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Useful Tropical Plants

Caryota rumphiana

Mart.

Arecaceae


The form of this plant found native in Australia is being referred to as Caryota albertii F.Muell. ex H.Wendl. In some recent works, including 'Dowe, J.L. (2010). Autralian palms: biogeography, ecology and systematics: 1-290. CSIRO Publishing'[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Common Name: Albert Palm

Caryota rumphiana
Fruiting plant
Photograph by: William J. Baker
Image credit to Palmweb
Caryota rumphiana Caryota rumphiana Caryota rumphiana Caryota rumphiana

General Information

Albert palm is an evergreen, solitary-stemmed palm tree growing up to 15 metres tall. The unbranched stem is up to 10 - 12 metres tall, topped with a rosette of leaves that can be up to 7 metres long but are more commonly 3 - 5 metres[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
].
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as food and source of materials. Plants in this genus are often grown as ornamentals[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Known Hazards

The mesocarp (flesh of the fruit) contains irritating needle-like Calcium oxalate crystals[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
].

Botanical References


Range

Southeast Asia - Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, northern Australia, Solomon Islands.

Habitat

Lowland rainforest of varying soil types, i.e. sandy, basaltic, granitic and alluvial, on a range of aspects from flat to steep slopes. Also in semi-deciduous vine forests, broad-leaved swamp forests and brackish or fresh mangroves[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height15.00 m
Growth RateFast
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

The plant can withstand occasional temperatures down to about -3°c[
423
Title
Desert Tropicals
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.desert-tropicals.com/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The main focus of the site is succulent plants, but it also contains information on a wide range of other species. Usually at least one good photograph, plus basic information about the plant and its cultivation.
].
Prefers a position in light shade[
423
Title
Desert Tropicals
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.desert-tropicals.com/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The main focus of the site is succulent plants, but it also contains information on a wide range of other species. Usually at least one good photograph, plus basic information about the plant and its cultivation.
]. Younger plants appreciate some shade, but older plants can tolerate full sun[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
]. A site sheltered from strong winds is preferred because the large leaves are fairly easily damaged[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
].
A very fast-growing palm, capable of reaching 2 metres in height in its first year of growth from seed[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
].
The tree is monocarpic, living for several years without flowering, but then flowering profusely and dying. In the tropics, plants can commence flowering when only 6 - 8 years old, flowering for about 2 years before dying. In the subtropics the plant will take somewhat longer to come into flower[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
].
Before reaching maturity, selected inflorescences are prepared for tapping by beating with a wooden stick and are then tied with a string to keep them in a proper shape. If possible, a number of inflorescences are tied together. A concoction of herbs, salt and ash may be applied to the tip of the inflorescence. Tapping begins 3 - 4 days later by making a fine angular slash. A receptacle, usually a piece of bamboo, is hung under the tapping point to catch the sap. The inflorescence is cut afresh in the morning and evening for 3 - 4 months, until none remains[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Edible Uses

Apical bud - cooked[
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.
]. Somewhat bitter[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Eaten as a steamed vegetable with rice, in soups, or fried with coconut milk and spices[
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.
]. Harvesting this bud effectively kills the tree since it is unable to make side shoots[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

The pith is extracted from the stem and used to make sago[
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.
]. Because the outside stem is very tough, the plant tends to get utilized for its starch mainly in times of food shortage[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The seeds can be used as a masticatory in place of betel nut (Areca catechu)[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

We have no specific information for this species, but the inflorescence of many members of this genus (especially the taller species) is tapped and the liquid used for making sugar, alcoholic beverages etc[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
After harvest the sap may be boiled in an open pan to produce jaggery. If the sap is allowed to ferment for 12 hours it turns into a pale or cloudy wine with a rather sour taste. Fermented toddy may still be boiled down to a thick syrup and be preserved as a treacle. The treacle can be allowed to crystallize to form a sweetmeat[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

The leaf sheath fibre ('kittul') from plants in this genus is durable and is often harvested as a source of thatch, cordage, and to make brushes and brooms[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. The fibre becomes very pliable after being steeped in linseed oil[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The woolly hairs on the leaf sheaths, petioles and rachis can be used as tinder or as wadding. They may also be used to caulk wooden boats[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The finer fibre can also be spun into fishing lines or coarse threads for sewing[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The outer part of the trunk is split and made into very durable slat flooring[
345
Title
Minor Products of Philippine Forests
Publication
 
Author
Brown. W. H.
Publisher
Bureau of Forestry, Manilla.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
A useful guide to some of the plants of the area, though terse on details. The book is out of copyright and can be legally downloaded from the Internet.
].

Propagation

Seed - sown fresh, it takes 1 - 3 months to germinate[
423
Title
Desert Tropicals
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.desert-tropicals.com/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The main focus of the site is succulent plants, but it also contains information on a wide range of other species. Usually at least one good photograph, plus basic information about the plant and its cultivation.
]. Young plants can be placed in their permanent positions when about 1 year old, by which time they can be 150 - 200cm tall[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
,
423
Title
Desert Tropicals
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.desert-tropicals.com/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The main focus of the site is succulent plants, but it also contains information on a wide range of other species. Usually at least one good photograph, plus basic information about the plant and its cultivation.
].

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