The aphordisiac effect of betel chewing has also been indicated in ancient texts". Piin is also believed to provide strength to heart and regulate blood pressure. Its utility as anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial is emphasized at several places 7. A recent compilation'' on Indian medicinal plants has presented an exhaustive list of its properties and uses. Integration of this crop so very intimately with the society must have taken a great deal of time. One can only speculate about the period of introduction and establishment Pan to such a high pedestal (comparable only to the well known Tulsi, Oscimum sanctum).

tooth decay.) CULTIVATION 21 It is recommended that the tip. It may be pertinent to mention that the transportation of leaves.equivalent to beef. aisvarya. has its limitations as 30 to 70% of leaves are lost during the movement. It may be difficult to clearly ascertain the period when the tradition of Pan chewing was started. Reetikaaleen Hindi Poetry 10-11. It can also lead to loss of vitality. for those suffering from gum damage and tooth decay." Clearly. its mention in the Vatsyayana's Kiunasiura and Kalidasa's Raghuvamsa in itself reflects the antiquity of this practice. Pan chewing was also forbidden to widows. Tiimbuladyaka. hysteria and mental disorders and rakt-pitta ailments. Pan has been referred to in Sdkta-tantra as one of the means of achieving siddhi. Tambool finds frequent mention in writings from the fifth century onwards especially. During this period (circa 600 AD) words like Tambuladhikara. Pan chewing. Such was the status of Pan in ancient India. It therefore stands to reason that its cultivation must have been standardized widely in the subtropics as well as the tropics by the time the above-mentioned treatises came into existence. though fairly widespread and socially acceptable a practice in ancient times. Even poets. While chewing Pan it is recommended to spit (discard) the saliva and juices twice because the first extract (spit) is like poison and second one is difficult to digest. ascetics and brahmacari for whom it is . pitta and rakta. vasa. was forbidden for the persons with weak constitution. loss of appetite and many ailments due to vikar in vayu. ayu. It was believed that without betel chewing and offering Pan to guru no siddhi can be gained. hair fall. Vanabhstta in his well known writings especially Kiidambari' has given an account that how the nobles and courtiers used to consider it as a great honour to receive Pan from Kanyakubjeswari SrI Harsa. However. middle portion (mid rib) and danthal ( petiole) should be discarded as it represents. Social status of Pall can also be appreciated from the fact that it was considered to be a great honour to receive Pan bida (a pair ofleaves with chuna (lime). the transportation of leaves say 1500-2000 years back from the native place of betel vine to far-off places wouldhave been nearly impossible. it can be swallowed and is useful for the body. were in common usage and find mention in Kadambari.BETELVINE (PIPERBETLEL. Tambuladayini and Tambulika etc. henceforth. kattha (catechu) and supiiri (arecanut) ) from kings and nobles. In order to make this plant available to the society at large when it was in the process of introduction it was essential that its widespread cultivation must be engineered as major parts of the sub-tropical India was inhospitable for this plant. the contention that betelvine cultivation . writers. even today. dramatists and other creative artists used to consider it as token of appreciation to receive pan from Kanyakubjeswara. laksmi and yasa. Therefore. eye ailments. respectively. srivairagya and mukti. Tambool has also been referred to as facilitating the sadhak in achieving dharma. Excessive Pan chewing is harmful if one is suffering from stomach disorder or is very hungry.

