Gorumi (Lepisanthes alata) is One of the Eexotic Fruits that Thrive in the Tropical Forests of Kalimantan

The unique appearance of the Gorumi fruit.

If you are planning to travel to Kalimantan, schedule your trip during the fruiting season from late this year to early next year. 

Don't forget that one of the interesting attractions is forest tourism, entering the wilderness of Kalimantan, where trees grow wildly in the forest and bear fruits. One of the exotic fruits is as seen in the picture.

Gorumi or Lepisanthes alata

Gorumi, or Lepisanthes alata, has an intriguing fruit. The fruit is ovoid or round with three prominent sides, creating a unique appearance. The color of the fruit varies from purplish-brown to almost black when ripe. 

The fruit's skin appears smooth and shiny when exposed to light. When mature, the fruit can have a bright yellow color. Despite not being overly large, the distinctive shape and color add to the allure of Gorumi as an exotic fruit.

The tree and morphology of Lepisanthes alata.

Kalimantan, the third-largest island in the world with an area of 743,330 km², is abundantly endowed with natural resources. One extraordinary natural resource found on the island is tropical fruits that are unique and not found in other parts of the world, such as the Gorumi fruit, known in the Dayak Bidayuh dialect of Kalimantan. Currently, it is the tropical fruit season, where almost all tropical fruit trees in Kalimantan are bearing abundant fruits, each with its own distinct qualities.

Gorumi may not be a primary fruit choice, but its sweetness and unique grape-like shape make it noteworthy. Interestingly, Gorumi is not just a fruit but comes from a tree. In the Dayak Bidayuh language of Kalimantan, it is referred to as Gorumi. During this tropical fruit season, the landscape is adorned with the richness of various fruits, and each fruit holds its own special significance.

The unique taste and form of Gorumi

The unique taste and form of Gorumi add to the diversity of tropical fruits that Kalimantan boasts. While it may not be the first choice for everyone, its sweet flavor and distinctive appearance contribute to the richness of the tropical fruit offerings during this season. The natural abundance of Kalimantan, including treasures like Gorumi, highlights the importance of preserving and appreciating the unique ecosystems and resources found on this vast and diverse island. 

Borneo, an island renowned as a paradise of natural resources, harbors a diverse array of unique and rare tropical fruits. One notable example is Gorumi, an exceptional tropical fruit with distinctive grape-like characteristics that set it apart from other fruits worldwide.

Gorumi is not merely a fruit; it is a fruit tree thriving in the fertile soils of Borneo. While it may not enjoy the same popularity as other tropical fruits, Gorumi possesses its own uniqueness that renders it truly valuable. Though its flesh may not be thick, it is rich in a tantalizing sweetness that captivates the palate.

As Gorumi ripens, its skin transforms into a bright yellow hue, providing a tempting indication of its readiness for tasting. When you take a bite of Gorumi, you are immediately greeted with a sweetness that is not only pleasing to the taste buds but also creates a unique and unforgettable flavor experience.

What makes Gorumi truly exceptional?

What makes Gorumi truly exceptional is its exclusive presence in Borneo. This fruit cannot be found elsewhere, making it one of nature's treasures that requires preservation. The diversity of tropical fruits in Borneo, including Gorumi, reflects the richness of the island's natural resources and constitutes an essential part of an ecosystem that needs safeguarding.

As part of conservation efforts, it is crucial to understand and appreciate the diversity of natural resources in Borneo, including rare fruits like Gorumi. By doing so, we can collectively contribute to preserving the environment and its valuable natural heritage. 

Lepisanthes alata, in general, is a species that tends to be uniform, but some specimens in Kalimantan show significant variations in certain characteristics. Between Endert 1702 and Jaheri 1693, these specimens can be identified by their relatively large size (15-23 cm x 5-7.5 cm), relatively broad leaflets (with an index of around 3), and a leaf arrangement with somewhat spaced nerves (separated by approximately 1.5-2 cm).

Specimen Hotta 12660 from Brunei exhibits notable differences with more pairs of leaflets (13 pairs) and round or flat leaf stalks and rachises at the top, featuring exceptionally large dimensions (8.5 x 5 cm). The leaflets are also noticeably long and narrow (33 x 2.2 cm).

This tree can reach heights of up to 15 meters, with a trunk diameter of up to 30 cm or growing as a shrub. Its paripinnate leaves consist of 3-5 (-13) pairs of leaflets, reaching lengths of 20-45 cm or even longer. The inflorescence often hangs, with colors ranging from dark purple to reddish-brown, seemingly mostly unisexual, although both male and female flowers can be found on the same tree

The flowers of Lepisanthes alata have intriguing colors, including dark purple, red, and violet. The obovate-orbicular sepals measure around 2.5-4 x 2-3 mm, with the outer part slightly smaller than the inner part. The edges are crenulated, and some sepals resemble petals with sporadic glandular-ciliolate touches.

The distribution of Lepisanthes alata

The fruit, hardening upon maturity, has a trigonous-obovoid shape measuring around 2.5-4 x 2.2-3 cm with an apiculate tip. The fruit appears to be purple-brown to nearly black when ripe, with thick and white flesh. The ellipsoid seeds measure up to 2.5 x 1.5 cm, with a rhomboid-shaped hilum measuring 6 x 5 mm.

Ecologically, Lepisanthes alata can be found inside and along forests, at riverbanks, etc., on clay soil, at elevations up to 500 meters above sea level.

Regarding usage, the fruits and possibly the seeds of Lepisanthes alata are edible, particularly in Sumatra, Java, and Kalimantan, where the species sometimes grows as a fruit tree. Its distribution includes the Malay Peninsula, Java, Kalimantan, and the Philippines, with some cultivation efforts undertaken. In Indonesia, the species is known by local names such as cereme landa, ki angir (Sunda), and blimbing cina (Java). In Malaysia, it is referred to as perupok.

(Rangkaya Bada)

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