[Except the mineral, forest, and fish sections, this chapter is the work of Mr.
G. W. Vidal, C.S.]
ACCORDING to a legend, the truth of which the presence of quartz makes not improbable, gold used to be found near Phonda at the foot of the Sahyadri hills. In the south very pure specular iron is in small quantities associated with the quartz rock. And all the laterite of the district is charged with iron [In 1873 while digging a well in the jail garden at Ratnagiri large iron stone nodules in the form of hollow shells containing scoriae were found diffused through the laterite. And though wells near had no metallic flavour, the water of this well was so strongly impregnated with iron, both in the ferrous and ferric states, that the smallest addition of nagent threw down copious precipitates of Prussian and Turner's blue. C. Joynt, M.D.] though in too small a proportion to make it worth smelting. Near Malvan iron ore is found, not far under ground, in detached masses on the tops of hills, its presence being marked by small ferruginous surface fragments. The ore is massive and compact; outside It is brown or reddish brown and inside steel grey and glimmering; it is brittle, and of a yellowish brown. The fragments are sharp, the fracture flat conchoidal, and the specific gravity 3.32. Before the blow pipe it yields a dark blue shining enamel. Its constituents are water, black oxide and peroxide of iron, alumina, silica, and a trace of manganese and magnesia. It contains a steel grey lamellar powder difficult of solution both in nitric and muriatic acid. [Assistant Chemical Analyser to Government; Jour. Bom. As. Soc, 1 435.] There are several veins close to the mamlatdar's office at Malvan, three of them showing on the surface. These, it seems probable, must, at some distance below, be at least as rich as on the surface, and this belief is strengthened by observing the immense- blocks of quartz rock jutting into the sea, which both in their horizontal and vertical fractures, seem to be joined by iron rusted away under the continued action of salt water. One man and boy, with pickaxe and crowbar, could in one day raise 400 pounds of good ore from the surface, veins. In former times the Malvan mines and those at Gothna, a village above the Sahyadri hills, were much worked. In 1844 the smelting of iron was carried on at Masura, Kalavali, Varangaon, and several other villages, with in most cases, four smelting furnaces in each village. To extract the iron the ore was left in the sun for a week or two and
was then made brittle by roasting and powdered. The furnace was
round, three feet high, and narrowed from 1½ feet below to one
foot above. In this about sixteen pounds of fine powdered
charcoal were laid, and on the charcoal cinders and charred wood were piled,
and the whole lighted.
When blown into a mass of fire,
about one pound weight of the powdered ore mixed in water with an equal quantity of powdered charcoal was thrown in, and this was repeated at intervals till after about three hours smelting a mass of iron about ten pounds in weight, was formed in the bottom of the furnace. This, dragged out by a pair of large pincers, wan placed on an anvil, and beaten by heavy hammers. The smelting was generally repeated twice a day in the morning and in the evening, the outturn of each smelting being worth about a shilling, half of which went to
the bellowsman. Though the process was known to the cultivating classes they never practised it, and it was left as a monopoly to a wandering class known as Dhavdas. [Jour. Bom. As. Soe. I. 436.] In the smelting large quantities of fuel were used, and in 1844 partly from the increasing dearness of fuel and partly from the fall in the price of iron, it was made only in small quantities. Formerly the yearly outturn was worth about £200 (Rs. 2000). In 1855 a Mineral Viewer sent to examine the Malvan and Savantvadi mines reported that superior iron could be obtained, but from the want of coal the quantity would always be small. It would never meet the demand for railway bars though it might supply a superior iron for general purposes. The local manufacture is said to have now almost entirely ceased.
At certain depths are occasionally found remains of trees
changed or changing, into a kind of coal in which is imbedded a large quantity of crystallized pyrites. Some of the seeds of the trees occur separately with similar crystals imbedded in their centres.
Below the laterite crust appear- in some places, as in the Ramgad
district, immense veins of talc associated with and running into quartz rock. This, made into cooking pots and dishes, is sold in small quantities, the vessels being valuable to chemists as they can stand the most intense heat.