Kapoori. Presenting betel leaf was considered as sublime and as signifying great nobility than giving gold and silver. Its chewing has cheerful effect and strengthened the power of lovemaking. did to some extent dilute its status as they were not fond of betel. Perhaps due to his familiarity with the grapes he had projected the similarity between the two and observed that it was grown like grapevine.22 INDIAN JOURNAL OF HISTORY OF SCIENCE was actually practiced and it was prevalent as far and wide in ancient times appears to be true. He had described the cultivation of Pan which appears to be essentially similar to the present day cultivation. it is claimed to have hundreds of varieties which can be broadly grouped in to five to six types such as Bangia. These varieties cater to a very wide range of organoleptic preferences of the users. Since spitting of extracts is a must with betel chewing. Meetha and Kiisi. Thus. Since this crop is cultivated very widely. Desavari. Pan retained its social and religious place symbolizing the continuity in Indian society. in the natural habitat the plants were grown in the coconut grove using the support of the tree. Later on Mughal rulers also patronized it and the practice of Pan chewing continued. Starting from processing of betel leaf to different additives and special utensils Pdndan for storing and carrying leaves and other ingredients. Social status of Pan did not diminish even after the disintegration of Hindu dynasties and arrival of Arabs and other followers of Islam during the medieval period. Travel writings of Ibn Battuta 13 is perhaps one of the best accounts of flora and fauna of India in the 14th century. It was customary to present betel leaves to a visitor or a guest as mark of respect. History of Lucknow 14 covering the periods of Nawabs (circa 18-19th century AD) presented a detailed account of traditions associated with Pan during that period. Siinci. it also avoids the harmful effects of water drunk against empty stomach. its range and social significance has been extensively covered. It continued to occupy a high pedestal in society and remained the symbol of etiquette and civility. spittoons are also described in a great details. The . The plants bore no fruits and their leaves resembled blackberry. With the disintegration of the Mughal empire and take over by the British. Regarding its uses Ibn Battuta 13 also documented its mouth-freshening. This writing is an important linkage between the recent past and the present and perhaps the only detailed treatment on this subject. To receive betel leaf from the king or from a person of importance or an Amir was considered to be a matter of great social recognition. Inspite of discouraging attitude of the British Pall patronized by the princely states and common people. bad breath suppressing and digestive effect. It is surprising ( and also reassuring) that organo-leptic preference have not much changed and remained almost similar as even in those days yellow leaves were preferred. The leaves vary in taste from very pungent to mild and even sweet as in case of meethii which grows in a very small region of Bengal. In the subtropics cane trellis were made for growing betel vine and the vines were trained on supports.

The present paper describes for the first time the uniqueness of betel vine cultivation as the first case of plant establishment under anthropogenically regulated microclimatic condition. chuna(lime) and supiirii arecanut) being the most widely used and the variants confined to other parts are used of only chuna( without kattha) and! or addition of different spices depending on the local availability. Punjab. storing the harvest leaves over a period of time. . The emphasis is on the sub-tropical Bundelkhand region which is here exemplified by district Mahoba in Uttar Pradesh. Present day consumption pattern of Pan does not show any major change from the past except for the fact that it has become more of an addiction due to its association with tobacco and its consumption for positive reasons has gone down. Its cultivation is highly labour intensive and offers employment to millions of people.) CULTIVATION 23 ingredients used in making Pan also vary from place to place. The usual kattha.000 million. Indeed. such structures lose their utility during summers when higher temperatures inside the glasshouse are detrimental to the plant. Glasshouses are useful in colder climates especially during winters when thermal properties of glass conserves heat and maintain above-ambient temperature suitable for plant growth. this is confined to the ancient city of Kiisi i. but their running cost is high and their environmental burden considerable as recycling of the components is very low. Trading and commerce in betel leaf is also a source of employment to a good number of people throughout India. However. what must have inevitably been its unique features in the sub-tropics receive a short shrift even in a recent monograph) 6 which does otherwise describe the different methods of betel vine cultivation. It also deals with the distinct practices followed in its cultivation in the tropics and sub-tropics. 10. however.e. Presently betelvine is cultivated extensively in India in almost all the states barring Haryana. it is believed that the first glasshouse dates back four to five hundred years. Where and when this practice was started is not known.17 Modem growth chambers are highly sophisticated and incorporate state of the art technologies. Himachal Pradesh and J & K. Harvested leaves in case of maghai are stored for months in dark so that the green colour is lost and the leaves are less pungent and acquire better taste due to post harvest changes during the storage. Pan also involves a good deal of post harvest processing i. The first record of any structure which may be called as the forerunner of modem plant growth chamber or greenhouse/glasshouse is not known. While the ancient texts and folklores refer unmistakably to betelvine and thus implicitly to its cultivation in several regions of ancient and medieval 15 India. none of them actually engages in describing the nitty-gritty of its cultivation.BETELVINE (PIPERBETLEL. modem Varanasi. it also earns some foreign exchange through exports. The annual turnover of betel vine is estimated at Rs.e. This limitation was overcome once refrigeration technology improved and the first growth chamber with cooling facility was erected in 1920. However.

