If you would like to support this site, please consider Donating.
Useful Tropical Plants

Areca catechu

L.

Arecaceae

+ Synonyms

Areca faufel Gaertn.

Areca himalayana Griff. ex H.Wendl.

Areca hortensis Lour.

Areca macrocarpa Becc.

Areca nigra Giseke ex H.Wendl.

Sublimia areca Comm. ex Mart.

Common Name: Betel Palm

Areca catechu
Plants growing in New Guinea
Photograph by: William J. Baker
Image credit to Palmweb
Areca catechu Areca catechu Areca catechu Areca catechu Areca catechu Areca catechu Areca catechu Areca catechu Areca catechu Areca catechu Areca catechu Areca catechu

General Information

Betel palm is an evergreen single-stemmed palm tree that can grow up to 30 metres tall but is more commonly around 15 metres[
335
Title
Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics : an Inventory
Publication
 
Author
Martin, F. W.; Campbell, C. W.; Rubertbe, R. M.
Publisher
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
A booklet giving terse details of almost 300 species of edible fruits, plus regional lists of Botanical and Common names for over 2,500 less well-known edible fruits of the tropics.
]. The straight, unbranched stem can be 25 - 40cm in diameter, topped by leaves up to 2 metres long[
320
Title
Trees Commonly Cultivated in SE Asia
Publication
 
Author
Jensen. M.
Publisher
FAO Regional Office, Bangkok.
Year
1999
ISBN
974-89377-5-5
Description
 
,
481
Title
Medicinal Plants in Papua New Guinea
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
World Health Organisation
Year
2009
ISBN
978-92-9061-249-0
Description
Traditional medicinal uses of 126 species from Papua New Guinea, including information on any modern research into the plants.
].
Originally native to the Philippines, the plant is now widely cultivated in the tropics of eastern Asia for its seed, which is used as a mildly narcotic stimulant[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
]. The plant also supplies a range of other useful products including thatch, fibre, oil and medicinal applications. It is sometimes grown as an ornmental[
339
Title
Agroforestry in the Pacific Islands: Systems for Sustainability
Publication
 
Author
W.C. Clarke and R.R. Thaman (Editors)
Website
http://www.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/80824e/80824E00.htm#Contents
Publisher
United Nations University Press, Tokyo
Year
1993
ISBN
92-808-0824-9
Description
The guide includes information on 100 species of plants for Agroforestry. It is also available on the web at the address given above.
].

Known Hazards

Excessive use of this plant causes profuse salivation, vomiting and stupor[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

E. Asia - Philippines

Habitat

An understorey plant of tropical, high rainfall forests, from sea level to 1,000 metres or more[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height15.00 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Plants succeed in moist tropical climates where temperatures never fall below 10°c, the average annual rainfall is 1,500mm or more and the driest month has 25mm or more rain[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
]. Prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 5,000mm, evenly distributed through the year[
320
Title
Trees Commonly Cultivated in SE Asia
Publication
 
Author
Jensen. M.
Publisher
FAO Regional Office, Bangkok.
Year
1999
ISBN
974-89377-5-5
Description
 
]. Although tolerant to moderate elevations on mountains, it generally does best at low elevations, especially near the coast[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
320
Title
Trees Commonly Cultivated in SE Asia
Publication
 
Author
Jensen. M.
Publisher
FAO Regional Office, Bangkok.
Year
1999
ISBN
974-89377-5-5
Description
 
].
Prefers a moist, well-drained soil and a position in full sun[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. Being a shade-loving species, the betel palm always does well when grown as a mixed crop with fruit trees[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6, tolerating 4.5 - 6.8[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Plants are drought sensitive[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Trees can commence bearing fruit in 6 - 10 years from seed[
335
Title
Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics : an Inventory
Publication
 
Author
Martin, F. W.; Campbell, C. W.; Rubertbe, R. M.
Publisher
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
A booklet giving terse details of almost 300 species of edible fruits, plus regional lists of Botanical and Common names for over 2,500 less well-known edible fruits of the tropics.
].
Trees can flower throughout the year[
335
Title
Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics : an Inventory
Publication
 
Author
Martin, F. W.; Campbell, C. W.; Rubertbe, R. M.
Publisher
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
A booklet giving terse details of almost 300 species of edible fruits, plus regional lists of Botanical and Common names for over 2,500 less well-known edible fruits of the tropics.
].
The sweet-scented male flowers are visited by bees and other insects for nectar, but insects have not been observed visiting the female flowers. It is thought that most of the flowers are wind pollinated[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The use of this herb is subject to legal restrictions in some countries[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

Edible Uses

Seed - raw. The seed has mild narcotic properties, it is widely used in some areas of the tropics as a masticatory, being mixed with the leaves of a pepper plant (Piper betle), a gum and, often, lime[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
,
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
]. Betel seeds contain tannins and alkaloids - these stimulate saliva flow, accelerate heart and perspiration rates, suppress hunger and offer positive protection against intestinal worms[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. The ovoid fruit is 4 - 5cm long and produced in large clusters of 200 - 300[
335
Title
Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics : an Inventory
Publication
 
Author
Martin, F. W.; Campbell, C. W.; Rubertbe, R. M.
Publisher
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
A booklet giving terse details of almost 300 species of edible fruits, plus regional lists of Botanical and Common names for over 2,500 less well-known edible fruits of the tropics.
].

