Areca triandra (PROSEA)

From PlantUse English
Jump to: navigation, search
Logo PROSEA.png
Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Areca triandra Roxb.

Family: Palmae


Areca borneensis Becc., A. nagensis Griffith, A. polystachya (Miquel) H. Wendl.

Vernacular names

  • Wild areca palm (En)
  • Indonesia: buring utan (Lampung), pinang yang (Bangka), pinang umbut (western Kalimantan)
  • Malaysia: datea (Punan, Sarawak)
  • Cambodia: sla préi
  • Thailand: mak-chawaek, mak-nangling (south-eastern), mak-no (northern)
  • Vietnam: cau rừng, cau tam hùng.


From north-eastern India to Indo-China, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Java and the Philippines.


The seeds are sometimes used as an inferior substitute for those of areca palm ( Areca catechu L.). The palm cabbage is edible, and has been used as a fodder for water buffaloes. In the Andaman and Nicobar Islands the leaves are used for thatching and the stems as posts. The palm is occasionally planted for ornamental purposes.


A clustered or sometimes solitary, small to medium-sized, pleonanthic, monoecious palm up to 7.5 m tall; stem up to 8 cm in diameter, often with suckers at base. Leaves 120-180 cm long; sheaths forming a green crownshaft; blade pinnate with falcate-acuminate, 45-90(-120) cm × 2.5-5 cm leaflets, terminal 2-4 leaflets truncate. Inflorescence appearing on the trunk below the crown leaves, spiciform, with a lemony smell; spikes numerous, 14-17 cm long, with 1 female flower at base and many paired male flowers above; male flower sessile, calyx minute, corolla with 3 valvate petals, stamens 3; female flower sessile, much larger than the male one, calyx slightly larger than the imbricate corolla, ovary 1-locular with a single ovary and 3 sessile stigmas. Fruit an ellipsoid to ovoid drupe, 2-2.5 cm long, orange-red when ripe, beaked. Seed with ruminate endosperm. A. triandra flowers almost throughout the year; the fruit takes about 7.5 months to mature. It is found in forest margins and undergrowth of seasonally flooded alluvial forest at low altitudes. It is a highly polymorphic species, within which several varieties have been distinguished. One of these is var. bancana Scheff. occurring in Bangka and Borneo (Sarawak) where it is always solitary and has more robust rachillae than var. triandra . It may form highly sterile hybrids with A. catechu , and may be useful in breeding programmes. A. triandra can be propagated by seed, which takes 6-10 months to germinate, or by removing and planting its basal suckers. In the Philippines, A. hutchinsoniana Becc. (synonym: A. mammillata Becc.) occurs; it is a small palm (3 m tall, stem diameter 3-4 cm), possibly with similar ornamental uses as A. triandra , but the cabbage is only used medicinally as a vermifuge.

Selected sources

6, 7, 14, 25, 27, 30, 33, 34, 50, 55, 59, 62, 66, 67, 68, 74.


M.S.M. Sosef