Jan. Max. humidity (>400 C) «12° C) «40%) Nil (Jan. Weather conditions and type of betel vine cultivation at different locations in India. Location Temperature? C Min. Jan.88 32. 2).P. temp. June) Fully controlled OPEN CULTIVATION UNDER NATURAL CONDITIONS The open system of cultivation under natural conditions is practiced in regions where conditions of high humidity and moderate sunshine prevail throughout the year.88 (Dec. Max.24 INDIAN JOURNAL OF HISTORY OF SCIENCE Betelvine is perhaps one crop having a very diverse mode of cultivation in India (Table 1 and Fig.) 21. Relative temp. Table: 1. Broadly. there are two cropping systems: undernatural conditions and controlled conditions.80 33.58 31.46 2 (Dec. .) 17. Jan. May June) Fully controlled Mahoba (U.) 23.P.) Nil Nil 17.) 3 (April May.) 2 (Dec.38 Nil Nil Nil Nil Open natural Partially controlled Partially controlled Fully controlled Jorhat (Assam) Sirugamani (Tamil Nadu) Sangli (Maharashtra) Jabalpur (M.30 30. Number of months when Type of Plantation Min.12 17.96 I (May) 2 (April. May) Pusa (Bihar) 20.81 31.) Nil 3 (March April May) 4 (March April.83 I (Jan.75 31. The former has wider diversity depending on the prevailing climatic conditions.

Fig. The plants grow on Arecanut (Areca catechu) and attain 10-15 m height due to favourable growth conditions. 3. . The climbing habit of the plant is wellmarked-out and it can grow as tall as the support.Betelvine in its natural habitat in the tropical forest of western ghat. An open plantation of betelvine as in the north eastern regions.

.Fig. (b) inside view of the plantation showing live supports and the vines. (a) Outside view of the plantations in some parts of Mahar astra. Boundaries with tree lin. Cultivation of beteJvine under partially controlled conditions in areas where conditio are a little harsh for two to three months in a year. 4.':. as wind breakers also help in the creation of a suitable microclimate.

FIg. . Outside view of the bareja showing the outline of structure. Cultivation under controlled conditions (bareja) as practiced 10 the sub-tropics. thatching and grass covered roof. 5.

6 Inside view of a bareja a.(a) (b) Fig. view just after planting. . showing the intricacies of organization and space management. Preparation for the erection of a new bareja b.

. The roof acts as adjustable light screen. 8.Fig. The extent of light falling on the plants is shown by light and dark spots (sun-flecks) on the body of the worker engaged in culture operations.

9. mandap height is progressively raised. With the growth of vine. At the end of growing season the height can be anywhere between 3 and 4 meter.Fig. (a) Outside view .

At the end of growing season the height can be anywhere between 3 and 4 meter. mandap height is progressively raised. 9.Fig. (b) Inside view . With the growth of vine.

]O. Also seen is the increase in grass thatching to reduce sun light inside the bareja.Fig. Reduction in the vine height by lowering the vines to avoid heat damage and desiccation during summer. .

