Dari ekonomi domestik, aku terpikat untuk melirik para tenaga kerja mereka di ladang, penanaman mereka dan keadaan pertanian di kalangan mereka, yang seorang penulis pribumi sebut kriteria peradaban teradil.

BERAS sunting

Bahan penanaman paling penting, tak hanya di Sumatra namun seluruh wilayah Timur, adalah beras. Beras adalah bahan pangan besar yang disantap oleh seratus juta penduduk di dunia, dan meskipun utamanya terpisah oleh alam pada wilayah yang meliputi antara dan berbatasan di daerah tropis, penanaman ini mungkin lebih besar ketimbang gandum, yang orang-orang Eropa anggap sebagai unsur kehidupan universal. Di benua Asia, seperti kamu berjalan ke wilayah utara, kamu datang ke perbatasan dimana penanaman beras tiada dan ladang gandum diperdagangkan; dingin dirasakan pada iklim tersebut, yang terjadi di bagian tinggi daratan tersebut, tak bersahabat untuk produksi beras.

Beras (Oryza sativa) ketika berada dalam kulit disebut padi oleh orang-orang Melayu (dari bahasanya, kata tersebut nampaknya diambil dari perjalanannya ke belahan maritim benua India), bras ketika dipisahkan dari kulit, dan nasi usai direbus; selain diberi nama lainnya di berbagai negara yang menumbuhkan dan menyiapkannya. Perbedaan sebutan tersebut juga terjadi pada bahan pemakaian umum lainnya, dan terhitung pada prinsipnya: that amongst people whose general objects of attention are limited, those which do of necessity occupy them are liable to be more the subject of thought and conversation than in more enlightened countries where the ideas of men have an extensive range. The kinds of rice also (whether technically of different species I cannot pronounce) are very numerous, but divided in the first place into the two comprehensive classes of padi ladang or upland, from its growing in high, dry grounds, and padi sawah (vulgarly pronounced sawur or sour) or lowland, from its being planted in marshes; each of which is said to contain ten or fifteen varieties, distinct in shape, size, and colour of the grain, modes of growth, and delicacy of flavour; it being observed that in general the larger-grained rice is not so much prized by the natives as that which is small, when at the same time white and in some degree transparent.* To M. Poivre, in his Travels of a Philosopher, we are indebted for first pointing out these two classes when speaking of the agriculture of Cochin-China. The qualities of the ladang, or upland rice, are held to be superior to those of the sawah, being whiter, more nourishing, better tasted and having the advantage in point of keeping. Its mode of culture too is free from the charge of unhealthiness attributed to the latter, which is of a watery substance, is attended with less increase in boiling, and is subject to a swifter decay; but of this the rate of produce from the seed is much greater, and the certainty of the crops more to be depended on. It is accordingly cheaper and in more common use. The seed of each sort is kept separate by the natives, who assert that they will not grow reciprocally.

(*Footnote. The following sorts of dry-ground padi have come under my notice but as the names vary in different districts it is possible that some of these may be repetitions, where there is no striking difference of character:

Padi Ebbas, large grain, very common;
Andalong, short round grain, grows in whorls or bunches round the stalk, common;
Galu, light-coloured, scarce;
Sini, small grain, deep coloured, scarce;
Iju, light ish colour, scarce;
Kuning, deep yellow, crooked and pointed, fine rice;
Kukur-ballum, small, much crooked and resembling a dove's claw, from whence the name; light-coloured, highly esteemed for its delicate flavour;
Pisang, outer coat light brown, inner red, longer, smaller, and less crooked than the preceding;
Bringin, long, flattish, ribbed, pointed, dead yellow;
Bujut, shaped like the preceding, but with a tinge of red in the colour;
Chariap, short, roundish, reddish yellow;
Janggut or bearded, small, narrow, pale brown;
Jambi, small, somewhat crooked and pointed, light brown;
Laye, gibbous, light-coloured;
Musang, long, small, crooked and pointed, deep purple;
Pandan, small, light-coloured;
Pau, long, crooked and pointed, light yellow;
Puyuh, small, delicate, crooked and pointed, bright ochre;
Rakkun, roundish grain, resembles the andalong, but larger and deeper colour;
Sihong, much resembles the laye in shape and colour;
Sutar, short, roundish, bright, reddish brown;
Pulut gading or ivory, long, nearly straight, light yellow;
Pulut kechil, small, crooked, reddish yellow;
Pulut bram, long and rather large grain, purple, when fresh more nearly red;
Pulut bram lematong, in shape like the preceding, but of a dead pale colour.
Beside these four there is also a black kind of pulut.
Samples of most of these have been in my possession for a number of years, and still continue perfectly sound. Of the sorts of rice growing in low grounds I have not specimens. The padi santong, which is small, straight, and light-coloured, is held to be the finest. In the Lampong country they make a distinction of padi krawang and padi jerru, of which I know nothing more than that the former is a month earlier in growth than the latter.)


For the cultivation of upland padi the site of woods is universally preferred, and the more ancient the woods the better, on account of the superior richness of the soil; the continual fall and rotting of the leaves forming there a bed of vegetable mould, which the open plains do not afford, being exhausted by the powerful operation of the sun's rays and the constant production of a rank grass called lalang. When this grass, common to all the eastern islands, is kept under by frequent mowing or the grazing of cattle (as is the case near the European settlements) its room is supplied by grass of a finer texture. Many suppose that the same identical species of vegetable undergoes this alteration, as no fresh seeds are sown and the substitution uniformly takes place. But this is an evident mistake as the generic characters of the two are essentially different; the one being the Gramen caricosum and the other the Gramen aciculatum described by Rumphius. The former, which grows to the height of five feet, is remarkable for the whiteness and softness of the down or blossom, and the other for the sharpness of its bearded seeds, which prove extremely troublesome to the legs of those who walk among it.*

(*Footnote. Gramen hoc (caricosum) totos occupat campos, nudosque colles tam dense et laete germinans, ut e longinquo haberetur campus oryza consitus, tam luxuriose ac fortiter crescit, ut neque hortos neque sylvas evitet, atque tam vehementer prorepit, ut areae vix depurari ac servari possint, licet quotidie deambulentur...Potissimum amat solum flavum arguillosum. (Gramen aciculatum) Usus ejus fere nullus est, sed hic detegendum est taediosum ludibrium, quod quis habet, si quis per campos vel in sylvis procedat, ubi hoc gramen ad vias publicas crescit, quum praetereuntium vestibus, hoc semen quam maxime inhaeret. Rumphius volume 6 book 10 chapters 8 and 13. M. Poivre describes the plains of Madagascar and Java as covered with a long grass which he calls fatak, and which, from the analogy of the countries in other respects, I should suppose to be the lalang; but he praises it as affording excellent pasturage; whereas in Sumatra it is reckoned the worst, and except when very young it is not edible by the largest cattle; for which reason the carters and drovers are in the practice of setting fire to that which grows on the plains by the roadside, that the young shoots which thereupon shoot up, may afterwards supply food to their buffaloes.)

If old woods are not at hand ground covered with that of younger growth, termed balukar, is resorted to; but not, if possible, under the age of four or five years. Vegetation is there so strong that spots which had been perfectly cleared for cultivation will, upon being neglected for a single season, afford shelter to the beasts of the forest; and the same being rarely occupied for two successive years, the face of the country continues to exhibit the same wild appearance, although very extensive tracts are annually covered with fresh plantations. From this it will be seen that, in consequence of the fertility to which it gives occasion, the abundance of wood in the country is not considered by the inhabitants as an inconvenience but the contrary. Indeed I have heard a native prince complain of a settlement made by some persons of a distant tribe in the inland part of his dominions, whom he should be obliged to expel from thence in order to prevent the waste of his old woods. This seemed a superfluous act of precaution in an island which strikes the eye as one general, impervious, and inexhaustible forest.


