September, 2002

Palm of the Month!
Arenga pinnata (Sugar Palm)

arenga_pinnatae.jpg (120257 bytes)The fabulous Sugar Palm of the Phillipines Islands archepeligo is duly noted as one the the world's most economically important palms for products of human consumption.  The Arenga pinnata is a solitary species, related to Caryota mitis (Fishtail Palm), that produces an erect crown of verey large leaves and fibrous trunk spines.  At about 20 years of age, it begins flowering, fruiting, and will soon after, expire. 

pinnata.jpg (114794 bytes) It is cultivated as a primary source of sugar throughout Eastern Asia, and India.  The sweet juice is collected from cut flower stalks and boiled down into table sugar, or fermented into an alcoholic beverage, similar to rum.  The Sugar palm's moisture-resistant fibers were once rather important in manufacturing but have more recently been supplanted by synthetic fibers.  All fruits of Arenga species contain extremely irritating concentrations of oxylate crystals (that can cause gout-like pain!)

arenga_pinnata.jpg (64015 bytes)Some characteristics of Arenga pinnata:

Low salt tolerance
Moderate drought tolerance
Widely adaptable to many soil types
Growth in Zones 10B through 13
Moderate feeding requirement
Height 58 ft. tall
Growth Rate; Moderate
Fruit Colour Red
Human Hazards: Irritant: Oxylate crystals
Crownshaft: None

This is a beautiful, elegant, and tropical-looking palm and has rightly earned the accolade of Palm of the Month, for September, 2002!


Paul,The Palm Doctor!