Young leaves, inflorescences and the sweet inner part of the shoots are cooked and eaten as vegetables[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

The skin of the fruit is edible[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

The nut contains 8-12% fat that has characteristics comparable with hydrogenated coconut oil. It can be made edible by refining it with an alkali[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Medicinal

Betel palm is an astringent, stimulant herb that relieves hunger, abdominal discomfort and weariness. It kills intestinal parasites and other pathogens, and also has diuretic and laxative effects[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. It is used mainly in veterinary medicine to expel tapeworms[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

The seed is used against anaemia, fits, leucoderma, leprosy, obesity and worms[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It is also used in the treatment of dysentery and malaria[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. In combination with other ingredients, it is also a purgative and an ointment for nasal ulcers[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Kernels of green and mature fruits are chewed as an astringent and stimulant, often with the leaves or fruit of betel pepper (Piper betle) and slaked lime[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
320
Title
Trees Commonly Cultivated in SE Asia
Publication
 
Author
Jensen. M.
Publisher
FAO Regional Office, Bangkok.
Year
1999
ISBN
974-89377-5-5
Description
 
]. The rind is also used as a laxative in cases of constipation with flatulence and bloating, as well as a diuretic in treating oedema[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. The fruits are harvested when fully ripe, and can be dried for later use[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

The areca nut decoction as well as arecoline and its salts have been found to be effective on various parasitic helminth infections such as those caused by Taenia spp[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Experimental evidence indicates that intercropping with areca nut is not harmful to the main crop[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. When intercropped with black pepper, it acts as a live standard for training the pepper plants. Banana, cardamom, cowpea, paddy, pineapple, sorghum, vegetables and yams are also grown by farmers as intercrops with areca nut[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Other Uses

The leaves are used for thatching[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
]. In some parts of Sri Lanka the chief vessels used for carrying water are made from the leaves of this graceful palm, which, being of leather-like consistency, are easily converted into strong and durable water buckets[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The leaf sheath is made into cups, plates, and bags for holding plantains, sweetmeats, and fish[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The flower sheath is made into skullcaps, small umbrellas, and dishes[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The husk fibres are predominantly composed of cellulose with varying proportions of hemi-cellulose, lignin, pectin and protopectin. Based on various tests, it has been proposed that the husk fibre could be used in making such items as thick boards, fluffy cushions and non-woven fabrics. Trial experiments have shown that satisfactory yield and quality of brown wrapping paper could be prepared from blends of areca nut and bamboo or banana pseudostem pulp[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Areca nut husk can be a good source of furfural. Possibilities of producing activated carbon from the husks have been investigated, and yields of 25-28% have been recorded[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The plant is a good source of tannins[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. These are used for dyeing clothes, as adhesives in plywood manufacture etc[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The nut contains 8-12% fat that has characteristics comparable with hydrogenated coconut oil. It contains both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The outside portion of betel palm stem forms a useful building material in the villages, and it is widely used throughout southeast Asia for a variety of construction purposes. The timber can also be used in making a variety of utility articles such as rulers, shelves and waste paper baskets[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Nails made from areca stem are widely used in the furniture industry[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow in containers[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
]. The seed has a short viability so only fresh seed should be used[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
]. Germination usually takes place in 6 - 13 weeks[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
].

Areca nut is exclusively seed propagated. Seed nuts are allowed to ripen completely on the tree and then dried in the sun for 1-2 days before sowing 2.5 cm apart in shallow pits. Drying does not seem to improve germination rate.

Comments

José Waizel 08th December 2014 16:51
Quintans, Junior, JL. et al (2008) reported as usseful in convulsion's treatment. and other common names are: Bin lang [chinese]. Areca, bonga, nuez de areca, nuez de betel, palma catecu [spanish]. Aréquier, arec cachou, arec de l'Inde [french].
Quintans Júnior, JL., Almeida, RGSJ., Lima, TJ., Nunes, PX., Siqueira, SJ., Gomes de Oliveira, EL., Almeida, NR., de Athayde-Filho, FP., Barbosa-Filho, MJ. Plants with anticonvulsant properties - a review. Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia (Brazilian Journal of Pharmacognosy). 2008; 18 (Supl.): 798-819.

Add a Comment:

If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.