Indo-China Agriculture ARECA NUTS
We grow our areca palms from seed in our nursery for a year prior to field planting.
Our Areca Nuts
Areca nut is commonly called “betel nut” or “betel nut palm” because the nut produced by the tree is most popularly chewed with the betel leaf known as “piper betle” (Piperaceae) which is from the pepper family.
From Nursery to Field
We grow our areca palms from seed in our seedbeds and transfer the nuts to poly bags where we keep the young seedlings in our nursery for one year prior to field planting.
Based on our experience, this long duration in the nursery ensures that the trees will survive well when field planted even during the dry season, especially since this tree enjoys a fair amount of water.
A Very Famous Nut
The areca nut is popular for chewing throughout many Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, India, and the Pacific Islands, notably Papua New Guinea.
For chewing, a few slices of the nut are wrapped in a betel leaf along with calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) and may include clove, cardamom, catechu (kattha), or other spices for extra flavoring.
Betel leaf has a fresh, peppery taste, but it can also be bitter to varying degrees depending on the variety. Areca nuts are chewed with betel leaf for their effects as a mild stimulant.
Cultural and Medicinal
Areca nuts also play an important cultural role in many countries. Betel leaves and areca nuts are two items used in South Indian weddings which date back to 400BC.
Because of its medicinal value, the leaves and nuts have been mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic books. Due to these properties, elders in India and other South Asian countries chew them as a mouth freshener and as an aphrodisiac.
In Vietnam, areca nuts are associated with the “Legend of Betel and Areca” about a wife’s faithfulness to her husband and the love between two siblings. They are a symbol of love, brotherhood, family, and happiness.
Interestingly, in Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo, Thailand, and Cambodia, areca nut is used for birthing rituals. Similar cultural uses are seen in other countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Bhutan, and Taiwan.