Family: Palmae

This genus of about 50 species of palms originates from the regions of Malaysia and Melanesia. Many of the species have now been reclassified under other genera, though all are feather-type palms and all have the distinctive 'crownshaft'. The fronds grow to no more than 2 m (6 ft) in length. Smallish sprays of flowers hear egg-shaped fruits in either orange or red.


A. catechu, betel palm, is uncommon outside the tropics, although it has become well known for its fruit, the betel nut, widely used for its narcotic properties. This slender, single-stemmed palm grows to 10-15 cm (4-6 in), with relatively few fronds, large, crowded leaflets and orange fruit, about 5 cm (2 in) long.

A. triandra has green ringed stems, 1.5 m (5 ft) long fronds, with broad leaflets, scarlet fruit, and is a popular ornamental species throughout the tropics.


In frosty Climates, grow as pot plants under warm glass in soilless compost. Outdoors, grow in well-drained soil, heavily enriched with organic matter. Provide shelter from strong wind and water well, especially during spring and summer. Propagate from fresh seed which should germinate within three months with bottom heat.


Zone 10 and above.

Ardisia      Arenga