The [Contributed by C. Brereton, Esquire, C.E., Executive Engineer.] stones used for building purposes are blue basalt or trap and
laterite. A soft description of sand stone is found near the sea shore, but it is only fit for use in works of an inferior class. This stone is cut into oblong blocks of a small size, and walls,, built of this material with a coping of a harder kind of stone, have a neat appearance. Trap stone is found in most parts of the district, but it varies much in quality and a good deal of it is unfit for building purposes. The best quality is hard, of a light colour, breaking with a clean fracture, and ringing when struck with a hammer. The black stone of which the old fort at Harnai is built, is soft and the ramparts are now fast crumbling away. Trapstone work of a common class can be executed cheaply, but good cutstone work, for
which carefully dressed stones are required, is expensive, as, for
this class of work, masons have, as a rule, to be brought from the
The cost of quarrying trapstone varies from 10s. to £1 12s.
(Rs. 5 - 16) the 100 cubic feet, according to the size of stone and
class of work required. Laterite, the stone most in use, is a clay-stone impregnated with iron in the form of red and yellow ochres with a perforated and cellular structure. It is easy to work, but care is required in the choice of stone as the inferior sorts decay rapidly when exposed to the weather. The masons, who work in laterite, called kokirs, are mostly native Christians from Goa. Laterite stone cost at the quarry from 8s. to 10s. (Rs. 4-5) the 100 cubic feet. It may be obtained of almost any size. The rate for the best sort of laterite masonry work is £2 10s. (Rs. 25) the 100 cubic feet.
In making and repairing roads two kinds of metal are used, trap and laterite. The former costs 10s. (Rs. 5), and the latter from is. to 6s. (Rs. 2 - 3) the 100 cubic feet.
Sand or gravel of a good quality is found in the beds of most
streams and rivers. The rates vary from 3s. to 7s. (Rs. 1½ - 3½) the hundred cubic feet. The metallic sand, used instead of blotting paper for drying ink, is found at the mouths of several of the rivers. A superior kind of red clay for the manufacture of butter-pots, bowls, and water jars is found at Malvan.
The lime in general use is made from calcined cockle shells.
There is an inexhaustible quarry of these shells in the bed of the Ratnagiri creek near the village of Juva, about two miles from Ratnagiri. This quarry supplies the whole district with lime, which, according to quality, in Ratnagiri costs from £1 4s. to £1 10s. (Rs. 12-15) the 100 cubic feet. Shell lime possesses but little Cementing properties and only answers when used with laterite stone. Unless mixed with portland cement it is not fit for use in high class trap masonry. Lime stone is found at Chuna Kolvan in Rajapur and in the Salva hill in Devgad. The stone found at Salva is of a superior description and yields when burnt a large percentage of lime, but owing to the isolated situation of the quarry the lime is so costly that it is cheaper to get lime from Bombay which eosts delivered at Ratnagiri £2 16s. (Rs. 28) the 100 cubic feet.
Good brick-earth is found in several parts of the district. The
best at the village of Patgaon in Sangameshvar. Burnt bricks
are made at Khed and Chiplun and are suitable for rough work. The usual price is 14s. (Rs. 7) the thousand. The rate for tiles Varies from 6s. to 7s. (Rs. 3 - 3½) the thousand. Ridge tiles cost 4s. (Rs. 2) the hundred.
