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by : BTF

As I Wander...

Living in tropical Malaysia, we tend to take the hot humid weather, thundery rainstorms and the spectrum of wild evergreen plants as a given.

Recently, I noticed more exotic plants making its way into landscaped home gardens, recreational parks, frontages of shopping malls and
commercial buildings.

Along kerb sides of residential streets and busy motorways, palms, trees and flowering plants make pleasant and interesting fringes.

This is a record of the various species "as I see it" for I am in awe of palms. Hence, my premise for this blog is that the global garden,
i.e. every physical garden (tended or untended), becomes a part of my, simply said, cyber palm garden. ;-)

Please feel free to share your thoughts or comments.

Thank you for visiting!

ShaShinKi - Malaysia's Online Camera Shop!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Areca Nut Palm

Botanical Name : Areca catechu

And now, for the real thing...

A lovely mid sized graceful tall straight and slender palm originating from South-east Asia in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and the Phillipines, though the name could be a combination of both Malay and India origins. Also known as the Pinang and erroneously called the Betel Nut tree because the areca nuts are commonly chewed together with the vine leaves of the betel plant.

The lush deep green crown of leaves are long, pinnate and quite crowded at the top. Therefore, popular landscape and gardening specimens for both indoors and out.  One can find them almost everywhere,
modern shopping malls to nostalgic surrounds of quaint kampong (village) thatched huts.

Commercially, it's grown as a seed crop as these seeds containing alkaloids viz. arecaine and arecoline, that when chewed, are intoxicating and also additive. So, who needs the head or bottle shops, huh?

The inflorescence with oval drupes were unfortunately out of reach by my simple, low range lens.  Nevertheless, the fallen ones, fresh and dried would be representative enough, orange gold, the size of hen eggs. The 'sun dried' ones now exposing their weather worn fibrous mesocarp.

                                                  dried areca nut slices sold by street vendor

And depending on the cultures, the fruit extracts or compounds could be used for a wide range of treatments from parasitic infections to headaches, fever and rheumatism.

Should also be great garden companion plants for homeopathy enthusiasts, I would think.

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