On the approach of the dry monsoon (April and May) or in the course of it, the husbandman makes choice of a spot for his ladang, or plantation of upland rice, for that season, and marks it out. Here it must be observed that property in land depends upon occupancy, unless where fruit-bearing trees have been planted, and, as there is seldom any determined boundary between the lands of neighbouring villages, such marks are rarely disturbed. Collecting his family and dependents, he next proceeds to clear the ground. This is an undertaking of immense labour, and would seem to require herculean force, but it is effected by skill and perseverance. The work divides itself into two parts. The first (called tebbas, menebbas) consists in cutting down the brushwood and rank vegetables, which are suffered to dry during an interval of a fortnight, or more or less, according to the fairness of the weather, before they proceed to the second operation (called tebbang, menebbang) of felling the large trees. Their tools, the prang and billiong (the former resembling a bill-hook, and the latter an imperfect adze) are seemingly inadequate to the task, and the saw is unknown in the country. Being regardless of the timber they do not fell the tree near the ground, where the stem is thick, but erect a stage and begin to hew, or chop rather, at the height of ten or twelve, to twenty or thirty feet, where the dimensions are smaller (and sometimes much higher, taking off little more than the head) until it is sufficiently weakened to admit of their pulling it down with rattans made fast to the branches instead of ropes.* And thus by slow degrees the whole is laid low.

(*Footnote. A similar mode of felling is described in the Maison rustique de Cayenne.)

In some places however a more summary process is attempted. It may be conceived that in the woods the cutting down trees singly is a matter of much difficulty on account of the twining plants which spread from one to the other and connect them strongly together. To surmount this it is not an uncommon practice to cut a number of trees half through, on the same side, and then fix upon one of great bulk at the extremity of the space marked out, which they cut nearly through, and, having disengaged it from these lianas (as they are termed in the western world) determine its fall in such a direction as may produce the effect of its bearing down by its prodigious weight all those trees which had been previously weakened for the purpose. By this much time and labour are saved, and, the object being to destroy and not to save the timber, the rending or otherwise spoiling the stems is of no moment. I could never behold this devastation without a strong sentiment of regret. Perhaps the prejudices of a classical education taught me to respect those aged trees as the habitation or material frame of an order of sylvan deities, who were now deprived of existence by the sacrilegious hand of a rude, undistinguishing savage. But without having recourse to superstition it is not difficult to account for such feelings on the sight of a venerable wood, old, to appearance, as the soil it stood on, and beautiful beyond what pencil can describe, annihilated for the temporary use of the space it occupied. It seemed a violation of nature in the too arbitrary exercise of power. The timber, from its abundance, the smallness of consumption, and its distance in most cases from the banks of navigable rivers, by which means alone it could be transported to any distance, is of no value; and trees whose bulk, height, straightness of stem, and extent of limbs excite the admiration of a traveller, perish indiscriminately. Some of the branches are lopped off, and when these, together with the underwood, are become sufficiently arid, they are set fire to, and the country, for the space of a month or two, is in a general blaze and smoke, until the whole is consumed and the ground effectually cleared. The expiring wood, beneficent to its ungrateful destroyer, fertilises for his use by its ashes and their salts the earth which it so long adorned.

Unseasonable wet weather at this period, which sometimes happens, and especially when the business is deferred till the close of the dry or south-east monsoon, whose termination is at best irregular, produces much inconvenience by the delay of burning till the vegetation has had time to renew itself; in which case the spot is commonly abandoned, or, if partially burned, it is not without considerable toil that it can be afterwards prepared for sowing. On such occasions there are imposters ready to make a profit of the credulity of the husbandman who, like all others whose employments expose them to risks, are prone to superstition, by pretending to a power of causing or retarding rain. One of these will receive, at the time of burning the ladangs, a dollar or more from each family in the neighbourhood, under the pretence of ensuring favourable weather for their undertaking. To accomplish this purpose he abstains, or pretends to abstain, for many days and nights from food and sleep, and performs various trifling ceremonies; continuing all the time in the open air. If he espies a cloud gathering he immediately begins to smoke tobacco with great vehemence, walking about with a quick pace and throwing the puffs towards it with all the force of his lungs. How far he is successful it is no difficult matter to judge. His skill, in fact, lies in choosing his time, when there is the greatest prospect of the continuance of fair weather in the ordinary course of nature: but should he fail there is an effectual salvo. He always promises to fulfil his agreement with a Deo volente clause, and so attributes his occasional disappointments to the particular interposition of the deity. The cunning men who, in this and many other instances of conjuration, impose on the simple country people, are always Malayan adventurers, and not unfrequently priests. The planter whose labour has been lost by such interruptions generally finds it too late in the season to begin on another ladang, and the ordinary resource for subsisting himself and family is to seek a spot of sawah ground, whose cultivation is less dependent upon accidental variations of weather. In some districts much confusion in regard to the period of sowing is said to have arisen from a very extraordinary cause. Anciently, say the natives, it was regulated by the stars, and particularly by the appearance (heliacal rising) of the bintang baniak or Pleiades; but after the introduction of the Mahometan religion they were induced to follow the returns of the puisa or great annual fast, and forgot their old rules. The consequence of this was obvious, for the lunar year of the hejrah being eleven days short of the sidereal or solar year the order of the seasons was soon inverted; and it is only astonishing that its inaptness to the purposes of agriculture should not have been immediately discovered.

SOWING sunting

When the periodical rains begin to fall, which takes place gradually about October, the planter assembles his neighbours (whom he assists in turn), and with the aid of his whole family proceeds to sow his ground, endeavouring to complete the task in the course of one day. In order to ensure success he fixes, by the priest's assistance, on a lucky day, and vows the sacrifice of a kid if his crop should prove favourable; the performance of which is sacredly observed, and is the occasion of a feast in every family after harvest. The manner of sowing (tugal-menugal) is this. Two or three men enter the plantation, as it is usual to call the padi-field, holding in each hand sticks about five feet long and two inches diameter, bluntly pointed, with which, striking them into the ground as they advance, they make small, shallow holes, at the distance of about five inches from each other. These are followed by the women and elder children with small baskets containing the seed-grain (saved with care from the choicest of the preceding crop) of which they drop four or five grains into every hole, and, passing on, are followed by the younger children who with their feet (in the use of which the natives are nearly as expert as with their hands) cover them lightly from the adjacent earth, that the seed may not be too much exposed to the birds, which, as might be expected, often prove destructive foes. The ground, it should be observed, has not been previously turned up by any instrument of the hoe or plough kind, nor would the stumps and roots of trees remaining in it admit of the latter being worked; although employed under other circumstances, as will hereafter appear. If rain succeeds the padi is above ground in four or five days; but by an unexpected run of dry weather it is sometimes lost, and the field sowed a second time. When it has attained a month or six weeks' growth it becomes necessary to clear it of weeds (siang-menyiang), which is repeated at the end of two months or ten weeks; after which the strength it has acquired is sufficient to preserve it from injury in that way. Huts are now raised in different parts of the plantation, from whence a communication is formed over the whole by means of rattans, to which are attached scarecrows, rattles, clappers, and other machines for frightening away the birds, in the contrivance of which they employ incredible pains and ingenuity; so disposing them that a child, placed in the hut, shall be able, with little exertion, to create a loud clattering noise to a great extent; and on the borders of the field are placed at intervals a species of windmill fixed on poles which, on the inexperienced traveller, have an effect as terrible as those encountered by the knight of La Mancha. Such precautions are indispensable for the protection of the corn, when in the ear, against the numerous flights of the pipi, a small bird with a light-brown body, white head, and bluish beak, rather less than the sparrow, which in its general appearance and habits it resembles. Several of these lighting at once upon a stalk of padi, and bearing it down, soon clear it of its produce, and thus if unmolested destroy whole crops.

At the time of sowing the padi it is a common practice to sow also, in the interstices, and in the same manner, jagong or maize, which, growing up faster and ripening before it (in little more than three months) is gathered without injury to the former. It is also customary to raise in the same ground a species of momordica, the fruit of which comes forward in the course of two months.

REAPING sunting

The nominal time allowed from the sowing to the reaping of the crop is five lunar months and ten days; but from this it must necessarily vary with the circumstances of the season. When it ripens, if all at the same time, the neighbours are again summoned to assist, and entertained for the day: if a part only ripens first the family begin to reap it, and proceed through the whole by degrees. In this operation, called tuwei-menuwei from the instrument used, they take off the head of corn (the term of ear not being applicable to the growth of this plant) about six inches below the grain, the remaining stalk or halm being left as of no value. The tuwei is a piece of wood about six inches long, usually of carved work and about two inches diameter, in which is fixed lengthwise a blade of four or five inches, secured at the extremes by points bent to a right angle and entering the wood. To this is added a piece of very small bamboo from two to three inches long, fixed at right angles across the back of the wood, with a notch for receiving it, and pinned through by a small peg. This bamboo rests in the hollow of the hand, one end of the piece of wood passing between the two middle fingers, with the blade outwards; the natives always cutting FROM them.* With this in the right hand and a small basket slung over the left shoulder, they very expeditiously crop the heads of padi one by one, bringing the stalk to the blade with their two middle fingers, and passing them, when cut, from the right hand to the left. As soon as the left hand is full the contents are placed in regular layers in the basket (sometimes tied up in a little sheaf), and from thence removed to larger baskets, in which the harvest is to be conveyed to the dusun or village, there to be lodged in the tangkian or barns, which are buildings detached from the dwelling-houses, raised like them from the ground, widening from the floor towards the roof, and well lined with boards or coolitcoy. In each removal care is taken to preserve the regularity of the layers, by which means it is stowed to advantage, and any portion of it readily taken out for use.