In 1756, when Fort Victoria was captured by the British, most of the tributary ravines and water-courses of the lower reaches of the
Bankot creek were clothed with fine teak. [Hove (December 1788) mentions that the hills on both sides near Fort Victoria
were overgrown with high teak wood trees almost to the marshes. In another place
he says (194) the country is one wood. At the same time further up, near the town
of Mahad the hills were totally destitute of verdure (193). Gov. Sel. XVI. Forbes
(1771) speaks of the western hills near Fort Victoria as bleak and barren. Oriental
Memoirs, I, 190.] Curved teak logs known
and highly prized as 'Bankot knees' were largely exported to Bombay,
and highly prized able that the ribs and framework of most of the fine
old ships of the Indian Navy came from Bankot and its neighbourhood. Gradually all forest on the borders of the Savitri and Vashishti rivers was felled, used in ship building on the creeks, or removed to the Bombay yards. At the same time, Arab traders were carrying to Zanzibar the best timber along the Ratnagiri and Muchkundi rivers. The Marathas had large ship-building yards at Malvan and Vijaydurg. But while they consumed much fine timber, the rulers thought for the future and took steps to preserve the supply. The only valuable teak reserve now left in the south Konkan, 'Bandh tivra' in the Dapoli sub-division, and the Mhan, Dhamapur, and Pendur forests at Malvan were sown by Kanhoji Angria about 1680, and in all their territories his successors stringently enforced forest conservancy. Half-way between Bankot and Rajapur, too far from Rajapur and with trade insufficient to attract the Arab ships, the lands along the south banks of the Shastri river and its tributatary the Bav were covered with fine forest, mostly teak, much of it of a large size. About the beginning of the present century the district was richly wooded. This was mostly brushwood, but on the slopes and spurs of the Sahyadris, on the undulating red soil strip that runs midway between the Sahyadri range and the sea, and on the banks of many streams, rivers, and estuaries, there was abundance of ain,kinjal, and teak of nogreat size but hard and lasting, much valued for shipbuilding. At this time the district was thinly peopled, and except round the hill forts, cultivation was scarcely possible. The Peshwa Bajirav, and after the transfer of the district (1818), the British Government imported and settled labourers; tillage gradually spread, fire and the axe cleared large tracts of dense scrub and even of fine timber, and areas nearly as large again were gradually laid bare to supply wood ashes to enrich the new fields. The Maratha Government always cared for its trees and forests. Though allowed to supply their own wants, the people seem to have been prevented from selling or exporting timber. For sometime the British Government maintained the old restrictions; but about 1829, on the suggestion of the Collector Mr. Dunlop, the forests-were, for the most part, placed at the disposal of the people. The land-holders, it was thought, would regard the forests as among their best resources, use them thriftily, and husband them with care. But with almost all, the grant was considered a charter for unlicensed, unlimited, and unguarded wood-cutting. The nearness, and the ease and cheapness of the sea carriage to Bombay tempted the people to busy themselves in felling, cutting, and carrying timber. Untold quantities of Ratnagiri wood were, year after year, sent to Bombay. The forests on the south banks of the Shastri and Bav rivers had, until Mr. Dunlop's proclamation, stood almost uninjured. After the proclamation, the land-holders
sold the standing timber as fast as they could find buyers, and fleets were built of the largest native craft. [About twenty yearsago, Mr. Crawford found several of these ship-owners in a flourishingcondition. One of them had no less than thirty-one shibads, the largest
(1100khandis) burthendownwards, built on the Shastri] The result is that for the present the Ratnagiri forests are almost destroyed.
The present tree-covered area, nearly 100,000 acres or about four per cent of the whole district, may be divided into four parts: Government reserves, private forests, cocoanut gardens, and village groves. The principal Government reserves are: Bandhtivra in the Dapoli sub-division; Vadibeldar and Mahipatgad in the Khed sub-division; Vishalgad in the Rajapur sub-division; and Mhan, Dhamapur, and Pendar in the Malvan sub-division. The private forests, some of them exceedingly well-cared for, varying from one-half to 500 acres belong to 434 persons in 162 villages. The cocoanut groves fringe the sea coast and the shores of all estuaries; they are very dense and increase in area every year. As regards the village groves of the 1337 district villages, scarcely one has not mango, oil-nut, [Undi or undini, Calophyllum inophyllum.] and jack trees in profusion. Each division, vada, of the village, Brahman, Mhar, or Chambhar, nestles in the shade of its fruit trees, while the nooks and ravines are often covered with thick clumps of wild fig, [Ficus retusa,nandruk.] banian, and other large forest trees. The following statement shows in detail the distribution of the tree-covered area of the district:—
Village plan ta- tioas.
