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Homestead Plant

Homestead Plant any of the plant species grown around home or human habitats. Common homestead plants are the trees and shrubs that give a lush green panoramic view of Bangladesh. The typical homestead in villages are mostly aggregated on raised platforms usually above normal rain water flooding. Almost all villages are buried in groves of tree species. Due to high population density homesteads in Bangladesh are generally fragmented and may have a land area of only about 0.16 ha.

The practice of planting varied types of plants in homesteads is an age-old practice. So far about 150 species of trees, 55 species of shrubs, and 100 species of climbers and herbs have been identified as the homestead plants of Bangladesh. The great diversity of plants of homestead serve as a source of varied economic products. Almost all the fruits, firewood, timber, fodder and household materials are collected from the homestead plants.

The traditional practice of planting a tree is rather heterogeneous and is mostly selected according to ecological zones, local demand, tradition, flood level, availability of space, and planting material. The common trees planted in southern and coastal regions are coconut, betel nut, rain tree, Manilla tamarind, mango, black berry, coral, Indian fir, Indian jujube, hijal, several species of bamboo, and fig. On the other hand, in central Bangladesh the trees most often planted are coconut, mango, jackfruit, black berry, rain tree, wild date, palmyara palm, betel nut, guava, and bamboo. In homestead above flood level, mango, jackfruit, koroi, litchi, wood apple, tamarind, carambola, olive, lime, banana, guava, papaya and several species of bamboo are commonly observed. Many types of plants which come up naturally around the lower margin of homestead also serve many household purposes. These are hijol, babla, fig, silk cotton, rattans, ebony, wild date palm, Madras thorn, Siamese rough bush, and Indian jujube.

Other than the trees, many climbers and twiners of both cultivated and wild form are seen in almost all-rural homesteads. The cultivated twiners and climbers are major sources of vegetable. These are lablab, cucumber, gourd, pumpkin and other cucurbits, and Indian spinach. Other common plants are arums, turmeric, ginger, brinjal, capsicum, okra, and several species of amaranth. Many ornamental plants also form a part of homestead plants. These are mainly planted for aesthetic reasons. The common ornamental plants are canna, queen of the night, codium, gardenia, marrygold, China rose, ixora, murrya, quisqualis, wax flower, and gul mohr.

Homestead plants provide about 70 percent of all types of wood. About 20 per cent of the area of groves are occupied by bamboo and banana plants. Although the practice of planting around homestead without thinking about the selection is an age-old practice, the planting of improved and exotic multipurpose varieties are being taken into consideration recently. The most common plants that are now being selected for homestead plants are the exotic mehogani, sissoo, acacia, and eucalyptus. [Mostafa Kamal Pasha]

See also agroecological zone.