(*Footnote. The inhabitants of Menangkabau are said to reap with an instrument resembling a sickle.)


Sawahs are plantations of padi in low wet ground, which, during the growth of the crop, in the rainy season between the months of October and March,* are for the most part overflowed to the depth of six inches or a foot, beyond which latter the water becomes prejudicial. Level marshes, of firm bottom, under a moderate stratum of mud, and not liable to deep stagnant water, are the situations preferred; the narrower hollows, though very commonly used for small plantations, being more liable to accidents from torrents and too great depth of water, which the inhabitants have rarely industry enough to regulate to advantage by permanent embankments. They are not however ignorant of such expedients, and works are sometimes met with, constructed for the purpose chiefly of supplying the deficiency of rain to several adjoining sawahs by means of sluices, contrived with no small degree of skill and attention to levels.

(*Footnote. In the Transactions of the Batavian Society the following mention is made of the cultivation of rice in Java. The padi sawa is sown in low watered grounds in the month of March, transplanted in April, and reaped in August. The padi tipar is sown in high ploughed lands in November, and reaped in March (earlier in the season than I could have supposed.) when sown where woods have been recently cut down, or in the clefts of the hills (klooven van het gebergte) it is named padi gaga. Volume 1 page 27.)

In new ground, after clearing it from the brushwood, reeds, and aquatic vegetables with which the marshes, when neglected, are overrun, and burning them at the close of the dry season, the soil is, in the beginning of the wet, prepared for culture by different modes of working. In some places a number of buffaloes, whose greatest enjoyment consists in wading and rolling in mud, are turned in, and these by their motions contribute to give it a more uniform consistence as well as enrich it by their dung. In other parts less permanently moist the soil is turned up, either with a wooden instrument between a hoe and a pickaxe, or with the plough, of which they use two kinds; their own, drawn by one buffalo, extremely simple, and the wooden share of it doing little more than scratch the ground to the depth of six inches; and one they have borrowed from the Chinese, drawn either with one or two buffaloes, very light, and the share more nearly resembling ours, turning the soil over as it passes and making a narrow furrow. In sawahs however the surface has in general so little consistence that no furrow is perceptible, and the plough does little more than loosen the stiff mud to some depth, and cut the roots of the grass and weeds, from which it is afterwards cleared by means of a kind of harrow or rake, being a thick plank of heavy wood with strong wooden teeth and loaded with earth where necessary. This they contrive to drag along the surface for the purpose at the same time of depressing the rising spots and filling up the hollow ones. The whole being brought as nearly as possible to a level, that the water may lie equally upon it the sawah is, for the more effectual securing of this essential point, divided into portions nearly square or oblong (called piring, which signifies a dish) by narrow banks raised about eighteen inches and two feet wide. These drying become harder than the rest, confine the water, and serve the purpose of footways throughout the plantation. When there is more water in one division than another small passages are cut through the dams to produce an equality. Through these apertures water is also in some instances introduced from adjacent rivers or reservoirs, where such exist, and the season requires their aid. The innumerable springs and rivulets with which this country abounds render unnecessary the laborious processes by which water is raised and supplied to the rice grounds in the western part of India, where the soil is sandy: yet still the principal art of the planter consists, and is required, in the management of this article; to furnish it to the ground in proper and moderate quantities and to carry it off from time to time by drains; for if suffered to be long stagnant it would occasion the grain to rot.


Whilst the sawahs have been thus in preparation to receive the padi a small, adjacent, and convenient spot of good soil has been chosen, in which the seed-grain is sown as thick as it can well lie to the ground, and is then often covered with layers of lalang (long grass, instead of straw) to protect the grain from the birds, and perhaps assist the vegetation. When it has grown to the height of from five to eight inches, or generally at the end of forty days from the time of sowing, it is taken up in showery weather and transplanted to the sawah, where holes are made four or five inches asunder to receive the plants. If they appear too forward the tops are cropped off. A supply is at the same time reserved in the seed-plots to replace such as may chance to fail upon removal. These plantations, in the same manner as the ladangs, it is necessary to cleanse from weeds at least twice in the first two or three months; but no maize or other seed is sown among the crop. When the padi begins to form the ear or to blossom, as the natives express it, the water is finally drawn off, and at the expiration of four months from the time of transplanting it arrives at maturity. The manner of guarding against the birds is similar to what has been already described; but the low ground crop has a peculiar and very destructive enemy in the rats, which sometimes consume the whole of it, especially when the plantation has been made somewhat out of season; to obviate which evil the inhabitants of a district sow by agreement pretty nearly at the same time; whereby the damage is less perceptible. In the mode of reaping likewise there is nothing different. Upon the conclusion of the harvest it is an indispensable duty to summon the neighbouring priests to the first meal that is made of the new rice, when an entertainment is given according to the circumstances of the family. Should this ceremony be omitted the crop would be accursed (haram) nor could the whole household expect to outlive the season. This superstition has been by the Mahometans judiciously engrafted on the stock of credulity in the country people.

The same spot of low ground is for the most part used without regular intermission for several successive years, the degree of culture they bestow by turning up the soil and the overflowing water preserving its fertility. They are not however insensible to the advantage of occasional fallows. In consequence of this continued use the value of the sawah grounds differs from that of ladangs, the former being, in the neighbourhood of populous towns particularly, distinct property, and of regularly ascertained value. At Natal for example those consisting between one and two acres sell for sixteen to twenty Spanish dollars. In the interior country, where the temperature of the air is more favourable to agriculture, they are said to sow the same spot with ladang rice for three successive years; and there also it is common to sow onions as soon as the stubble is burned off. Millet (randa jawa) is sown at the same time with the padi. In the country of Manna, southward of Bencoolen, a progress in the art of cultivation is discovered, superior to what appears in almost any other part of the island; the Batta country perhaps alone excepted. Here may be seen pieces of land in size from five to fifteen acres, regularly ploughed and harrowed. The difference is thus accounted for. It is the most populous district in that southern part, with the smallest extent of sea-coast. The pepper plantations and ladangs together having in a great measure exhausted the old woods in the accessible parts of the country, and the inhabitants being therein deprived of a source of fertility which nature formerly supplied, they must either starve, remove to another district, or improve by cultivation the spot where they reside. The first is contrary to the inherent principle that teaches man to preserve life by every possible means: their attachment to their native soil, or rather their veneration for the sepulchres of their ancestors, is so strong that to remove would cost them a struggle almost equal to the pangs of death: necessity therefore, the parent of art and industry, compels them to cultivate the earth.


The produce of the grounds thus tilled is reckoned at thirty for one; from those in the ordinary mode about a hundred fold on the average, the ladangs yielding about eighty, and the sawahs a hundred and twenty. Under favourable circumstances I am assured the rate of produce is sometimes so high as a hundred and forty fold. The quantity sown by a family is usually from five to ten bamboo measures or gallons. These returns are very extraordinary compared with those of our wheat-fields in Europe, which I believe seldom exceed fifteen, and are often under ten. To what is this disproportion owing? to the difference of grain, as rice may be in its nature extremely prolific? to the more genial influence of a warmer climate? or to the earth's losing by degrees her fecundity from an excessive cultivation? Rather than to any of these causes I am inclined to attribute it to the different process followed in sowing. In England the saving of labour and promoting of expedition are the chief objects, and in order to effect these the grain is almost universally scattered in the furrows; excepting where the drill has been introduced. The Sumatrans, who do not calculate the value of their own labour or that of their domestics on such occasions, make holes in the ground, as has been described, and drop into each a few grains*; or, by a process still more tedious, raise the seed in beds and then plant it out. Mr. Charles Miller, in a paper published in the Philosophical Transactions, has shown us the wonderful effects of successive transplantation. How far it might be worth the English farmer's while to bestow more labour in the business of sowing the grain, with the view of a proportionate increase in the rate of produce, I am not competent, nor is it to my present purpose, to form a judgment. Possibly as the advantage might be found to lie rather in the quantity of grain saved in the sowing than gained in the reaping, it would not answer his purpose; for although half the quantity of seed-corn bears reciprocally the same proportion to the usual produce that double the latter does to the usual allowance of seed, yet in point of profit the scale is different. To augment this it is of much more importance to increase the produce from a given quantity of land than to diminish the quantity of grain necessary for sowing it.

