Sugar palm – Arenga pinnata

Sugar palm – Arenga pinnata

Description:

This tree grows about 15 meters high and has huge leaves up to 6 meters long. Needlelike structures stick out of the bases of the leaves. Flowers grow below the leaves and form large conspicuous dusters from which the fruits grow.

Habitat and Distribution:

This palm is native to the East Indies but has been planted in many parts off the tropics. It can be found at the margins of forests.

Edible Parts:

The chief use of this palm is for sugar. However, its seeds and the tip of its stems are a survival food. Bruise a young flower stalk with a stone or similar object and collect the juice as it comes out. It is an excellent source of sugar. Boil the seeds. Use the tip of the stems as a vegetable. CAUTION: The flesh covering the seeds may cause dermatitis. Other Uses: The shaggy material at the base of the leaves makes an excellent rope as it is strong and resists decay.