ArengaPinnata, also scientifically known as Arengasaccharifera, is native to tropical Asian countries, such as India, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. This palm tree is a solitary one that can grow to about 12 to 20 meters in height. It has a stout trunk that is approximately 30 to 60 cm in diameter. Its trunk can be distinguished by an identifying base of broken leaves and long fibers at the top, along with a crown of leaves.
Its leaves are pinnately rising to about 6-10 meters. The base petiole has a thick sheath of stout along with fibers. The leaflets of the palm are a darker shade of green than the leaves. The fruit obtained from this amazingly beneficial palm tree is small (5 cm in diameter) and yellow. Every fruit has about 2-3 seeds in it.
Some common names of the ArengaPinnata are:
- Sugar Palm
- Arenga Palm (aren palm or arengga palm)
- Black Sugar Palm
- Kaong Palm
Where can it Be Found?
The sugar palm or Arenga palm is no more exclusive to its native countries. It has been distributed to the Pacific Islands and some parts of Africa. Though this tree originally belongs to Indonesia, it has roots in India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Guam, and Southern China. It grows well near villages. The traces of its growth have also been discovered growing wild in the forests about 1200m above the sea level.
How the Various Parts of the Arenga Pinnata are used
1. Sweet Fresh Juice
Mostly all the parts of the ArengaPinnata are used in one way or the other. However, mainly, the products derived from this plant are by tapping the stalks. Upon tapping the inflorescence stalks, an extremely aromatic and sweet fresh juice, called “Nira,” is obtained. The juice is also fermented to add to various drinks. This fermented version of the sweet aromatic juice is called Toddy. Also, vinegar obtained from the fermentation of the juice is used widely along with processed yeast from the fermented residue. Another way of using the juice is to make it more bitter so that it can be stored for a longer time. This is done by adding Garcinia leaves and Xylocarpus bark.
2. Dark Red Palm Sugar
This tree also provides a dark red palm sugar that is crystallized from the juice. It is added to various sweet dishes, drinks, and foods as preservatives.
Starch is also another popular food product obtained from this plant. It is extracted from the trunk’s pith and is used in various dishes native to Indonesia, such as bakso.
The grubs of this tree are also consumed, which are found on the fallen stems. These are consumed raw, cooked, and fried.
5. Young Leaves
Young leaves of the ArengaPinnata are consumed as palm cabbage. Young leaflets are edible and also used as a substitute for cigarette paper.
Sweetmeat, known as KolangKaling in Indonesia, is also made from this tree. The white endosperm of the immature ArengaPinnata seeds is boiled with sugar. However, all these obtainable food products are secondary to the ones obtained from tapping.
Another extremely important usage of this tree is getting various products from the fibrous material of ArengaPinnata. This method falls secondary to tapping. Fibers are found in the roots of the plant or the pith of the trunk, or the leaf stalks. However, the most useful ones are the long black ones, called ijuk in Indonesia, found around the trunk. These fibers are extremely durable in seawater – which is why they are commonly used to protect wooden poles in the water from insects.
Various other uses of fibers include making sieves, being mixed in concrete for more strength, constructing roofs, and manufacturing cleaning brushes for industrial purposes.
The leaves of this tree are also used in numerous ways. Villagers use them to build an ad hoc shelter. Also, the other unfurling leaves that are white are used as hanging ornaments in various cultural festivities. The small leaflets from ArengaPinnata are used to make baskets. The stalks are used in making brooms and sate sticks. Large leaf stalks are utilized in building up a fire. They are also used in making some musical instruments.
9. The Sap of the Tree
The tree’s sap is harvested commercially in Southeast Asia to manufacture a type of sugar, called gur in India and gula in Indonesia.
10. The Fruit of the Tree
The fruit of this tree is widely consumed in the Philippines when it is still immature. They are known as kaong in the Philippines and buajkolang-kaling or buah tap in Indonesia. These fruits are also commercially processed to be canned after being boiled in sugar syrup.
11. The Trunk of the Tree
The trunk of the ArengaPinnata is also put to good use. A soft starchy material is present at the end of the trunk, which is fraught with fibers and wood. The wood of the trunk is also used to produce attractive flooring material, furniture, and tool handles. A hollowed trunk base is very sturdy and is thus used as a heavy-duty water barrel or conduit.
12. Medicinal Uses
Some medicinal uses have also been documented for the young roots of this plant for kidney stones. Also, the toothache is claimed to be treated with the old roots of the ArengaPinnata. Sugar from the pulp of the tree is claimed to speed up the wound recovery process.
Health Benefits of Arenga Pinnata
Makes you Full
The fruit of the ArengaPinnata has a high water content along with high amounts of gelatin. This property of the fruit makes it suitable for diets after which you feel full for a long time. The feeling of fullness helps keep tabs on binge eating and gaining weight as a result of it.
Helps Relieve Pain
The fruit from this tree has also shown some promising prospects in relieving arthritis pain.
High Fiber Content
Palm fruit is known for the high content of fiber. Fiber, as we all know, is deemed very beneficial for relieving constipation. Fiber is claimed to add water to the hardened stool so that it is less painful and easier to pass.
Undocumented benefits of the sap of the palm tree include relieving itching.
Helps Prevent Osteoporosis
The beneficial effects of the fruits of this plant also include the prevention of osteoporosis. This condition occurs as a result of a lack of intake of foods that contain calcium. The fruit of this palm tree has the right amount of calcium so that it fulfills the requirement of our bones.
Some Facts about Arenga Pinnata
- The ArengaPinnata tree is considered to be an important source of biofuel (bioethanol).
- The starch extracted from the palm is called sago and is boiled to be used as hogs feed.
- The flowers of this tree are sucked on by the bees and are used to produce honey.
- The seed of the fruit is also made into a toy beetle.
- The leaf bases from this tree can also be used as fuel.
- In Malaysia, walking sticks and butts of the blow-pipes are made from the wooden stem and leaf petioles of the tree.
- The pith of the leaves of ArengaPinnata form a shape of a cup and are used for drinking from them.
Arenga Pinnata at a Glance
It might not be the most popular palm tree you have heard about, but it is definitely one of the useful ones. Every part of the tree, including the trunk, stems, leaves, sap, and fruit, is usable. It is fairly common in Southeast Asian countries. There are numerous medicinal benefits of various parts of this tree, along with a dozen health benefits. For this purpose, on-going research keeps on investigating how true these beneficial prospects are.