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Posted at: May 12, 2018, 12:03 AM; last updated: May 12, 2018, 12:03 AM (IST)

Popular veggie lingad season is on

Popular veggie lingad season is on

Chiranjit Parmar

Lingad is a popular vegetable of Himachal Pradesh.  Its season has just begun.  You can see it being offered for sale. The beauty of this popular vegetable is that it is not cultivated. All of it is collected from the wild.  So, it comes free of cost to people who gather it from the forests. But still it is not cheap. A bunch weighing around 300 gm sells at Rs 15-20 in Mandi town.

What is lingad?

Lingad (Pteridium aquilinum) is a fern (a category of non-flowering plants) belonging to the family Polipodiaceae.  It grows at humid and shady locations, mostly along streams and springs in hill forests from 4,000 to 7,000 ft.  The young emerging hairy, blackish green fronds of this plant make the edible part. These fronds are in fact leaf stalks with developing leaves. They are fit for eating during the earlier stages when they are tender.  After that, the leaves open up, increase in size and turn woody.  Then they do not remain fit for cooking.

Lingad is not just another vegetable.  Special curries like DUM and MADHRA with exclusive recipes are made in HP from it.  These preparations are even served as speciality dishes to VIPs on occasions like marriages.  Lingad MADHRA is a very favourite dish of the members of the Sood community of HP.  They even have their exclusive recipes for lingad curries.

Lingad as source of earning

Lingad is a quite good source of earning for villagers, particularly women.  A discussion by this writer with lingad sellers in Mandi town revealed that on an average about 100 kg of lingad is sold daily at Mandi town only for a season of 80 days.  This quantity is worth Rs 2,00,000 in wholesale at an average price of Rs 25 a kg.  

Lingad has to be collected from odd and difficult places, deep inside the forests. 

Unlike other useful plants harvested from the wild, there is no decline in the natural population of lingad. 

(The writer is a Mandi-based fruit scientist) 


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