Crops. Goa's main crops are typical of India's whole coastal belt. The single most important crop is Rice (commonly Orysa indica). Soon after planting in the early monsoon the fields turn a beautiful light green as the young paddy shoots from the flooded fields. It takes between 3 and 5 months to mature, and some areas with irrigation manage to get two crops a year, so you can sometimes see rice ready for harvesting in November alongside newly planted seedlings. The lending of rice is very labour intensive, planting or harvesting often being done by hand.
Sugar cane (Saccharum), a commercially important crop in some areas, looks like a large grass which grows up to 3m. The sweet juice is sometimes extracted for selling along the roadside. It produces crude brown sugar which is sold as jaggery.
Pineapples (Ananas comosus) are often grown under trees, especially under coconut palms on the coast. The fruit grows out of the middle of a rosette of long, spiky leaves.
Of the many spices grown in India, the two climbers pepper and vanilla and the grass-like cardamom are the ones most often seen.
Vanilla (Vanilla planifolium), which belongs to the orchid family, also grows up trees for support and attaches itself to the bark by small roots. It is native to South America, but grows well in Goa as in other Indian regions which have high rainfall. It is a rather fleshy looking plant, with white flowers and the long slender pods can be seen hanging down.
The Pepper vine (Piper Nigrum) is indigenous to India. As it is a vine it needs support such as a trellis or a tree. It is frequently planted up against the betel nut palm, and appears as a leafy vine with almost heart-shaped leaves. The peppercorns cluster along hanging spikes and are red when ripe. Both black and white pepper is produced from the same plant, the difference being in the processing.