The principal products are millet, sesamum and sugar produced from toddy-palms in the riverain districts, which also grow rice, grain, peas and beans.
Date sugar is a valuable commercial product of the East Indies, obtained from the sap or toddy of Phoenix sylvestris, the toddy palm, a tree so closely allied to the date palm that it has been supposed to be the parent stock of all the cultivated varieties.
The collection of the sap (toddy) begins about the end of October and continues, during the cool season, till the middle of February.
The sap is drawn off from the upper growing portion of the stem, and altogether an average tree will run in a season 350 lb of toddy, from which about 35 lb of raw sugar - jaggery - is made by simple and rude processes.
At Travancore in the south, Ringeltaube, an agent of the London Missionary Society, had begun a work, especially among the Shanars or toddy drawers, which by 1840 had 15,000 Christians; and the Church Missionary Society, led by Rhenius, had equal success in Tinnevelly.
Civets, the mungoose (Herpestes), and toddy cats (Paradoxurus) are only found at the lower elevations.