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Chinese Plant Names | Family List | Arecaceae | Arenga

Arenga pinnata (Wurmb.) Merr.


Description from Flora of China

Saguerus pinnatus Wurmb, Verh. Batav. Genootsch. Kunst. 1: 351. 1779; Arenga gamuto Merrill; A. griffithii Seemann ex H. Wendland; A. saccharifera Labillardière; Borassus gomutus Loureiro; Caryota onusta Blanco; Gomutus rumphii Corrêa; G. saccharifer (Labillardière) Sprengel; G. vulgaris Oken; S. gamuto Houttuyn; S. rumphii (Corrêa) Roxburgh; S. saccharifer (Labillardière) Blume; Sagus gomutus (Loureiro) Perrottet.

Stems solitary, to 20 m tall, 40-60 cm in diam. Leaf petioles to 1.5 m; rachis to 5 m; pinnae to 150 per side of rachis, linear, with ears at bases, irregularly arranged and spreading in different planes; middle pinnae 120-160 cm, 5-9 cm wide at mid-point. Inflorescences to 2.5 m; male rachillae 40-50, to 40 cm; male flowers 12-15 mm; sepals ca. 5 mm; petals ca. 12 mm; stamens 60-120; female rachillae 40-50, ca. 30 cm; female flowers 10 mm; sepals ca. 2 mm; petals ca. 4 mm. Fruits greenish, yellowish, or orangish, globose to ovoid, to 7 × 6 cm.

Arenga pinnata, the "sugar palm," was formerly an important source of sugar derived from tapping the inflorescences, especially in Malaysia and Indonesia. Tapping is still carried out on a local scale. There are many other minor uses. It is relatively rare in China and only occasionally planted.

Cultivated near villages or in towns. Fujian (Xiamen), Guangdong (Guangzhou), Hainan, Yunnan [native to NE India (Assam), Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Thailand; introduced elsewhere].


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