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Useful Tropical Plants

Arenga microcarpa

Becc.

Arecaceae

+ Synonyms

Arenga gracilicaulis F.M.Bailey

Didymosperma humile Lauterb. & K.Schum.

Didymosperma microcarpum (Becc.) Warb. ex K.Schum. & Lauterb.

Didymosperma novoguineense Warb. ex K.Schum. & Lauterb.

Common Name:

Arenga microcarpa
Fruits
Photograph by: Dowe, J.L.
Image credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens
Arenga microcarpa Arenga microcarpa Arenga microcarpa Arenga microcarpa

General Information

Arenga microcarpa is an evergreen, clustering palm usually growing 4 - 8 metres tall but exceptionally to 14 metres. The unbranched stems can be 12cm in diameter, crowned by a rosette of 5 - 10 leaves[
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 plant is harvested from the wild for local use as food and a source of materials. It is sometimes cultivated locally within its range for the production of starch[
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.
]. All species in this genus have either recognized or potential ornamental value[
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 fruits of most species in this genus are poisonous and are sometimes used criminally[
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 fleshy mesocarp of the fruits usually contains many oxalate crystals, making the flesh inedible[
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.
].

Botanical References


Range

Southeast Asia - Indonesia to New Guinea and northern Australia.

Habitat

Primary rainforest, only rarely in secondary growth areas, at elevations up to 700 metres[
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.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height6.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details



Individual stems do not flower until they are mature. A flowering shoot is produced from each node on the stem, commencing with the node at the top of the plant and working down to the base. Vegetative growth ceases when the first flowering shoot is produced, and the stem dies once flowers have been produced from the basal node[
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.
,
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.
]. Multi-stemmed species, such as this one, usually produce new stems and so the plant does not die when individual stems die[
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.
].

Edible Uses

The taller Arenga palms store large quantities of starch in their stem that are later converted into sugar to be translocated to the inflorescences. The sugar can be drawn off in the juice by tapping the peduncle and rachis of the male inflorescence. By far the most important sugar producer in the genus is Arenga pinnata, but other species are used similarly. The starch of the stem can also be harvested. The starch in the stems of this species, for instance, is used in North Sulawesi to bake cookies that are known as 'bagea'[
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 apical bud (known as a 'palm heart') of all the species in this genus is edible and is used as a vegetable. However, consuming large quantities of the buds is not advised since, in some species (especially Arenga tremula) they can provoke toxic effects[
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.
]. Harvesting the apical bud also leads to the death of the individual stem, since it is unable to produce 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.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

The leaves are used for thatching and wickerwork[
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.
].

Propagation

Seed - a deep root is formed before the seedling emerges above soil level, and so the seed should be sown in individual, deep containers. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water before sowing. It can take 3 - 6 months or more before signs of growth are seen above soil level[
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.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2024-05-29. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Arenga+microcarpa>

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