(*Footnote. In an address from the Bath Agricultural Society dated 12th October 1795 it is strongly recommended to the cultivators of land (on account of the then existing scarcity of grain) to adopt the method of dibbling wheat. The holes to be made either by the common dibble, or with an implement having four or more points in a frame, at the distance of about four inches every way, and to the depth of an inch and a half; dropping TWO grains into every hole. The man who dibbles is to move backwards and to be followed by two or three women or children, who drop in the grains. A bush-hurdle, drawn across the furrows by a single horse, finishes the business. About six pecks of seed-wheat per acre are saved by this method. The expense of dibbling, dropping, and covering is reckoned in Norfolk at about six shillings per acre. Times Newspaper of 20th October 1795.)


Tak ada pernyataan yang diraih dari kesuburan dari apa yang disebut Kepulauan Melayu, yang tercatat oleh otoritas M. Poivre dan penulis tersohor lainnya, dan masih dielbihi oleh produksi biji-bijian yang luar biasa, seperti yang disebutkan di atas, aku tak dapat membantu mengatakan bahwa aku pikir tanah pantai barat Sumatra secara umum lebih steril ketimbang kaya. Sebagian besar wilayahnya mengandung tanah liat merah, yang dibakar di dekatnya untuk dijadikan bata yang memanfaatkan pengaruh matahari. Sebagian kecil wilayah tersebut yang ditanam berasal dari tanah yang sebelumnya merupakan hutan yang kini digunduli, yang dedaunannya ditanami sayuran dengan kedalaman beberapa inchi; atau lainnya diubah menjadi cetakan di dekat perbukitan yang dibasuh oleh hujan tahunan. Pada kenyataannya di berbagai wilayah pantai, antara tebing dan pantai, datarannya memiliki luas yang bervariasi dan berunsur tanah berpasir, yang mungkin terbawa oleh layu dan kurang lebih tercampur dengan tanah pada masa ketika wilayah tersebut masih belum tertutupi oleh perairan; dan hal semacam itu ditemukan pada tempat-tempat yang paling diinginkan untuk menghasilkan produksi belahan dunia lainnya. Namun terdapat yang tingkat kesuburannya sebagian dan tak layak. Setiap orang yang berniat membuat taman dari jenis apapun maupun Benteng Marlborough harus mengetahui bagaimana tenaga kerja akan beralih ke bidang tanah yang diadopsi secara acak. Hal ini dibutuhkan untuk keperluan membentu tanah buatan dari kotoran, abu, sampah, dan bahan sejenis lainnya yang dapat dihasilkan. Dari sini, ia dapat menumbuhkan suplai sayur-sayuran terkecil untuk disajikan di meja. Aku melihat banyak penanaman khusus pohon-pohon kelapa, pinang, limun, dan kopi, yang dimiliki oleh pemilik berbeda, dan tidak ada orang yang membolehkan saya untuk merekoleksinya; seperti yang nampak pada ketandusan tanah, meskipun tertutup dengan rumput panjang. Ketidaksepakatan di kalangan orang-orang Eropa nyaris secara keseluruhan berkaitan dengan pertanian. Para kolonis Tionghoa yang lebih berindustri, yang mengerhakan tanah dengan rasa sakit yang tak kenal lelah, dan tidak ada kesempatan menyelamatkan dan mengumpulkan dpupk, alih-alih lebih sukses; saya dengan bahwa salah satu penanam paling handal di kalangan masyarakat ini, yang, berkat tenaga kerja dan kegigihannya, mengembangkan apa yang diperlihatkan kepadaku sebagai taman yang indah, yang dirancang untuk keuntungan serta kesenangan, menyatakan bahwa hatiku nyaris patah dalam perjuangan melawan alam; tanahnya menjadi sangat tak berbuah, malah mendatangkan ketegangan dan kerugian, yang nampaknya membuatnya diambang kebangkrutan; dan ia kemudian meminta bantuan kepada Perusahaan Hindia Timur.*

(*Catatan kaki. Some particular plants, especially the tea, Key Sun used to tell me he considered as his children: his first care in the morning and his last in the evening was to tend and cherish them. I heard with concern of his death soon after the first publication of this work, and could have wished the old man had lived to know that the above small tribute of attention had been paid to his merits as a gardener. In a letter received from the late ingenious Mr. Charles Campbell, belonging to the medical establishment of Fort Marlborough, whose communications I shall have future occasion to notice, he writes on the 29th of March 1802: "I must not omit to say a word about my attempts to cultivate the land. The result of all my labours in that way was disappointment almost as heartbreaking as that of the unlucky Chinaman, whose example however did not deter me. After many vexations I descended from the plains into the ravines, and there met with the success denied me on the elevated land. In one of these, through which runs a small rivulet emptying itself into the lake of Dusun Besar, I attempted a plantation of coffee, where there are now upwards of seven thousand plants firmly rooted and putting out new leaves." this cultivation has since been so much increased as to become an important article of commerce. It should at the same time be acknowledged that our acquaintance with the central and eastern parts of the island is very imperfect, and that much fertile land may be found beyond the range of mountains.)

The natives, it is true, without much or any cultivation raise several useful trees and plants; but they are in very small quantities, and immediately about their villages, where the ground is fertilised in spite of their indolence by the common sweepings of their houses and streets and the mere vicinity of their buildings. I have often had occasion to observe in young plantations that those few trees which surrounded the house of the owner or the hut of the keeper considerably over-topped their brethren of the same age. Every person at first sight, and on a superficial view of the Malayan countries, pronounces them the favourites of nature where she has lavished her bounties with a profusion unknown in other regions, and laments the infatuation of the people, who neglect to cultivate the finest soil in the world. But I have scarcely known one who, after a few years' residence, has not entirely altered his opinion. Certain it is that in point of external appearance they may challenge all others to comparison. In many parts of Sumatra, rarely trodden by human foot, scenes present themselves adapted to raise the sublimest sentiments in minds susceptible of the impression. But how rarely are they contemplated by minds of that temper! and yet it is alone:

For such the rivers dash their foaming tides,
The mountain swells, the vale subsides,
The stately wood detains the wandering sight,
And the rough barren rock grows pregnant with delight.

Even when there ARE inhabitants, to how little purpose as it respects them has she been profuse in ornament! In passing through places where my fancy was charmed with more luxuriant, wild, and truly picturesque views than I had ever before met with, I could not avoid regretting that a country so captivating to the eye should be allotted to a race of people who seem totally insensible of its beauties. But it is time to return from this excursion and pursue the progress of the husbandman through his remaining labours.


Different nations have adopted various methods of separating the grain from the ear. The most ancient we read of was that of driving cattle over the sheaves in order to trample it out. Large planks, blocks of marble, heavy carriages, have been employed in later times for this end. In most parts of Europe the flail is now in use, but in England begins to be superseded by the powerful and expeditious but complicated threshing machine. The Sumatrans have a mode differing from all these. The bunches of padi in the ear being spread on mats, they rub out the grain between and under their feet; supporting themselves in common for the more easy performance of this labour by holding with their hands a bamboo placed horizontally over their heads. Although, by going always unshod, their feet are extremely callous, and therefore adapted to the exercise, yet the workmen when closely tasked by their masters sometimes continue shuffling till the blood issues from their soles. This is the universal practice throughout the island.

After treading out or threshing the next process is to winnow the corn (mengirei), which is done precisely in the same manner as practised by us. Advantage being taken of a windy day, it is poured out from the sieve or fan; the chaff dispersing whilst the heavier grain falls to the ground. This simple mode seems to have been followed in all ages and countries, though now giving place, in countries where the saving of labour is a principal object, to mechanical contrivances.