Malvan and Vengurla
*The area of village plantations is only a rough estimate.
So far the forest denudation seems not to have affected the rainfall, nor has it so impaired the timber resources as to raise the fear that the district will suffer from want of good and cheap building material, whether for native coasting craft or for houses. For the smaller craft the local supply suffices, and for larger boats good and cheap timber can be easily brought from the Malabar coast. The abundance of cocoanut leaf mats and bamboos, makes the demand for house timber small. It is easily supplied on the spot. In one respect the loss of so much forest has harmed the district.
Their sources and upper courses stripped of trees, the torrents sweep away large quantities of soil, and this settling in the still tidal basins is filling the beds of the navigable rivers. The Savitri, along whose banks the denudation is complete, has suffered most. The Vashishti, whose banks and adjoining ravines are also bare, has become impassable for large craft, four miles lower than in former days. On the Shastri river, Sangameshvar where not thirty years ago the largest native vessels could load and unload, is now six miles from the nearest navigable point. In like manner, the Muchkundi, Rajapur, and Vijaydurg rivers have silted for miles below the once large ports of Rajapur and Kharepatan.
The measures proposed by the Collector Mr. Crawford, in November 1878, for forest conservancy and extension, were the increase of the present, and the creation of new Government reserves; the encouragement of land-holders willing to establish or extend private forests; and the reassertion of Government rights more or less abandoned in the past ten years. [Forest details are compiled from Mr. Crawford's Report, 2861, dated 21st November 1878 and from H. E. the Governor's Minute dated 31st July 1878.] As regards khoti villages, the scheme approved by Government for the extension of forest reserves is as follows: where the Khot or hereditary farmer of the village revenues is prepared to hand over assessed lands suitable for forests,. Government on their part agree to remit the assessment and to pay to the Khot one-third of the value of the forest produce when sold from time to time. [Bom, Gov. Res. 4884 of 1879.]
From an economic point of view the cocoanut palm, Cocos nucifera,
is by far the most important tree in the district. It replaces the brab or palmyra Borassus flabelliformis, and the wild date tree, Phoenix
sylvestris, which are so plentiful in the northern Konkan. The cocoanut gardens are with few exceptions situated on the sea coast, on beds of sandy deposit or of silt brought down by the rivers. The soil of the river silt being much richer, the gardens are proportionally more valuable. As a rule, trees owned by Brahmans and Marathas are kept for fruit only, while those held by Bhandaris are tapped for their juice or toddy. But many Brahmans who will not themselves engage in the tapping or liquor-trade, have no scruple about letting their trees to Bhandaris for this purpose. From the earliest times cocoanut trees have, under one form or another been subjected to special cesses, a distinction being always made between trees reserved for fruit and trees kept for tapping. In the former case the individual trees were occasionally taxed; but more often the land itself was, without reference to the number of trees standing on it, assessed at high and special rates. A special cess was under the Peshwa's rule, levied on every tree tapped for liquor, bhandar-mad, and the right to collect this cess was, under the name of katekumari, farmed in the Malvan and part of the present Devgad sub-divisions, and elsewhere collected direct by the state. The maximum leviable rate was in Malvan and Devgad 2½d. (1 a. 8 p.) a month, or 2s. 6d. (Rs. 1¼) a year on
each tree tapped. Under the new system a special license is granted to tap trees, at a fired rate for each tree, and under certain conditions as to the number of trees included in the license. The licensees are allowed to sell toddy by retail at the foot of the tree, but not to distil, the latter privilege being vested exclusively in the licensed shopkeepers for the sale of country spirits. The total area of land under cocoanut cultivation is 7894 acres. The exact number of cocoanut trees in the district cannot be stated with accuracy. But counting 100 trees for each acre of garden land, which is an extreme estimate, an approximate total of 789,400 trees is reached. The following table shews in the settled sub-divisions the number of trees for which tapping licenses were granted for the five years ending 1876-77:—
TREES LICENSED TO BE TAPPED.
