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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!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Asian Palmyra Palm

Botanical Name : Borassus flabellifer
aka Lontar (Malay)

Sighted this pair of young Asian Palmyra palms in terracota pots gracing the southern entrance of The Curve (in front of Secret Recipe).

Also known as the Sugar Palm, Toddy Palm and Celestial Tree. This species is native to Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia right up to Indian continent where it is cultivated for its economic importance.

These are kind of large plants and may reach up to 12m tall.  The thick black trunk is hard and surrounded by dried scars of the petioles.

This species is best planted in a hot and sunny position as it thrives in the sun together with well drained soil.  Also quite tolerant of dry conditions.

The edges of the petioles are lined with short spines so do beware!
young trunk
semi-circular costa

The palmate leaves are bluish green in colour.  When mature, these could span 3m across.

Inflorescence of white blooms are followed by big, round purplish black fruits (quite like the round purple aubergine). Having glimpsed a large bunch of mature fruits along Bukit Kiara but missed the golden opportunity to take a photo!

Apparently all parts of this palm can be harvested for their various life-supporting functions and the list below is not exhaustive...only limited by one's imagination, I suppose.

fruits                             : translucent jelly like 'lychee' with a mild flavour
fibre covering jelly seed : eaten raw, boiled or roasted
sugary sap                    :  made into jaggery palm sugar
sugary sap                    : fermented into an alcoholic beverage
tree sap                        : taken as a laxative
sprouts                         : a firberous and nutritious meal when boiled
germinated seed           : cut to remove crunchy kernel which is similar to water chestnut
leaves                          : thatching, weaved mats, hats, baskets, umbrellas and writing material
trunks                          : construction material and fencing
crown                          : in India, the part where the leaves grow out from is made into a delicious cake
young plants                 : cooked or roasted as a vegetable

In many ways, similar to the Malayan coconut tree.  One you wish to be surrounded with on Lost Island.
Palmyra curry, anyone?

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