In order to clear the grain from the husk, by which operation the padi acquires the name of rice (bras), and loses one half of its measured quantity, two bamboos of the former yielding only one of the latter, it is first spread out in the sunshine to dry (jumur), and then pounded in large wooden mortars (lesung) with heavy pestles (alu) made of a hard species of wood, until the outer coat is completely separated from it, when it is again fanned. This business falls principally to the lot of the females of the family, two of whom commonly work at the same mortar. In some places (but not frequently) it is facilitated by the use of a lever, to the end of which a short pestle or pounder is fixed; and in others by a machine which is a hollow cylinder or frustum of a cone, formed of heavy wood, placed upon a solid block of the same diameter, the contiguous surfaces of each being previously cut in notches or small grooves, and worked backwards and forwards horizontally by two handles or transverse arms; a spindle fixed in the centre of the lower cylinder serving as an axis to the upper or hollow one. Into this the grain is poured, and it is thus made to perform the office of the hopper at the same time with that of the upper, or movable stone, in our mills. In working it is pressed downwards to increase the friction, which is sufficient to deprive the padi of its outer coating.

The rice is now in a state for sale, exportation, or laying up. To render it perfectly clean for eating, a point to which they are particularly attentive, it is put a second time into a lesung of smaller size, and, being sufficiently pounded without breaking the grains, it is again winnowed by tossing it dexterously in a flat sieve until the pure and spotless corns are separated from every particle of bran. They next wash it in cold water and then proceed to boil it in the manner before described.


As an article of trade the Sumatran rice seems to be of a more perishable nature than that of some other countries, the upland rice not being expected to keep longer than twelve months, and the lowland showing signs of decay after six. At Natal there is a practice of putting a quantity of leaves of a shrub called lagundi (Vitex trifolia) amongst it in granaries, or the holds of vessels, on the supposition of its possessing the property of destroying or preventing the generation of weevils that usually breed in it. In Bengal it is said the rice intended for exportation is steeped in hot water whilst still in the husk, and afterwards dried by exposure to the sun; owing to which precaution it will continue sound for two or three years, and is on that account imported for garrison store at the European settlements. If retained in the state of padi it will keep very long without damaging.* The country people lay it up unthreshed from the stalk and beat it out (as we render their word tumbuk) from time to time as wanted for use or sale.

(*Footnote. I have in my possession specimens of a variety of species which were transmitted to me twelve years ago and are still perfectly sound.)

The price of this necessary of life differs considerably throughout the island, not only from the circumstances of the season but according to the general demand at the places where it is purchased, the degree of industry excited by such demand, and the aptitude of the country to supply it. The northern parts of the coast under the influence of the Achinese produce large quantities; particularly Susu and Tampat-tuan, where it is (or used to be) purchased at the rate of thirty bamboos (gallons) for the Spanish dollar, and exported either to Achin or to the settlement of Natal for the use of the Residency of Fort Marlborough. At Natal also, and for the same ultimate destination, is collected the produce of the small island of Nias, whose industrious inhabitants, living themselves upon the sweet-potato (Convolvulus batatas), cultivate rice for exportation only, encouraged by the demand from the English and (what were) the Dutch factories. Not any is exported from Natal of its actual produce; a little from Ayer Bungi; more from the extensive but neglected districts of Pasaman and Masang, and many cargoes from the country adjacent to Padang. Our pepper settlements to the northward of Fort Marlborough, from Moco-moco to Laye inclusive, export each a small quantity, but from thence southward to Kroi supplies are required for the subsistence of the inhabitants, the price varying from twelve to four bamboos according to the season. At our head settlement the consumption of the civil and military establishments, the company's LABOURERS, together with the Chinese and Malayan settlers, so much exceeds the produce of the adjoining districts (although exempted from any obligation to cultivate pepper) that there is a necessity for importing a quantity from the islands of Java and Bally, and from Bengal about three to six thousand bags annually.*

(*Footnote. This has reference to the period between 1770 and 1780 generally. So far as respects the natives there has been no material alteration.)

The rice called pulut or bras se-pulut (Oryza gelatinosa), of which mention has been made in the list above, is in its substance of a very peculiar nature, and not used as common food but with the addition of coconut-kernel in making a viscous preparation called lemang, which I have seen boiled in a green bamboo, and other juadahs or friandises. It is commonly distinguished into the white, red, and black sorts, among which the red appears to be the most esteemed. The black chiefly is employed by the Chinese colonists at Batavia and Fort Marlborough in the composition of a fermented liquor called bram or brum, of which the basis is the juice extracted from a species of palm.

COCONUT sunting

The coconut-tree, kalapa, nior (Cocos nucifera), may be esteemed the next important object of cultivation from the uses to which its produce is applied; although by the natives of Sumatra it is not converted to such a variety of purposes as in the Maldives and those countries where nature has been less bountiful in other gifts. Its value consists principally in the kernel of the nut, the consumption of which is very great, being an essential ingredient in the generality of their dishes. From this also, but in a state of more maturity, is procured the oil in common use near the sea-coast, both for anointing the hair, in cookery, and for burning in lamps. In the interior country other vegetable oils are employed, and light is supplied by a kind of links made of dammar or resin. A liquor, commonly known in India by the name of toddy, is extracted from this as well as from other trees of the palm-kind. Whilst quite fresh it is sweet and pleasant to the taste, and is called nira. After four and twenty hours it acidulates, ferments, and becomes intoxicating, in which state it is called tuak. Being distilled with molasses and other ingredients it yields the spirit called arrack. In addition to these but of trifling importance are the cabbage or succulent pith at the head of the tree, which however can be obtained only when it is cut down, and the fibres of the leaves, of which the natives form their brooms. The stem is never used for building nor any carpenter's purposes in a country where fine timber so much abounds. The fibrous substance of the husk is not there manufactured into cordage, as in the west of India where it is known by the name of coir; rattans and eju (a substance to be hereafter described) being employed for that purpose. The shell of the nut is but little employed as a domestic utensil, the lower class of people preferring the bamboo and the labu (Cucurbita lagenaria) and the better sort being possessed of coarse chinaware. If the filaments surrounding the stem are anywhere manufactured into cloth, as has been asserted, it must be in countries that do not produce cotton, which is a material beyond all comparison preferable: besides that certain kind of trees, as before observed, afford in their soft and pliable inner bark what may be considered as a species of cloth ready woven to their hands.

This tree in all its species, stages, fructification, and appropriate uses has been so elaborately and justly described by many writers, especially the celebrated Rumphius in his Herbarium Amboinense, and Van Rheede in his Hortus Malabaricus, that to attempt it here would be an unnecessary repetition, and I shall only add a few local observations on its growth. Every dusun is surrounded with a number of fruit-bearing trees, and especially the coconut where the soil and temperature will allow them to grow, and, near the bazaars or sea-port towns, where the concourse of inhabitants is in general much greater than in the country, there are always large plantations of them to supply the extraordinary demand. The tree thrives best in a low, sandy soil, near the sea, where it will produce fruit in four or five years; whilst in the clayey ground it seldom bears in less than seven to ten years. As you recede from the coast the growth is proportionably slower, owing to the greater degree of cold among the hills; and it must attain there nearly its full height before it is productive, whereas in the plains a child can generally reach its first fruit from the ground. Here, said a countryman at Laye, if I plant a coconut or durian-tree I may expect to reap the fruit of it; but in Labun (an inland district) I should only plant for my great-grandchildren. In some parts where the land is particularly high, neither these, the betel-nut, nor pepper-vines, will produce fruit at all.

It has been remarked by some writer that the date-bearing palm-tree and the coconut are never found to flourish in the same country. However this may hold good as a general assertion it is a fact that not one tree of that species is known to grow in Sumatra, where the latter, and many others of the palm kind, so much abound. All the small low islands which lie off the western coast are skirted near the sea-beach so thickly with coconut-trees that their branches touch each other, whilst the interior parts, though not on a higher level, are entirely free from them. This beyond a doubt is occasioned by the accidental floating of the nuts to the shore, where they are planted by the hand of nature, shoot up, and bear fruit; which, falling when it arrives at maturity, causes a successive reproduction. Where uninhabited, as is the case with Pulo Mego, one of the southernmost, the nuts become a prey to the rats and squirrels unless when occasionally disturbed by the crews of vessels which go thither to collect cargoes for market on the mainland. In the same manner, as we are told by Flacourt,* they have been thrown upon a coast of Madagascar and are not there indigenous; as I have been also assured by a native. Yet it appears that the natives call it voaniou, which is precisely the name by which it is familiarly known in Sumatra, being buah-nior; and v being uniformly substituted for b, and f for p, in the numerous Malayan words occurring in the language of the former island. On the other hand the singular production to which the appellation of sea-coconut (kalapa laut) has been given, and which is known to be the fruit of a species of borassus growing in one of the Seychelles Islands,** not far from Madagascar, are sometimes floated as far as the Malayan coasts, where they are supposed to be natives of the ocean and were held in high veneration for their miraculous effects in medicine until, about the year 1772, a large cargo of them was brought to Bencoolen by a French vessel, when their character soon fell with their price.

