Milk tree: photo, description, where it grows?
On our planet there are many amazing and unusual plants that are known only in those places where they grow. For example, it is bread, sausage, soap, candle, milk tree. In this article we will talk about the last instance. Why is it called that, what is its use and does it give milk at all? Let's try to deal with these and other issues.
General description of the plant
The question of whether a milk tree exists can definitely be answered positively. It was first described by an avid traveler and botanist Alexander Humboldt. The scientist called it a galacto-dendron. Later, botanists decided to rename it to "useful in the most". Locals know it by the name of a tree-cow.
Scientists attributed this woody plant to the Mulberry family. It reaches a height of thirty meters, and the trunk can grow up to one meter in diameter. A distinctive feature of the tree is its bark. It has a reddish color and a rough surface, which is covered with numerous small cuts. The leaves are whole, large enough and juicy.Discoid roots, large. Flowers same-sex, stair, numerous stamens are collected in the capitate inflorescences. There is also fruit in the milk tree. What is this plant, you now have an idea.
Like other members of the family, the best-selling mineral secretes the milky sap from the bark. It is usually poisonous, but in the case of this plant it is completely edible, tasty and even useful. Locals gladly replace cow milk with this fragrant juice. It really tastes like a childhood drink. The sap expires from the bark quite actively. Only half an hour you can fill the vessel to the brim. As a rule, a small hole is made in the trunk for this. Sometimes milky sap is extracted directly from a felled tree. In this case, it gives milk for several weeks. It is enough to substitute buckets and collect a nutritious drink.
What is juice?
The milky sap of the milk tree, the photo and description of which you can see in the article, has a specific balsamic aroma. In appearance, it is a white, rather viscous and thick liquid, with a consistency thicker than cow's milk.Some say that the taste of the drink resembles sweet cream. The composition of the milky juice of galactodendron includes water, some sugar, vegetable wax and various resins.
Scientists have found that the white liquid that comes out of the tree is of great importance for the life of the plant. The fact is that all the optimal tissues are covered with milky vessels filled with a milky emulsion. It is a liquid that contains particles of various substances. Fats, proteins, starch and sugar were found in the milky juice. They are formed and accumulate in the vessels of the leaves. When the seeds ripen, "milk" gives its reserves of organic substances for their development. During this period, the milky juice becomes liquid and watery.
Fruits of the cow tree
In addition to the milky juice, the milk tree has fruits. They are about the size of an average apple. It is considered that they are inedible, because they do not cause gastronomic interest. Those who, nevertheless, decided to try the fruits of qui-peak, they say that they have a rather juicy and extremely tasty heart. However, they do not represent value, like the milky sap of a tree.
Places of growth
It is worth noting that the tree-cow is an unpretentious plant. It can successfully develop even in the most scanty land. And it does not affect the taste of "milk". It will still be tasty and nutritious.
Where does a milk tree grow? Its natural habitat is the hot countries of South and Central America, in particular, they are very numerous in the Amazon Valley. It is also successfully cultivated in tropical Asia.
Is it really possible to drink juice?
The white drink of this unusual tree in the places of its growth is very much in demand by the inhabitants. They consider it a useful and amazing gift of nature, so they use it in any quantities. For example, the natives of America drink the milky liquid like regular milk. Most of all they like to dip corn bread into it. They also add it to coffee and tea, because some smell the pleasant smell of cinnamon from it. For some, it tastes better than real cream. Moreover, they feed on milky sap even infants.
Nutritionists, in turn, recommend not to get involved in this “milk”.The fact is that it contains a rather high wax content, for processing of which the organs of the human gastrointestinal tract are simply not adapted. Therefore, in large quantities, this product can not be consumed.
Use in cooking
When you hear the description of the milk tree from the locals, it seems that they are talking about a milk cow. And it is not surprising, because the thickness and color of the milky juice resemble high-quality cream. This drink can be safely stored for seven to ten days. And it does not deteriorate even in the tropics. When the juice is standing, it forms a froth, like real milk. If left for some time in the air, the liquid begins to become quite thick. As a result, “milk” can be eaten as cheese. To prevent the liquid from thickening, the locals add some water to it. From this she does not fold. If to boil the milky juice, it will become a tasty curd mass. If desired, you can add nuts, berries or fruits.
Use in traditional medicine
The pharmacological properties of wood have not yet been studied, so it is not used in official medicine.But in the people since ancient times, the milky sap of a plant is considered a valuable product. Indigenous people use it for asthma and as a tonic. Folk healers also recommend drinking the sap of the milk tree to young children and the elderly to maintain vitality.
However, it is worth remembering that the contraindications to the use of any parts of the plant by official medicine have not yet been studied. One can only assume that tree sap should not be drunk for people suffering from diabetes or obesity. This is explained by the fact that there is sugar in the composition (about six percent), which can aggravate the state of health. It is also not recommended to use "milk" for children, pregnant and lactating women, because there is a risk of manifestation of individual intolerance.
Other uses for milky juice
In addition to the use of food, the American aborigines also found other ways of using the tree-cow and its milky sap. So, from it you can evaporate all the liquid, and you get a special thick yellowish substance. In composition and consistency, it resembles beeswax.This substance has been widely used in everyday life. Candles and even chewing gum are made of it. Also, the evaporated juice is hermetically sealed cans, bottles and close up cracks in the dishes. The Indians for a long time use the bark of the milk tree, a photo of which is presented in the article, for the manufacture of purple paint.
As you can see, the plant can be used in food, traditional medicine and life. Such widespread use interested specialists from other countries. Therefore, more recently, the export of the most useful and its milky juice began.
It was the scientist Alexander Humboldt who first described this unusual plant while traveling in South America in the nineteenth century. He talked a lot with the locals and was surprised by their stories. He was discouraged by the fact that the milky sap of a tree is eaten with pleasure, because it is usually poisonous, has an incredibly pungent and bitter taste. Then Alexander decided to check everything out on his own experience. And, indeed, the virtues of the white liquid were not exaggerated.
The traveler compared the tree with chrysophilum. The fruits were quite fleshy and contained one or two grains. When you incise the trunk, a thick and sticky white substance flows.Humboldt first tried the "milk" from the pumpkin flask. For all the time of drinking juice, he did not experience discomfort and did not notice the health effects. Only the viscosity of the milky drink was initially unusual. The scientist noted that the people working on the plantations, noticeably fatter in the seasons when the plant gave the most juice.
After this expedition, Alexander Humboldt began to prefer amazing milky juice from South America to ordinary cow's milk. He added it to tea, coffee, cocoa and whiskey, noting the harmonious blend of flavors.
It is worth noting that other trees that “give milk” also grow in the forests of South America. For example, sorveyra. Scientists call this plant callorphore, and the locals call it a tree-teat. It is necessary to make an incision on the bark, as a white liquid will flow. The consistency of it is thick, reminiscent of cow's milk. Up to four liters of drink can be collected at a time. Sorveyra juice has a bitter taste, so for a long time it was considered poisonous. Today it has already been proven that it is absolutely harmless and, moreover, its chemical composition is practically similar to natural cow's milk.
The plant is not a tropical exotus; in the Amazonian lowlands several million such specimens can be counted. This prompted scientists to promote the milk flowing from the trees. They are sure that it will perfectly replenish the meager diet of the population of the tropics.
Now you can ask your friends and acquaintances if there is a milk tree on our planet and tell them about its wonderful properties. The juice of sorveyra and petarum are similar to the liquid from other plants. This spurge, celandine, dandelion, poppy and many others. They have long been used in medicine, life and industry.