Toddy-yielding trees let at from 2s. to 6s. (Rs. 1 - 3) a year, the yield varying for each tree from thirty-five to sixty-four imperial gallons (8-16 mans). Ordinarily, three kinds of palm spirits are manufactured, called respectively rasi,phul or dharti, and pheni,rdsi being the weakest and pheni the strongest spirit. In some places a still stronger spirit called duvasi is manufactured. The strength of these spirits probably varies greatly in different parts of the district. [Three samples of toddy spirits from Ratnagiri priced respectively 4 annas 11 pies(7½d.), 2 annas 7 pies 4d.), and 1 anna 11 pies (3d.) per reputed quart bottle were found by analysis to be 25-2, 60.1, and 69.7 degrees bel low proof. Report of the Chemical Analyser to Government. 1878-79, 27.] The average wholesale rates at which the farmers buy stock from the manufacturers are for the imperial gallon, tddi 2¾d. (1 a. 10 p.),rasi 8?d. (5 as. 7 p.),phulIs. 1?d. (8 as. 9 p.),pheni2s. 6¾d. (Rs. 1-4-6), and duvdsi4s. 9½d. (Rs. 2-6-4). Retail prices vary considerably according to locality. In Ratnagiri the prices formerly fixed by regulation were 1s. 11¾d. (15 as. 1.0p.) the gallon for rasi, 2s. 4d. (Rs. 1-2-8) for phul, and 4s. 3¾d. (Rs. 2-2-6) for pheni. Recently, fixed wholesale and retail prices have been abolished, and the farmers permitted to arrange their own terms with the Bhandaris on the one hand, and their customers on the other. In the villages and landing places on the coast, where toddy, both sweet and naturally fermented, is easily procurable in every Bhandari's garden, the consumption is comparatively much larger than that of distilled spirits. But in the inland districts, Where, owing to the distance from the trees the importation of
sweet juice is next to impossible, fermentation setting in within twenty' hours of its extraction, no fresh and but little fermented toddy is consumed.
The spirits are distilled in private stills, licensed to be kept at certain Bhandaris' houses under fixed conditions, as required in
proportion to the number of trees licensed to be tapped in the vicinity. One still is usually allowed for every hundred trees, and the still-pot is limited to a capacity of twenty gallons (5mans). The following estimate shews roughly the profits derived from cocoanut cultivation, the trees being kept for fruit only, and being grown on the best coast garden, agaribagayat, land. The calculation gives for each tree a net yearly profit of 2s. 4½d. (Rs. 1-3-0)-[The dotalis. are: average yearly produce of 100
cocoanut trees; 8000 cocoanuts at 8s. (Rs.4) the 100, £32 (Rs. 320); 800 sersi of fibre at 6 pies a ser £2-10 (Rs. 25); 800 palm leaves, jhamps, at 3 pies a leaf, £1-5 (Rs. 12-8); firewood £1 (Rs. 10). Total £36-15 (Rs. 367-8). Average yearly expenditure incurred on a garden containing 100 trees. Wages of a labourer for eight months in the year to water 50 trees a day on alternate days at 10s. (Rs. 5) a month, £4 (Rs. 40); yearly charge to cover original cost of a masonry well £30 (Rs. 300) and estimated to last 50 years, say 12s. (Rs. 6); yearly charge to cover original cost of a masonry duct, £2-10 (Rs. 25) to last 50 years, 1s. (8 as.); annual charge for fencing garden, 12s. 6d. (Rs. 6-4); (Goverment assessment on one acre of garden land including local fund cess, say £1-12 (Rs. 16); yearly cost of watering 100 trees, by water-lift worked by a single bullock, ropes 4s. 9d. (Rs. 2-6); 200 earthen pots 2s. (Rs. 1); sticks to fasten the pots to the rope 1s. (S as.); yearly charge for beam for the water wheel costing 10s. (Rs. 5), and lasting five years, say 2s. (Rs. 1); other timber 2s. (Rs. 