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  Areca catechu
  Family Name : Arecaceae (Palmae)

  Synonyms : Areca himalayna, Acanthophoenix areca, Areca nigra, Areca hortensis, Areca faufel

  Common Names : Areca, Betel-nut Palm, Pinang, Betel Palm, Areca-nut, Pinang Siri

  Chinese Name : 槟榔

Areca,Betel-nut Palm,Pinang,Betel Palm,Areca-nut,Pinang Siri
  • Record Info
    • Featured in '1001 Garden Plants in Singapore' Book (2ed) :
  • Life Stage & Characteristics
    • Plant Division :
      Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
      Plant Growth Form :
      Palm (Solitary Palm)
      Mode of Nutrition :
      Maximum Height :
      20 m
      Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width :
      3 m
  • Biogeography
    • Native Distribution :
  • Description & Ethnobotany
    • Plant Morphology :
      Growth Form: A handsome single-stemmed, tropical palm with broad, glossy green, feather-shaped leaves that protrude from a green crownshaft and has a narrow, upright habit.
      Trunk: Stem solitary, slender, prominently marked with annulated scars of fallen fronds, diameter 40 cm.
      Foliage: Fronds arching, semi-erect, pinnately-compound with 30-50 leaflets, curving inward with age with a few lowest leaflets often hanging, up to 2 m long.
      [Others]: Flower: Inflorescences multiple-branching, creamy-white, fragrant, emerging from the lowest leaf bases, up to 0.7 m long. Fruit: Fruits ovoid, orange to scarlet when ripe with fleshy and fibrous layer, single-seeded, 5 to 10 cm long. Seeds brown, ovoid but flattened at one end.
      Cultivation :
      It prefers deep, well-drained soils that are slightly acidic to neutral. Able withstand low to medium light but has a low tolerance for salt and wind (crown becomes tattered after strong gusts). Propagated by seeds.
      Etymology :
      The genus epithet 'Areca' is derived from a name used by local people on the Malabar coast of India to describe one of the species of this particular genus. The species epithet 'catechu' comes from a Malayan name caccu, which is used for the palm. Betel nut, one of its common names, is misleading when the leaves of Piper betle (commonly known as betel) are often chewed together with the palm's nut and edible lime. Thus by association, it has been conveniently known as betel nut.
      Ethnobotanical Uses :
      Food (Fruit & Vegetable)
      [Others]: The seed (nut) is chewed by the natives and it stains the lips and teeth red, with the excrement being hot and acrid. Seed (nut) is aromatic and astringent, and can be addictive. It is used against anaemia, fits, leucoderma, leprosy, and obesity, and is also a purgative and an iontment for nasal ulcers. In India, the nut has been used to treat tapeworms. Traditionally, the flowers are used in medicines as charms for the healing of the sick in Borneo. Chewing on the seeds (nuts) produces euphoria, heightened alertness, sweating, salivation, and an increased capacity to work, and alkaloid arecoline, which is found in the nut, accounts for these effects. However, studies have shown that there is an association with oral submucous fibrosis (OSF), pre-cancerous oral lesions and squamous cell carcinoma. Acute effects of chewing betel nuts include asthma, hypotension and tachycardia. Others: The husk fibres has been used to make thick boards, fluffy cushions and non-woven farbric, while the stems were useful building material in the villages and have been widely used for a variety of construction purposes. Tannins, which are found in betel nut, were traditionally being used for dyeing clothes, as adhesives in plywood manufacture, and for tanning leather for home use. Leaves of the betel nut can be used as a fermentation stimulant in industrial alcohol production.
  • Landscaping Features
    • Landscape Uses :
      Roadside Tree / Palm
  • Plant Care & Propagation
    • Light Preference :
      Full Sun
      Water Preference :
      Moderate Water
  • Foliar
    • Mature Foliage Colour(s) :
      Foliar Shape(s) :
      Palm Fronds (Pinnate / Feather)
      Leaf Area Index (LAI) * for Green Plot Ratio :
      2.5 (Palm - Solitary)
  • Non-Foliar & Storage
    • Trunk Type (Palm) :
      Aboveground (Single Obvious Trunk)
  • Floral (Angiosperm)
    • Flower Colour(s) :
      Cream / Off-White
  • Fruit, Seed & Spore
    • Mature Fruit Colour(s) [Angiosperms & Gymnosperms] :
The information given on this website has been compiled from reference works on medicinal plants and/or pron only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Reliance on this information is strictly at your own risk. You should always consult your physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.

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