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Brief Summary

    Areca catechu: Brief Summary
    provided by wikipedia
    Not to be confused with Dypsis lutescens.

    Areca catechu is a species of palm which grows in much of the tropical Pacific, Asia, and parts of east Africa. The palm is believed to have originated in the Philippines, but is widespread in cultivation and is considered naturalized in southern China (Guangxi, Hainan, Yunnan), Taiwan, India, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Ceylon, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea, many of the islands in the Pacific Ocean, and also in the West Indies.

    The species has many common names including the areca palm, areca nut palm, betel palm, Indian nut, Pinang palm, Chinese language/Mandarin: 檳榔, Tamil: கமுகு, Tagalog: bunga, Indonesia/Malay: pinang, Tamil: கமுகு "kamuhu" Malayalam:adakka, Kannada: Adike. This palm is called the betel tree because its fruit, the areca nut, is often chewed along with the betel leaf, a leaf from a vine of the family Piperaceae.

    Areca is derived from a local name from the Malabar Coast of India and catechu is from another Malay name for this palm, caccu.

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    Brief Summary
    provided by EOL authors

    Areca catechu is the most widely cultivated species in the genus Areca and has been distributed by humans throughout the tropics. As a result of its long history of domestication, the geographic origin of this palm is not known with certainty (similar uncertainty surrounds the origin of Coconut (Cocos nucifera), Peach Palm (Bactris gasipaes ), and Sugar Palm (Arenga pinnata)). However, several origins have been suggested, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Celebes (Sulawesi), Java, New Guinea, and the Andaman Islands.

    The seed of this palm ("areca nut") is used in the preparation of betel quid, generally by combining it with slaked lime (which reduces the astringency of the tannins of areca nut; releases its alkaloids, especially arecoline; and aids the overall freshening effect on the mouth, making the betel quid both more palatable and physiologically effective) and the leaf of Piper betle (betel leaf). Areca palm seed is now among the most important stimulant products in the world, used by around 200 to 600 million people globally. It is often said to rank in extent of use below only caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol among addictive plant products. When seeds of this species are unavailable,seeds of certain wild palm species such as Pinanga dicksonii in South India or Areca macrocalyx in the Moluccas and New Guinea are sometimes substituted as inferior alternatives.

    The fruit of A. catechu turns a yellow to scarlet color as it ripens and then consists of a thick fibrous pericarp, the so-called husk, that encloses the seed. Like other Areca palms, this species is an understory palm and thrives in humid tropical forests at low to medium elevations. Unlike some other members of its genus, A. catechu readily self-seeds and is tolerant of open conditions Although this species is most often encountered in village gardens, it is also grown on large-scale plantations in some areas, notably in India. Because this palm is planted mainly for betel quid production, fruits and seeds have been the main target for selection by growers, although cultivation for ornamental purposes has increased in recent years. In cultivation, variation is seen in the overall growth habit and the size, shape, color, and even taste of the fruits and seeds. (ZumbroichI 2008; Heatubun et al. 2012 and references therein)

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Comprehensive Description

Distribution

    Distribution
    provided by eFloras
    Distribution: Cultivated in the warm regions of Asia. In Pakistan it is cultivated as an ornamental plant.
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    Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
    bibliographic citation
    Flora of Pakistan Vol. 0: 4 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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    Flora of Pakistan @ eFloras.org
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    S. I. Ali & M. Qaiser
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    271044

Morphology

    Comments
    provided by eFloras
    The importance of the betel palm lies in the hard endosperm of the seed which on chewing is pleasant, soothing and narcotic. The sliced nut is wrapped in the leaf of the betel with a desh of lime and little kath, and chewed throughout India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malesia, Borneo, Indonesia and E. Africa. Excessicve chewing results in a loss of appetite and may even be carcinogenic.

    The dry expanded petioles serve as excellent ready made splints for fracture.

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    cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
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    Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
    bibliographic citation
    Flora of Pakistan Vol. 0: 4 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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    Flora of Pakistan @ eFloras.org
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    S. I. Ali & M. Qaiser
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    eFloras.org
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    eFloras
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    271041
    Description
    provided by eFloras
    Solitary Palm, up to 9 m tall, older portion of stem greyish, younger greenish; nodes prominent. Crown of 8-10 leaves, 90-135 cm long, arising from the top of the stem, leaflets unevenly divided, 2-4-ribbed, narrow, 50-55 in number, 30-45 cm long, glabrous, green, petiole smooth, unarmed, base enlarged into sheath, leaf-sheath 75-90 cm long, glabrous, smooth, green, forming a green swollen crown shaft. Inflorescence monoecious, much branched, bracts glabrous, branches thread-like, long, having zigzagged depressions, upper part of which bears small, sessile, creamy white, lemon-scented flowers in 2 ranks; male flowers numerous; sepals three, small, coriaceous; petals 0.3-0.4 cm long, coriaceous. Stamens 6, anthers linear, pistillode 3-lobed; female flowers in triads with 2 males, few at the base and axil of the branches; sepals 3, 1-1.3 cm long; petals 3, as long as the sepals. Stigmas 3, sessile. Ovary one-celled. Fruit oblong or ovoid, 4-5 cm long, orange, base enclosed with the perianths; upper wall fleshy, fibrous, seed single, endosperm ruminate.
    license
    cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
    copyright
    Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
    bibliographic citation
    Flora of Pakistan Vol. 0: 4 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
    source
    Flora of Pakistan @ eFloras.org
    editor
    S. I. Ali & M. Qaiser
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    eFloras.org
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    eFloras
    ID
    271043

Cyclicity

    Flower/Fruit
    provided by eFloras
    Fl.Per.: October. Fr.Per.: Dec.-Jan.
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    cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
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    Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA
    bibliographic citation
    Flora of Pakistan Vol. 0: 4 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
    source
    Flora of Pakistan @ eFloras.org
    editor
    S. I. Ali & M. Qaiser
    project
    eFloras.org
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    eFloras
    ID
    271040

Benefits

    Economic Significance
    provided by EOL authors

    Areca catechu (betel nut palm) is chewed for its stimulating effects because of its muscarinic agonistic alkaloids.

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    Amy Chang
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    Amy Chang
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    21618562