1); keep of bullock £1 (Rs. 10); yearly charge for a pair of cogged wheels costing 10s. (Rs. 5), and lasting 10 years 1s. (8 as.) ; yearly charge on outlay of £2 (Rs. 20) for bullock, to work for 10 years, 4s. (Rs. 2); yearly charge on outlay of £2 (Rs. 20) for two teak posts to last 10 years, 4s. (Rs. 2); contingencies 2s. (Rs. 1); total £2 2s. 9d. (Rs. 21-6). Yearly interest; at 6 per cent on a capital of £200 (Rs. 2000) invested in land £16 (Rs. 160); grand total £25 3d. (Rs. 250-2).This scr is 28 rupees weight, or about7/10ths of a pound.] The profits from the inland gardens, dongri.vagayat, are much less. The returns from tapped trees cannot be estimated with any accuracy, but they may safely be assumed to
be considerably higher. A cocoanut tree as a rule yields no return either in fruit or juice for the first eight or ten years, though under exceptional circumstances trees occasionally bear in their sixth year. The trees live for seventy or eighty years, but do not generally bear fruit for more than sixty years. If tapped they become unproductive much sooner.
The only other liquor -yielding palm found in the district is the raimad or surmad, Caryota ureas, it is generally distributed, but is tapped only in the Dapoli sub-division, where are several scattered plantations. These trees are Government property, and their number is 2692. The right to tap them and sell the juice in its sweet state at the plantations, is yearly put up to auction.
The following is a list of the principal timber trees found in the
Teak, sagvan Teciona grandis, grows in suitable localities on the slope,
of mils, but seldom attains any size, the trees being principally useful for rafters. It is plentiful in the
Dapoli sub-division where there are some flourishing reserves,
and scarce in Khed and elsewhere throughout the district.
Blackwood, shisav, Dalbergia sissoo, sparingly distributed, is of
small size and crooked growth. Ain, Terminalia tomentosa, or
Pentaptera coriacea, grows plentifully in the Khed sub-division
and elsewhere. Kinjal, Terminalia paniculata, is also plentiful,
and like the ain much used for plough handles. Khair, Acacia
catechu, is common. Catechu, hat, extracted from the heart
wood of this tree used to be the source of a small revenue to
Government, and of employment to the aboriginal tribe of
Katkaris, who derive their name from the occupation. Nana, Lagerstraemia lanceolata, is common. Taman, Lagerstraemia
reginae, common and generally distributed near the coast, but
not found far inland, yields good timber. Its rich lilac flowers
make it a conspicuous object during the hot season. Asana, Briedelia retusa or spinosa, generally distributed, is a valuable
timber tree. Hedu, Nauclea or Adina cordifolia, common on
the coast is of large size, the wood rather soft. Arjun, Terminalia or Pentaptera arjuna, the white ain, common near
streams and rivers, grows to a very large size. Bakul, Mimusops elengi, found mostly as a cultivated tree, is preserved
chiefly for its strong smelling flowers which are used for garlands.
Kumbha, Careya arborea, is common, of small size and generally
crooked. Karambel, Olea dioica, is common on the slopes of
the Sahyadri hills. Bhendi, Thespesia populnea, grows freely
near the sea coast. The Babul, Acacia arabica, is not found
within the limits of the district, and every attempt to introduce
it has failed. Bamboos, Bambusa vulgaris and Dendrocalamus
strictus, are cultivated with great success, and the Casuarina,
suru, Casuarina equisetifolia, has been found to thrive well in
the Dapoli sub-division. The sand hills on the coast would
make excellent casuarina groves.