(*Footnote. Histoire de l'isle Madagascar page 127.)

(*Footnote. See a particular description of the sea-coconut with plates in the Voyage a la Nouvelle Guinee par Sonnerat page 3.)


Pinang (Areca catechu L.) atau pohon kacang sirih (sebagaimana yang sering disebutkan, namun tidak benar-benar demikian. Sirih merupakan jenis tumbuhan yang berbeda) memiliki cara penumbuhan dan penampilan yang mirip dengan kelapa. Namun, tumbuhan tersebut memiliki batang yang lebih lurus, tinggi yang lebih kecil, dan lebih anggun. Buahnya, yang memiliki banyak ragam (seperti pinang betul, pinang ambun, dan pinang wangi), memiliki kulit luar yang nyaris seukuran prem; kacang tersebut terkadang lebih kecil ketimbang pala namun lebih bulat. Buah tersebut disantap dengan daun sirih (Piper betel L.) yang tumbuhan yang diklaim memiliki daun dengan rasa yang sangat harum dan tambahan merangsang lainnya; sebuah praktek yang diharuskan setelah dideskripsikan. Penduduk asli membuat penanaman besar dari kedua tumbuhan tersebut.

BAMBU sunting

Dalam banyak pemakaian dan pemanfaatannya, bambu (Arundo bambos) memegang peringkat paling tinggi di antara tumbuhan-tumbuhan di pulau tersebut, meskipun aku tak menyadari soal dimana tumbuhan tersebut ditanam untuk tujuan domestik, yang tumbuh liar di banyak daerah dalam jumlah besar. Di daerah Batta, dan mungkin beberapa daerah pedalaman lainnya, mereka menanam spesies tertentu yang sangat tebal di sekitaran kampong-kampong atau desa-desa benteng mereka sebagai pertahanan melawan serangan musuh; lapisan pelindung yang mereka bentuk nyaris tak tertembus. Tumbuhan tersebut umum tumbuh sampai setebal kaki manusia, dan beberapa jenis setebal paha. Sambungannya dibelah dari lima belas sampai dua puluh inchi, dan panjang sekitar dua puluh sampai empat puluh kaki. Dalam seluruh bahan bangunan, bahan tersebut merupakan bahan utamanya, baik dalam keadaan menyeluruh, dan terbagi dalam bilah dan lainnya, sebagaimana yang nampak dalam pembuatan rumah-rumah penduduk asli; dan berbagai cara lainnya yang akan dipakai secara langsung atau direncanakan dalam rangkaian pengerjaan.

SUGAR-CANE sunting

The sugar-cane (tubbu) is very generally cultivated, but not in large quantities, and more frequently for the sake of chewing the juicy reed, which they consider as a delicacy, than for the manufacture of sugar. Yet this is not unattended to for home consumption, especially in the northern districts. By the Europeans and Chinese large plantations have been set on foot near Bencoolen, and worked from time to time with more or less effect; but in no degree to rival those of the Dutch at Batavia, from whence in time of peace the exportation of sugar (gula), sugar-candy (gula batu) and arrack is very considerable. In the southern parts of the island, and particularly in the district of Manna, every village is provided with two or three machines of a peculiar construction for squeezing the cane; but the inhabitants are content with boiling the juice to a kind of syrup. In the Lampong country they manufacture from the liquor yielded by a species of palm-tree a moist, clammy, imperfect kind of sugar, called jaggri in most parts of India.*

(*Footnote. This word is evidently the shakar of the Persians, the Latin saccharum, and our sugar.)

JAGGRI sunting

This palm, named in Sumatra anau, and by the eastern Malays gomuto, is the Borassus gomutus of Loureiro, the Saguerus pinnatus of the Batavian Transactions, and the cleophora of Gaertner. Its leaves are long and narrow and, though naturally tending to a point, are scarcely ever found perfect, but always jagged at the end. The fruit grows in bunches of thirty or forty together, on strings three or four feet long, several of which hang from one shoot. In order to procure the nira or toddy (held in higher estimation than that from the coconut-tree), one of these shoots for fructification is cut off a few inches from the stem, the remaining part is tied up and beaten, and an incision is then made, from which the liquor distils into a vessel or bamboo closely fastened beneath. This is replaced every twenty-four hours. The anau palm produces also (beside a little sago) the remarkable substance called iju and gomuto, exactly resembling coarse black horse-hair, and used for making cordage of a very excellent kind, as well as for many other purposes, being nearly incorruptible. It encompasses the stem of the tree, and is seemingly bound to it by thicker fibres or twigs, of which the natives made pens for writing. Toddy is likewise procured from the lontar or Borassus flabellifer, the tala of the Hindus.

SAGO sunting

The rambiya, puhn sagu, or proper sago tree, is also of the palm kind. Its trunk contains a farinaceous and glutinous pith that, being soaked, dried, and granulated, becomes the sago of our shops, and has been too frequently and accurately described (by Rumphius in particular, Volume 1 chapters 17 and 18, and by M. Poivre) to need a repetition here.

NIBONG sunting

The nibong (Caryota urens), another species of palm, grows wild in such abundance as not to need cultivation. The stem is tall, slender, and straight, and, being of a hard texture on the outer part, it is much used for posts in building the slight houses of the country, as well as for paling of a stronger kind than the bamboo usually employed. Withinside it is fibrous and soft and, when hollowed out, being of the nature of a pipe, is well adapted to the purpose of gutters or channels to convey water. The cabbage, as it is termed, or pith at the head of the tree (the germ of the foliage) is eaten as a delicacy, and preferred to that of the coconut.

NIPAH sunting

Nipah (Cocos nypa, Lour.) sebuah spesies kelapa, sangat dihargai karena dedaunannya, yang banyak dipakai sebagai penutup pada atap rumah. Biji bulir buahnya (yang disebut buah atap) dijadikan sebagai manisan, namun secara keseluruhan tak memiliki rasa.

CYCAS sunting

Paku bindu (Cycas circinalis) memiliki penampilan umum pohon kelapa muda, atau kerdil, dan mirip dengan pohon tersebut dan nibong menghasilkan kubis yang banyak dijadikan sebagai sayur pangan. Tunasnya yang lembut juga dimakan. Tangkainya pendek dan menonjol, bagian ujung dari setiap tangkai (jikalau dikatakan bercabang) bersifat runcing, dan menghasilkan kembang kuning. Istilah paku, yang diterapkan oleh orang-orang Melayu, menunjukkan bahwa mereka menganggapnya bagian dari jenis pakis (filix) dan Rumphius, yang dinamakan Sayor calappa dan Olus calappoides, menjelaskannya sebagai spesies tumbuhan osmunda. Tumbuhan tersebut digambarkan dalam Volume 1 tabel 22.