:.:... \ C •. .~: ...J'. {"'.) •J or· '....'" C . 'J' .' .. ~ :: .. 0 open natural). . ~ " • ......__ (" \ . . ~..·~'i J I -_.) .' .. ' '. .......::~ • .. . >{\ ..... "'. .) CULTIVATION 25 r"""·: !~ ...."...... • . '. : '. ? ..... I. '" \.0 . ~(.~ r "... rv' ..' ': . ~..· •• ·.: J i . Due to severe winter in the upper northern regions and very hot dry summer in the west... ... .1..... (. .. . :-. ... . ......:. .. 0 i. '.. eo ..1. _'.:.r. ..")-_...1\.. . .. .....-...O/ . :' ".. : .... \....' "~l r.. \ :..• . : '. "(... ~ . '.J) ••••• r .':I ............. f ~~:cao .~. "...... .·V....:.ou .. ."fj .... . ..oJ . e....~-. .1 .......). .: ....".. .' " .\...... j. ... : ~c > CiaO ." 1 ....... { C :: .\ "'-"" A \a. I. it is not cultivated in these regions.:.0 >. . "\......... ( \ . .... '. 2.:'. . 0" • • • Fig..:.. = = .. .r... .) .\~ .•.:) _.J_ ••.Z C \ ._ ... Major betel vine growing areas in India.. C. .:: he·· 1.BETELVINE (PIPERBETLEL.•. '-._ : "<. ':. : r .: . - r ~:~ .".. ... .... l INDIA i.......J . ..r..... :: ' .. . ... .. Its cultivation is well spread out in the rest ofthe country with distinctly different modes of raising the crop (C controlled.. .". .. .... "Z . ':"...."./....._• ...._~'. . ...

above 40° C) in summers and low (min. below 10° C) in winters. 4b). Manipur and parts of Nagaland in the north east and Kerala and parts of Karnataka down south offer such conditions. Sesbania sesban (Jayanti). Such weather conditions with adequate sunshine (photosynthetically active radiations 1200-1800 J.l mole m-2 S-I) are hardly conducive to good growth of the shadeloving native plant of tropics. incident of light and temperature. The covered structure is known as bareja (Fig. temp. . It is difficult to trace precisely how old this system is or when the present form of bareja was standardized and acquired its present-day shape. temp. here it is just 1-2 metre only. 3). This change in plant habit is achieved by suppressing the linear growth and promoting profuse branching. Thus this practice of cultivation in the bareja may be older than 600-400 Be. One of course cannot be too certain regarding the period of its initiation.26 INDIAN JOURNAL OF HISTORY OF SCIENCE The States of Assam. The plant type is basically a climber and the vines can be as tall as the supporting tree and generally attain 10-15 meter height with profuse branching at the top and lots of foliage. now it is quite easy to shift plants from their natural habitat and grow them under controlled conditions by regulating precisely the humidity. Such plantations last for decades (30-40 years). It is likely that betelvine cultivation in subtropics started prior to Susruta and Caraka. the operations carried out in this type of cultivation have certain elements that underscore the traditional wisdom in raising this crop (Fig. The close planting of vines also helps in moisture retention and creation of microclimate conducive to growth. Vines are trained on live-support of plants such as Sesbania grandiflora (Agast). Another variant in the open system of cropping is partially controlled cultivation which is common in regions where high humidity and low sunshine conditions do not prevail round the year. The cultivation of betelvine under controlled conditions is also a case of creating an indigenous system of 'environmental chamber' with the materials available in nature. Thus. Unlike the practice in north-east where the vines are allowed to attain height of the supporting tree. The plant type in partially controlled cultivation is modified to suit the prevailing conditions. Erythrina indica (Pangara). Moringa oleifera (Drumstick) which also provide shade and contribute to the increase in humidity. 4a). 5). CUL TIV A TION UNDER CONTROLLED CONDITIONS This type of cropping pattern is practiced in subtropical regions where relative humidity is often low and temperature remains high (max. In these areas betel vine is grown as intercrop with arecanut (Areca catechu) and coconut (Cocos nuciferai (Fig. With the advancement in greenhouse/ glasshouse construction technology. and the plants are to be protected from excessive sunlight and dry air (Fig..!" Achieving this about two thousand years back reflects the level of understanding of the plant's requirements by the ancient community.