The commonest Fruit Trees are mango, amba, Mangifera indica, which grows luxuriantly everywhere, and is in Ratnagiri, Dapoli, and Bankot, highly cultivated by grafts. Jack, phanas, Artocarpus integrifolia, is found with the mango in every village homestead throughout the district. It is carefully cultivated everywhere and attains a large size. Dr. Gibson mentions that he has seen in the old forts at Suvarndurg and Eatnagiri jackwood pillars four feet in diameter. Undi, Calophyllum mophyllum, is common on the coast, and valuable on account of the bitter oil extracted from the seeds. The trunks of this tree are scooped out into canoes. The Indian Mangosteen, ratambi or kokam, Garcinea purpurea, generally distributed yields the vegetable concrete oil sold as Kokam. This oil is used in the southern districts as a substitute for butter. The dried acid fruit is also used in cookery and with the addition of syrup and water makes a palatable cooling drink. In the Collector's garden at Ratnagiri some trees, said to have been grafted from plants brought from the Straits, yield delicious fruit just like the imported, mangosteen. Cashewnut tree,
kaju,[The local vernacular name kdju appears to be restricted to the Konkan. The
tree is indigenous to the West Indies. It is probable that the Portuguese on its
introduction to the west coast of India, called it kaju, as a rendering of the Brazilian
acajou. The French by a similar transliteration called it cashew.] Anacardium occidental, grows plentifully especially in
the southern sub-division. The fruit is eaten, and the astringent
juice is used by native workmen as a flux for soldering metals.
Tamarind, chinch, Tamarindus indica, is common about village
sites. The Black Plum, jambul, Eugenia jambolana, is common
everywhere. Wood apple, kavanthi, Feronia elephantum, is generally distributed. Beheda, Terminalia belerica, is common. Bibva, Semecarpus anacardium, the marking nut tree and the Jujube tree, bor, Zizyphus jujuba, are common everywhere both on the coast and inland. The Gallnut tree, hirda, Terminalia chebula, grows well. The galls are used for dyeing, but in this district seldom for ink making. The bark is used for tanning. A'vli, Phyllanthus emblica, and Soapnut, ritha or ringi, Sapindus laurifolius, are also found throughout the district. Of the above trees the wood of the jack and the tamarind is used extensively as timber, while the scooped out trunks of the mango and the undi furnish serviceable canoes.
The following trees are also more or less commonly cultivated in irrigated garden lands:—
Cocoanut, naralmad, Cocos nucifera; Betelnut, supari or pophal, Areca catechu; Lime, limbu, Citrus acida; Guava, peru, Psidium pomiferum; Citron, mahalungi, Citrus medica; Plantain, kel, Musa sapientum; Pumelo or Shaddock, papnas, Citrus decumana; Pine apple, ananas, Ananas sativus; Bullock's heart or Sweet Sop, ramphal, Anona reticulata; Custard apple, sitaphal, Anona squamosa; Pomegranate, dalimb, Punica granatum.
Under the Peshwa's rule certain fruit trees were subject to a cess,
dast, varying in amount in different localities. This tax is still
levied in those sub-divisions where the survey settlement has not been introduced. There has been no fresh lenumeration of trees since the district came under British rule, and in levying the cess no account is taken of increase or decrease in their number. Permission however is required before cutting downany tree subject to the cess. The particular trees taxed in khoti villages vary slightly in different parts of the district. The following list embraces all: Jack, Artocarpus integrifolia;ratambi, Garcinia purpurea; undi, Calophyllum inophyllum; tamarind, Tamarindus indica; cashew, Anacardium occidentale; cocoanut, Cocos nucifera; and betelnut, Areca catechu. The two last are subject to the cess only when grown on other than garden lands. In Government villages where the survey settlement has not been introduced a fee is levied on the produce of all trees bearing valuable or marketable produce. As an illustration of the very minute supervision exercised by the native revenue officers under the Peshwa's rule, one or more
banyan trees, Ficus indica, in the Ratnagiri sub-division, were
subjected to the cess on account of the number of uncli, Calophyllum
inophyllum, berries dropped beneath them by a colony of flying
foxes, who had taken up their quarters there. The banyan trees
were in themselves valueless, but the fortunate owner who thus
secured a plentiful crop of oil bearing material, was not suffered to
escape paying his fair share of the spoil to the state. An average
betelnut tree will produce annually from two to three pounds of nuts,
worth from 1s. to 1s. 6d. (8 to 12 annas). The produce of jack trees
varies greatly, according to the soil and the trouble bestowed on their
cultivation. Under very favourable conditions a jack tree will produce
as many as 400 jacks, but this is exceptional. As a rule it is
found that the trees which produce the fewest jacks make up for
the deficiency in number by the increased weight of the fruit.
