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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Arenga pinnata (Sugar Palm or Aren)

Arenga pinnata (Sugar Palm, Arenga Palm, Areng palm, Black-fiber palm, Gomuti Palm, Aren, Enau, Irok, and Kaong), is the most important palm after Coconut, especially when measured in economic scale. This plant is another tropical palm that native to tropical Asia, as a part or wild tropical rain forest plants from eastern of India to Indonesia and the Philippines.

Dutch identified this plant as arenpalm or zuikerpalm and the German named the same as zuckerpalme.

Sugar palm provides various economical value, Aren Palm Sugar that almost similar to Palm Sugar that produced by coconut palm is one of this plant gain, Aren Palm Sugar is little bit better that common palm sugar. This palm sugar is derived from sweet liquid produced from this tree that called sap (nira), clear colored somewhat murky. Nira is not durable, and taken through the tapping of young fruit stems before flowers bloom, the tapping done after the end of the stem pieces cut in a certain way. Tapping is usually done in the morning and afternoon, then immediately processed into sugar or palm wine. Palm sugar is obtained by heating the nira continuously so that the liquid thickens and turns brown colored.

Through fermentation, nira can produce to a kind of fermented alcoholic beverages, particularly in Indonesia and named as palm wine (tuak). This drink is a favorite alcoholic beverage in certain areas.

Fruit sugar has a two or three seed core grains (endosperm) of white coated thin hard shell. Young fruit essence is still soft and somewhat translucent. Young fruit baked or boiled to remove the core, and then the seed cores soaked in limewater a few days to relieve the itching and poisonous sap. Alternatively, young fruit and steamed for three hours after the peel, core, and seed struck sprawl then soaked in water for 10-20 days. Core seeds that have been roasted traded in the market as Kolang-kaling. Moreover, fro like a mixture of ice, candied or cooked as compote.

The leaves of this tree are also useful as a roof, and are commonly used in the construction of traditional houses especially in Indonesia.

Like the leaves, the fibers of palm trees were twisted into rope. Although a bit stiff, rope fibers is quite strong, durable, and used in seawater. Fibers can also be used as a roofing material home, brush makers, and broom fibers. 

Characteristics of the tree:

Palm tree easy to grow, palm grows wild or planted, to a height of 1,400 m above sea level. Usually grow on the slopes or riverbanks.

Although the sap is very itchy, palm fruit that ripen much like animals. Luwak civet is known as one of the animals that like to eat palm fruit, and indirectly serves as animal seed dispersers’ palm. In Bangka Island, in the past, Chinese people put a trap under a palm tree that was fruiting, group to catch wild pigs that feast on the fallen palm fruits. 

Palm tree actually is a palm that has a big log and tall, can reach 25 m. Up to 65 cm in diameter, and the trunk firmly at the top covered by black fibers known as fibers. Fibers are actually part of the midrib of the leaf that surrounds the stem.

The leaves are pinnate compound, such as palm leaves, up to 5 m long with petiole up to 1.5 m. Children undulating ribbon-like leaves, up to 7 x 145 cm, dark green above and whitish because the wax layer on the bottom side.

Monoecious, separate male flowers from the female flowers in different cobs that appear in axillary panicles; ear length up to 2.5 m. Buni fruit rounded bullet shape, with a diameter of about 4 cm, three bears and three seeds, arranged in chain-like strands. Each bunch has 10 stems or more, and each stalk has about 50 grains of green fruit until brown. The fruit can not be eaten directly because the sap is very itchy.

Scientific classification:
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Magnoliophyta
  • Class: Magnoliopsida
  • Order: Sapindales
  • Family: Anacardiaceae
  • Genus: Mangifera
  • Species: M.indica