) fiber and certain grasses are used. Generally the barejas are small so that their maintenance is easy and the cost of erection is within manageable limits. bamboos. This flexibility is the strength of this system in particular and indeed of all systems which evolved in traditional societies. For the purpose of tying and training of vines. Shape and size of Barejas Barejas are generally rectangular in shape. Materials used The bareja structure is made up ofiocally available materials such as wooden poles. In several parts of the country raising this crop is almost a monopoly of one community. In order to minimize the wind impact. The side facing south is kept thinnest. The following account describes in some detail the cropping system extensively followed in Bundelkhand region of U. Thatching on the north side of the bareja is thicker than on the eastern side.adequate attention. site selection for its cultivation receives. Generally.) CULTIVATION 27 but there is no doubt about its antiquity. like the famous proverb "kose kose boli aur panch kose paani" (the dialect changes with every mile and water changes after five miles). The top of the bareja is covered by leaves oflocally available grasses in order to reduce the light .P. it is not possible for them to meet the cost of construction singlehanded. When a bareja is erected on slopes. Site selection Betelvine is known to be Very sensitive to stagnant water. stalks of Cajanus cajan (Arhar). possibly to allow some light from that direction. This shape carries sound logic in terms of humidity and temperature control. The plant can grow well at wide range of pH except at extreme acidity or alkalinity. Barejas are often shared by 5 to 10 growers who pool their resources. Since the system was developed indigenously. therefore. locally available fibers such as root bark of palasa (Butea monosperma). and M. thatching on the west side is thickest so that the wind velocity entering the bareja is reduced. Saccharum munja (Munj) and a variety of grasses as thatching material. Perhaps it is one of the few examples of successful co-operative farming in this part of the country (co-operatives have been utter failures in many states of north India). raised sites or sites with slopes (west to east) are preferred so that water logging may not affect the vines. sunhemp (Crotolaria sp. Westerly winds are not only dry but also have high or lew temperature depending on the season. and normal workable size is often 50m x 30m.BETELVINE (PIPERBETLEL. Since the growers are generally not rich. west to east gradient is preferred.P. variations in terms of materials used are frequently observed. It can also grow in partially amended sodie soils as demonstrated by our experiments at Banthra (research station of NBRI near Lucknow). It is mandatory to keep the east and west sides shorter than the north and south sides. Soil with moderate water retention capacity and medium silt content is suitable for betelvine cultivation.

After planting the cuttings about 10cm apart (about 1. Height of the mandap varies from 2 to 3 meter or little more depending on the season and growth of the vine. It also shown a nice sense of space management. The space between beds is also lesser. 7b. these are covered with soft grass or paddy straw and lightly irrigated 3-4 times a day depending on the humidity conditions (Fig. b). This space also reduces the direct impact of wind velocity on vines. In Bundelkhand region it is generally between mid-February and mid-March when climate is mild and nearly optimum for its growth. Comparison of these two layouts shows that the empty space within the bareja is distributed with due consideration for evaporative cooling as the summer is more severe in Bundelkhand area and dry wind conditions prevail for much longer time. The interlinking between humidity and temperature is very crucial for plant survival during extreme summers when low humidity coupled with high temperature can kill the plant by desiccation and photo-inhibition.60. The layout plan has flexibility as is evident from Fig. Cuttings with one or two nodes along with attached leaves are generally used as the propagation material. 7a). UNIQUE FEATURES OF THE STRUCTURE This section highlights the unique features associated with the bareja structure. which are less hot than Bundelkhand region. apart). The space inside the bareja does not permit very wide inter-row spacing. indicating the practice in several districts of Central U. A gallery of one meter is available on all the four sides for bareja maintenance and movement of workers for various operations. Here. It takes about one month for root formation and sprouting. . one bed accommodating six rows (15 em. Planting season varies from place to place.P. Humidity and temperature Plants in the tropics require high humidity and mild temperature for growth. Planting is done in double rows leaving just enough space for one person to move sideways (Fig.28 INDIAN JOURNAL OF HISTORY OF SCIENCE incident on the plant and soil surface. the plants are provided support and allowed to grow until the onset of summer when the vines are lowered. Layout plan The layout plan for this crop is quite interesting and a testimony to thinking that must have gone in its standardization. Evaporation of water within not only increases the humidity but also lowers the temperature. 6 a. After the emergence of 3-4 leaves. The design of the bareja is such that it ensures suitable humidity levels within even when outside humidity is quite low. Betelvine cultivation in the subtropics became possible only by partially regulating these two critical factors. the space on the four sides is less and the plant rows are wider. OOOcuttingslha). being only 30 cm. Establishment of new crop Betelvine is a vegetatively propagated crop.