The average yearly profit on each jack tree may be estimated at
about 4s. (Rs. 2). Grafted mangoes are by far the most profitable of
all fruit trees. In a good season a matured tree will yield a crop of
from 800 to 1000 mangoes, which at 8s. (Rs. 4) a hundred, will sell
for from £3 4s. to £4 (Rs. 32 - 40). Fruit from specially good grafts
commands a considerably higher price. Common mango trees
yielding an equal weight of fruit do not return a yearly profit of
more than 2s. (Re. 1). Tamarind trees, which are comparatively poor
in this district, yield about half a hundredweight of fruit, worth
about 1s. (8 as.). A good cashewnut tree, Anacardium
will in Malvan, where much trouble is taken in their cultivation,
yield a yearly profit of not less than 10s. (Rs. 5). Elsewhere the profit
does not exceed 2s. (Re. 1). The undi, Calophyllum inophyllum,
yields a crop of fruit which will produce from 28 to 35 pounds of
oil worth about 9s. (Rs. 4½); while the wood apple, kavanthi, Feronia elephantum, produces 14 pounds of oil valued at 3s.
(Rs. 1½). A full sized kolcam tree, Garcinia purpurea, yields every
year from 1s. to 2s. (8 as. to Re. 1) worth of concrete oil. The
yearly produce of a gallnut tree, hirda, is, if collected, worth about
1s. (8 as.); and of a beheda, Terminalia belerica, the fruit of which
is used medicinally, about 3d. (2 as.) The avli, Phyllanthus
emblica, also yields about 3d. (2 as.) worth of fruit, which is
dried and used both for medicine and food. Plantains return about
6d. (4 as.) a tree. There are numerous other trees such as the bor, Zizyphus jujuba, whose fruit is picked and eaten, but not brought
Besides trees already enumerated, such as the mango, the tamarind, and the jack, there are many trees, useful chiefly for shade and ornament, to be found near villages and temples, and in roadside avenues. Among these are:
The Banyan, vad, Ficus indica; the pimpal, Ficus religiosa; the wild fig tree, umbar, Ficus glomerata; the bel, Ęgle marmelos; the nanaruk, Ficus retusa; the nim, Melia azadirachta; the karanj, Pongamia glabra; the satvin, Alstonia scholaris; the pangara, Erythrina indica; the silk cotton tree, shevari, Bombax malabaricum; and the beautiful bastard teak tree, palas, Butea frondosa.
The supply of firewood throughout the district is obtained chiefly from the silk cotton tree, Bombax malabaricum; the pangara, Erythrina indica; the kajra, Strychnos nux vomica; the bel, Ęgle marmelos ; the avli, Phyllanthus emblica; the chapt, Michelia champaca; the haranj, Pongamia glabra; the satvin,, Alstonia scholaris; the kandul, Stereulia urens; and other trees and shrubs too numerous to mention. The ain and the kinjal, Terminalia tormentosa and paniculata, are the principal sources of the rab or ash manure used in agriculture throughout the district. The salt marshes also produce several species of mangroves which are sold from time to time on behalf of Government and are useful for firewood.