JAGUNG sunting

Jagung atau turkey-corn (Zea mays), yang disebut jagong, yang sangat umum ditabur, ditanam dalam jumlah sebagaimana bahan pangan, kecuali di daerah Batta. Sepotong jagung diambil saat masih hijau, dan diaduk pada ember, disantap selagi lezat. Cabai atau lada cayenne (capsicum), yang disebut lada panjang, dan juga lada merah, sebagaimana lada umum atau hitam, dipakai dalam kari mereka dan dengan nyaris setiap bahan pangan mereka, selalu ditemukan di tempat taman alami dan buatan. Untuk menarik perhatiannya yang sangat sedikit, akibat kebebasan yang alam berikan keinginan mereka tanpa diminta. Kunyit (curcuma) adalah akar yang umum dipakai. Dari bahan pangan tersebut, terdapat dua jenis, yang satu disebut kunyit merah, sebuah bahan umum dalam hidangan kari, pilaw, dan keringan mereka; yang lainnya, kunyit tummu (sebuah ragam dengan dedaunan berwarna dan tangkai hitam yang menyebar di bagian tengah) dijadikan pewarna kuning yang baik, dan terkadang dipakai dalam pengobatan. Jahe (Amomum zinziber) ditanam dalam jumlah sedikit. Dari jahe, terdapat juga dua jenis, alia jai (Zinziber majus) dan alia padas (Zinziber minus), yang umum disebut se-pade atau se-pudde, dari kata yang menandakan rasa pedas yang menyengat pada rempah-rempah yang mereka ekspresikan dengan perasaan panas. Tummu (Costus arabicus) dan lampuyang (Amomum zerumbet) ditemukan dalam keadaan liar dan ditanam, yang dipakai dalam pengobatan; sebagaimana juga galangale (Kaempferia galanga). Ketumbar, yang disebut katumbar, dan cardamum, puah lako, tumbuh berlimpah. Dari puah (amomum), kami mencatat banyak spesies, yang umum memiliki daun yang sangat besar, mirip dengan tanaman dan memiliki rasa yang harum seperti pohon teluk. Jintan (cuminum) terkadang menjadi bahan kari. Dari morunggei atau kelor (Guilandina moringa L. Hyperanthera moringa Wilden.), sebuah perdu tinggi dengan dedaunan yang masuk ke dalam, akarnya memiliki penampilan, rasa dan kepedasan mirip lobak pedas, dan polong panjangnya dijadikan sebagai sayur pangan; seperti halnya juga pucuk muda pringgi (Cucurbita pepo), berbagai jenis lapang atau timbun, dan lobak. Inei atau henna Arabia (Lawsonia inermis) adalah perdu dengan dedaunan hijau muda kecil, yang ditanam untuk diambil sarinya yang dikeluarkan memakai paku tangan dan kaki oleh penduduk asli. Ampalas (Delima sarmentosa dan Ficus ampelos) adalah perdu dengan kembang yang memiliki penampilan dan bau mirip dengan semak kami. Dedaunannya sangat kasar, yang dikatakan dipakai untuk pemolesan bagian akhir terhadap ukiran gading kayu, terutama pegangan dan sarung keris mereka, yang dilakukan sebagian besar tenaga kerja mereka. Daun sipit, sebuah jenis ara merambat, yang juga memiliki kualitas yang sama, dipakai untuk pemakaian yang sama. Ganja (cannabis) banyak ditanam, bukan untuk keperluan membuat tali, yang tak pernah mereka terankan, namun untuk membuat rasa mabuk yang disebut bang, yang mereka hisap dalam pipa bersama dengan tembakai. Di belahan India lainnya, minuman disiapkan dengan perasan kembang, dedauann muda dan bagian tangkai yang halus. Penanaman tembakau kecil, yang disebut penduduk asli dengan sebutan tambaku, didatangkan di setiap belahan daerah. Dedaunan dipotong saat masih hijau menjadi serpihan halus, dan kemudian dikeringkan memakai sinar matahari. Spesies tersebut sama dengan Virginian, dan, ketika jumlahnya meningkat dan orang-orang lebih paham dalam metode pengobatannya, sebuah pabrik dan perdagangan penting didirikan.


Kaluwi adalah spesies urtica atau jelatang rajutan yang disebut pulas dibuat. Tumbuhan tersebut tumbuh sampai tinggi sekitar empat kaki, yang memiliki batang yang ringan, tanpa tangkai. Ketika dipotong, dikeringkan dan dipukul, kulitnya dikupas dan kemudian dikepang sebagaimana kami membuat tali tambang. Ini membuatku sangat tertarik untuk mempelajari bahwa pengolahan tali dari tumbuhan berguna ini memancing perhatian Pemerintahan Perushaan, dan bahwa tempat perawatan kaluwi telah didirikan di Taman Botani di Kalkuta, di bawah naungan aktif dan tekun Dr. Roxburgh, yang menyatakan pendapatnya bahwa sepanjang metode harus ditemukan cara menghilangkan unsur kental yang ditemukan pada serat tali kaluwi, atau pulas, akan mempengaruhi setiap bahan lainnya. Pohon bagu (Gnetum gnemon, L.) tersebar di pantai selatan pulau tersebut. Kulit kayunya dipukul, seperti ganja, baru (Hibiscus tiliaceus), yang kemudian dirajut menjadi pakaian kasar untuk tas. Dari pisang (musa), sebuah jenis benang jahit diolah dengan pengupasan filamen-filamen dari tangkai tengah dedaunan, serta dari batang. Di beberapa tempat, benang ini dikerjakan dengan mesin tenun. Kratau, sebuah jenis mulberi kerdil (morus, foliis profunde incisis) ditanam untuk pakan ulat sutra, yang dibesarkan oleh mereka, namun tidak dalam jumlah besar, dan sutra mentah yang dihasilkan dari mereka nampaknya memiliki jumlah kualitas berbeda-beda.Aku lihat sampel-sampelnya berwarna putih alih-alih kuning, berukuran besar, berbentuk datar, yang perlu diangin-anginkan, dan filamennya nampak kasar; namun ini sebagian mungkin disebabkan oleh metode pengolahannya dari tas, yang dilakukan dengan cara merendamnya dalam air panas. Jarak (ricinus dan Palma christi), dipakai untuk diambil minyak kastornya, tersebar luas dan tumbuh liar: khususnya di dekat pantai. Bijin (Sesamum indicum) tersebar khusus di daerah-daerah pedalaman untuk dijadikan minyak, yang dipakai untuk membakar tempat minyak kelapa sehingga umum di dekat pantai.


Dalam deskripsi Urceola elastica, atau caout-chouc-vine, dari Sumatra dan Pulo Pinang, oleh Dr. W. Roxburgh, dalam Riset Asiatik Volume 5 laman 167, ia berkata, "Untuk penemuan dari tumbuhan merambat berguna tersebut, aku percaya, bersama dengan Tuan Howison, dokter bedah di Pulo Pinang; meskipun nampaknya ia tak memiliki kesempatan menentukan sifat botaninya. Bagi Dr. Charles Campbell dari Benteng Marlborough, kami membuat gratifikasi yang timbul dari pengetahuan tersebut. Sekitar dua belas bulan kemudian, aku menerima dari priyayi, dengan sebutan Tuan Fleming, spesimen-spesimen yang sangat lengkap, dalam bentuk dedaunan, bunga, dan buah. Dari situ, aku dapat mengurangkannya ke kelas dan ordo dalam sistem Linnean. Ini membentuk genus baru bernama tabernaemontana, dan kemudian masuk dalam kelas yang disebut contortae. Salah satu kualitas tumbuahn dari ordo tersebut adalah penanamannya, yang saat dipotong, muncul sebuah sari yang umumnya mirip susu dan sebagian besar menghasilkan racun alami." Dari tumbuhan lainnya, yang menghasilkan bahan yang sama, aku menerima informasi berikutnya dari Tuan Campbell, dalam surat tertanggal November 1803: "Kamu ingat tumbuhan merambat dengan bunga kekuningan kecil dan wadah biji dari bentuk oblong, yang menghasilkan satu biji; seluruh tumbuhan tersebut sangat mirip dengan caout-chouc. Karena itu, penemuannya sangat tak terkata-kata, aku memegang kebebasan untuk memajukan namamu. Tidak ada hubungan dari genus yang memiliki bentuk serupa, yang aku kirimkan spesimennya kepada Dr. Roxburgh di Bengal, yang menerbutkan catatan mengenainya dengan nama urceola. Ini disebut jintan oleh orang-orang Melayu, dan dari tiga spesiesnya, aku secara akurat membedakannya menjadi dua, jintan itam dan jintan burong, yang sangat langka. Dedaunannya berwarna hijau tua, dan bunganya berwarna kuning pucat; ini masuk dalam tetrandria, dan merupakan tumbuhan indah--meskipun penggambarannya berlebihan." Namun sayangnya, gambar maupun bagian dari koleksi bahan berhargaku untuk menjelaskan sejarah alam di wilayah penting tersebut, yang ia berikan kepadaku seturut kehendaknya, sehingga sampai ke tanganku.

GETAH sunting

Tuan Charles Miller mengamati di daerah dekat Bencoolen, getah dikeluarkan secara spontan dari pohon paty, yang nampak sangat mirip dengan gum-arabic; dan, karena masuk dalam genus tumbuhan yang sama, aku pikir tak diragukan lagi bahwa getah tersebut dipakai untuk keperluan yang sama. Dalam daftar spesies baru buatan F. Norona (Transaksi Batavia Volume 5) ia memberikan sebutan pete dari Jawa dengan nama Acacia gigantea; yang aku anggap merupakan tumbuhan yang sama.