. (b) as practised in central and eastern regions.O.0 m A.3 m Fig.' • • • • A 1 :: 0·4 m -A ~ 8 A1 B a 1.) CULTIVATION 29 A1 I: [i A1 I A I: I: "II A A I I t' ® B A-: O· 60m A1 A1=lm B: O· 30 m -A 1 • • • • • • • • 8 A B ~ l A • • • . 7. (a) as practised in Bundelkhand region.BETELVINE (PIPERBETIEL. Layout plan of p-anting in a bareja.

the mandap. second only tu bareja construction. more water will be required for effective control of humidity and temperature through evaporative cooling. In Bundelkhand area usually the mandap is maintained at 2 to 4 meter height. Irrigation at times is carried out only to maintain humidity levels and to avoid frost damage. Since the plant growth stops during winter the important aspect is survival until the growing season sets in. facilitating a better regulation of humidity and temperature. barley. Some of these practices are now being given up. By the end of growing season. 9a & b) Irrigation and fertilization Sensitivity of betel vine to stagnant water is well known. thus. During summer the mandap can be placed at 2 m so that the effective air volume is less. The top of the bareja is so designed that light can be effectively blocked by spreading dry leaves at the top i. also increases humidity inside the bareja. In terms of cost of cultivation. irrigation is a costly affair (in terms of man days). These days part of the nutritional requirement . depending on the growth of vine. Irrigation frequency is reduced during rainy season and is also kept low during winter. With the onset of winter when temperature starts falling the grass cover at the top is increased to some extent in order to avoid frost and cold injury. the height of the mandap can be increased to 4 m or even more (Fig. This reduces light falling on the tender leaves and soil and effectively checks the rise in air and soil temperature inside the bareja. This objective is effectively achieved under this system of cultivation. black gram flour and butter milk). The height can be altered depending on the season. the air volume within the bareja is critical. During summer the irrigation frequency is determined by prevailing weather conditions. Effective air volume within the bareja For the regulation of humidity and temperature. FYM and a host of other things (like wheat. If the structure is large. Betel cultivation is an unique case of organic farming where almost all the nutritional requirements of plant are met by organic additives such as oil cakes. During the rainy season when the climate is most suitable for the growth of vines the thatching on the mandap is reduced so that 40-50% of the incident solar radiation reaches the leaves and the soil (Fig. Perhaps this is the reason fur keeping the bareja mandap not very high during summer. During summer the thatching is thick so that 70-80% of the incident radiation is blocked. Irrigation is carried out in such a way that water falls on the leaves and then trickles down to the soil. besides reducing the leaf and air temperature.e. It requires frequent and light irrigations.30 INDIAN JOURNAL OF HISTORY OF SCIENCE Incident solar radiation The heating effect of solar radiation can be effectively reduced by blocking the amount of light falling on a surface. During this period the incident light in the bareja is more than in summer. This practice. 8).

i. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary Clarendon Press. The time of nutrient application matches with the growth season and the major part of fertilizer treatment is carried out from July to October at about 10 days interval.V. This reduces the exposure to hot air and helps in creating effective microclimate so that there is no desiccation and the leaves formed in the last growing season are effectively retained until the onset of monsoon heralding favourable conditions for the growth of vines. growth is greatly reduced due to extreme temperatures. S. 1951. humble barejas. P. This underscores the ingenuity of people who were able to achieve such a remarkable feat of 'creating home' for betelvine. M. Once the leaves have been harvested the vines are covered under the soil and fresh sprouts from each node emerge increasing the plant population. Sharma. When temperature starts shooting up in the month of April. Monier-William. Lucknow University. our present-day. P. is gratefully acknowledged. The traditional system has evolved ingenious ways to cope with summer conditions. The bareja system. 10).) CULTIVATION 31 is also met by inorganic fertilizers. Varanasi have been very useful in the preparation of the MSS. In local parlance this practice is known as Baisakhi (Fig. during summer and winter. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Suggestions by Prof. In contrast with our traditional.BETELVINE (PIPERBETIEL. Thus. though it evolved nearly two thousand years ago. incorporates all the elements necessary for the plant's growth and survival. Jaidev. HPU. from February to mid-April and from July to mid-November. the vines are lowered to the height of 1 m or less (above ground) by tilting the vine at an angle of 40-45°. REFERENCES I. . Sincere thanks are also due to the then Director Dr. Lowering of vines In the sub-tropical regions betelvine has two very short periods of active growth. Sane for giving me the opportunity to work with this crop and aJso for tolerating me. sophisticated climatic chambers strike one as energy guzzling giants. This account clearly brings out the unique features associated with close cultivation of betel vine in the Indian subtropics. remunerative returns and increased productivity. Lucknow and by Acharya Jyotirmitra. Dr. BHU.K. The lowering of vines also helps in avoiding unfavourable climate and realizing good returns during the lean season when mature leaves are in short supply.e. Great Britain. Shimla. Botany Dept. Oxford. In between. the practice of vine-lowering has manifold advantages in avoidance of unfavourable weather conditions. This system is highly flexible and puts very little burden on the environment. Tewari Scientist NBRI.N. Critical reading of the MSS by Prof.

Evans. ]972. "Plants and Environment: Two Decades of Research at the Canberra Phytotron". B. 13. Betelvine Cultivation in India. New Delhi. Bhavaprakasa of Sri Bhdva Misra. India. R.. Pharmaceutical Consideration in Ancient Indian Surgery (Based on chapters of28-46 ofSiitra-SthanaofSusruta Samhit ii)Chowkhamba Orientalia. Chowkharnba Sanskrit Series. A. p. 1960. Indian Medicinal Plants: A Compendium of500 Species. Krishnadas Academy. India. Nambiar. Food & Agric. *** .. Thakur. B. Varanasi. 432 Hindi Vishwa Kosha. 1995. India. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series. 9. C.IT]ll. N. Kiidambari iii. Hort. Nagaripracharini Sabha. C. 1985. SrikanthaMurthy. 1980. India.W. Haleem. V. 15. and Narsimhan. EditorsP. 1966. 825. Rao. Sharma.51: 203-272. Agriculture in Ancient India. 1986. Singhal. S. India.F. New Delhi. Publishing House. Orient Longman. Res. 10. 1995. R. 8. I. 73. 1. Warrier. Chowkhamba Vidya Bhawan. Council of Agric. Varanasi.P. and Chunekar K.S. and Vaisya. G. V. India. 6. 16. 1953. Wardlaw.K. Chaugule. K. ]2. Varanasi. Varanasi. and King.C. The Rehala of Ibn Battuta Oriental Institute of Baroda. Min. India.. Botanical Review. Misra. and Chunekar. Chaukhamba Sanskrit Bhawan. B. 1995. 1969. Glossary of Vegetable Drugs in Brhattrayi. Husain. 1995. Dravyaguna Vijiiiina Vol. Basu. Varanasi. 1964. B. Ed. V. 1977. A.34: 175-182. India. 4. National Book Trust India. Varanasi. 17. M.K. Arya Vaidya Sala. 7. Bull. P. India.N. L. 3.R.T. India. R. DIT. 11.32 2. Shastri. INDIAN JOURNAL OF HISTORY OF SCIENCE 5. Farm Info.D. Varanasi. India. Unit. 14.Ext. New Delhi. K. The Encyclopaedia Indica. B. Kerala. Ind. Ramankutty. The Caraka Sa'rlhitii of Agnivesa Revised by Caraka and Drdhabala. 1962. M. Viigbhaua 'sAstangaHrdayam. Kottakal. II Vegetable Drugs. (Sharra) Purana Lucknow.

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