Kachang adalah sebuah istilah yang ditujukan kepada semua jenis kacang-kacangan, yang sebagian besar ditanam; yang meliputi kachang china (Dolichos sinensis), kachang putih (Dolichos katjang), k. ka-karah (D. lignosus), k. kechil (Phaseolus radiatus), k. ka-karah gatal (Dolichos pruriens) dan lainnya. Kachang tanah (Arachis hypogaea) berasal dari kelas berbeda, disebut akar granulosa (atau, menurut beberapa orang, polong-polongan yang mengubur diri) dari sebuah tumbuhan dengan bunga papilionaceous yang berwarna kuning, dedaunan yang memiliki beberapa kemiripan dengan clover, namun hanya dua, dan, seperti hal tersebut, menyediakan pakan beras untuk sapi. Biji-bijian seringakli disantap dalam keadaan telah digoreng atau dikeringkan, sehingga umum disebut sebagai kachang goring.

UBI RAMBAT sunting

Ragam akar ubi rambat atau sejenis kentang, dengan nama umum ubi, nyaris tiada akhirnya; dioscorea umum disebut ubi kechil, dan convolvulus ubi gadang (besar); yang bagi beberapa orang menyebutnya sebagai ubi rambat Tiongkok di Bencoolen, yang memiliki berat sebesar empat puluh pound, terdiri dari jenis warna putih dan ungu. Buah trong (melongena), merupakan satu jenis terong, banyak disantap oleh penduduk asli, dipotong dan digoreng. Santapan tersebut umum dikenal dengan nama brinjals, dari kata beringelhas dalam bahasa Portugis.



PLATE 8. Marsdenia tinctoria, ATAU INDIGO BERDAUN BESAR.
E.W. Marsden delt. Swaine fct.
Diterbitkan oleh W. Marsden, 1810.

INDIGO sunting

Tarum atau indigo (Indigofera tinctoria) merupakan bahan pewarna yang mereka pakai, perdu tersebut seringkali ditemukan di tempat-tempat penanaman mereka; namun mereka tak mengolahnya menjadi bahan padat, sebagaimana praktek di tempat lain. Tangkai dan cabang direndam selama beberapa hari dalam air untuk pelunakan dan maserasi. Mereka kemudian merebusnya, dan mengerjakannya dengan tangan mereka dengan sejumlah kecil chunam (cairan encer, dari kerang), dengan dedaunan paku sabba (sebuah spesies pakis) untuk menyelaraskan warna. Setelah itu, bahan tersebut dikeringkan, dan dipakai dalam keadaan cair.

Terdapat jenis indigo lain, yang disebut di Sumatra dengan sebutannya tarum akar, yang nampaknya khas di daerah tersebut, dan sepenuhnya tak diketahui para botanis ketika ia perlihatkan dedaunannya sepulangku ke Inggris pada permulaan tahun 1780. Jenis umumnya diketahui memiliki dedaunan kecil yang tumbuh di tangkai-tangkai. Sebaliknya, ini merupakan tumbuhan merambat atau menanjak, dengan dedaunan yang memiliki panjang tiga sampai lima inchi, tipis, berwarnahijau tua dan dalam keadaan kering berubah warna menjadi noda biru. Tumbuhan tersebut memberikan pewarna yang sama sebagaimana jenis sebelumnya; mereka juga menyiapkannya dengan cara yang sama, dan dipakai tanpa pandang bulu, tanpa tumpang tindih terhadap satu sama lain, sebagaimana yang diberitahukan para penduduk asli kepadaku, terkecuali tarum akar, dengan alasan dedaunannya yang besar, menghasilkan kandungan sedimen yang lebih besar. Membayangkan tumbuhan tersebut mungkin dapat menjadi tumbuhan berharga di koloni-koloni kami, dan bahwa ini merupakan hal penting dalam contoh pertama bahwa identitas dan kelasnya dipastikan secara akurat, aku memperoleh spesimen-spesimen dari pembuahannya, dan menyimpannya dalam koleksi yang kaya dan sangat berguna dari temanku Sir Joseph Banks. Dalam sebuah makalah tentang Asclepiadeae, yang sangat terminati pada ilmu botani, yang diberitahukan oleh Tuan Robert Brown (yang menyoroti produksi-produksi sayur dari Holland Baru dan belahan timur lainnya) kepada Wernerian Society of Edinburgh, dan dicetak dalam Transaksi mereka, ia menamai genus dari tumbuhan tersebut dari namaku, MARSDENIA, dan spesies menonjolnya Marsdenia tinctoria.*

(*Catatan kaki. 2. M. caule volubili, foliis cordatis ovato-oblongis acuminatis glabriusculis basi antice glandulosis, thyrsis lateralibus, fauce barbata. Tarram akkar Marsd. Sumat. laman 78 edisi 2 Hab. In insula Sumatra. (v.s. dalam Herb. Banks.)

KASUMBA sunting

Nama kasumba meliputi dua tumbuhan yang dijadikan bahan pewarna, namun sangat berbeda satu sama lain. Kasumba (sederhananya) atau kasumba jawa, sebagaimana yang terkadang disebut Carthamus tinctorius, bunganya dipakai untuk menghasilkan warna saffron, sebagaimana namanya saat diimpor. Kasumba kling atau galuga adalah Bixa orellana, atau arnotto dari Hindia Barat. Dari tumbuahn tersebut, kapsul sepanjang sekitar satu inchi, ditutupi dengan duri lembut atau rambut, yang dibuka mirip kerang bivalve, dan berisi puluhan biji atau lebih, seukuran bulir anggur, yang ditutup tebal dengan farina kemerahan, yang merupakan bagian yang dijadikan pewarna.

Sapang, kayu Brasil, (Caesalpinia sappan), entah merupakan tumbuhan asli atau tidak, merupakan barang umum di negara-negara Melayu. Jantung tumbuhan tersebut dipotong menjadi tipis, direndam dalam air pada waktu yang lama, dan kemudian direbus, dipakai untuk memberikan warna, sebagaimana di daerah-daerah lainnya. Pakaian atau benang berulang kali dicelupkan dalam cairan tersebut, dan digantung untuk dikeringkan di antara setiap bagian yang basah sampai mendapatkan hasil yang diinginkan. Untuk menciptakan warna colour alumm perebusan dilakukan.

Dari pohon yang disebut bangkudu di beberapa daerah, dan di daerah lainnya disebut mangkudu (Morinda umbellata) bagian luar akar, dikeringkan, ditumbuk, dan direbus dalam air, menghasilkan warna merah, yang dihasilkan dari abu yang timbul dari tangkai buah dan tangkai tengah dedaunan kelapa yang dipakai. Terkadang, kulit atau kayu pohon sapang dicampur dengan akar tersebut. Kami mengamati bahwa spesies lain bangkudu, dengan dedaunan besar (Morinda citrifolia) tak menghasilkan bahan warna apapun, namun, sebagaimana yang saya lihat, pohon tersebut umum ditanam di semenanjung Melayu dan Pulo Pinang sebagai pendukung tanaman lada.


Ubar adalah pohon merah yang mirip dengan logwood (haematoxylon) dari Honduras, dan mungkin dipakai untuk keperluan yang sama. Pohon tersebut dipakai oleh penduduk asli dalam merajut tali untuk jaring ikan, dan nampak pada okir atau Tanarius major dari Rumphius, Volume 3 laman 192, dan Jambolifera rezinoso dari Lour. Fl. C. C. laman 231. Pewarna hitam umumnya terbuat dari kulit buah manggis dan kataping (Terminalia catappa). Dengan ini, pakaian biru dari barat India diubah menjadi hitam, sebagaimana yang biasanya dikenakan oleh orang-orang Melayu dari Menangkabau. Hal tersebut dikatakan agar dapat dipakai saat berada di lumpur dalam rangka mempertahankan warnanya.

Akar chapada atau champadak (Artocarpus integrifolia) yang dipotong kecil dan direbus dalam air menghasilkan pewarna kuning. Untuk memperkuat warna, kunyit kecil (kunyit tumma atau dikatakan sebagai ragam dari curcuma) dicampur dengannya, dan menyelaraskannya; namun jikalau tak menghasilkan warna kuning, maka langkah penyeduhan dan pewarnaan harus diulang berkali-kali.