1.2- Scientific name andVernaculars + Scientific name: Borassus flabelliferL. + Synomyms: Borassus sundaicusBecc. Borassus flabelliformisMurr. Borassus tunicatusLour. Pholidocarpus tunicatus(Lour.) H. Wendl. + English names: Palmyra palm, Sugar palm, Asian palmyra palm,Cambodian palm, Toddy palm, Ice apple, Fan palm, Wine palm, Tala palm, Doub palm. + French names: Borasse, Palmier de Palmyre, Rondier, Rônier. + Vietnamese names: Thot Not (Thốt Nốt), Thot Lot (Thốt Lốt) + Asean Vernaculars: - Burmese:Tadgola (inMarathi) - East Timorese : Akadiru - Indonesian:Lontar, Siwalan (in Javanese) - Lao: - - Malaysian:Lontar, Arrak, Pana Nangu (inMalayalam) - Filipino: - - Thai:Tan, Maktan, Taan tanot, Taan yai, Ton Taan. - Khmer:Tnaot, Th'not, Dom Thuout.
1.3- Origin and Distribution +Origin Borassus flabellifer, theAsian Palmyra palm,Toddy palm,Sugar palm, orCambodian palm, is native to South and Southeast Asia, in the Indomalaya ecozone. It is palm tree, one of the Sugar palm group, found from Indonesia to Pakistan. It grows wild from the Persian Gulf to the Cambodian-Vietnamese border. + Distribution Now it is commonly cultivated in the South and Southeast Asia includingNepal, India, Bangladesh,Sri Lanka,Cambodia, Laos,Burma,Vietnam,Malaysia,Indonesiaand thePhilippinesand occasionally in other warm regions including Hawaii and southern Florida. It is a palm tree, one of the sugar palm group.
2- Characteristics of Sugar palm tree and fruits
2.1- Description + The trunk: Sugar palm or Palmira (Borassus flabellifer) is a large palm tree, usually 10 to 25 meters high, but sometimes growing up to 30 meters tall. The very large trunk resembles that of the coconut tree and is ringed with leaf scars. Sugar palm tree grows slowly in the beginning but then grow faster with age. It may take 20 years until the first harvest, but the tree can get more than a hundred years old. The trunk may have a circumference of 1.7m at the base. The trunk of this tree is like a coconut's, but the leaves are quite different so the two palms cannot be confused. + The leaves: The crown of the tree is a cluster of leaves with a fan form. Canopy of green-bluish leaves has several dozen fronds spreading 3 meters (9.8 ft) across. There may be 25-40 fresh leaves. They are leathery, gray green, fan-shaped, 1-3 m wide, folded along the midrib; are divided to the center into 60-80 linear- lanceolate, 0.6-1.2 m long, marginally spiny segments. Their strong, grooved petioles, 1-1.2 m long, black at the base and black-margined when young, are edged with hard spines. + The flowers: The flowers are produced in big clusters of long, white string-like inflorences. The plants are dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants; pollination is by both wind and insect. The flowers are small, in densely clustered spikes, followed by large, brown, roundish fruits. + The fruits: Each palm may bear 6-12 bunches of about 50 fruits per year and it can has 350 fruits/tree in the best crop. Fruits grow in clusters and have a superficial resemblance to coconuts. The fruits are round and have a dark-brown color on the bottom part and a green color on the top. The color changes to dark-yellow when it ripens. The outer covering is smooth, thin, leathery, and brown, turning nearly black after harvest. Inside is a juicy mass of long, tough, coarse, white fibers coated with yellow or orange pulp. Within the mature seed is a solid white kernel which resembles coconut meat but is much harder. When the fruit is very young, this kernel is hollow, soft as jelly, and translucent like ice, and is accompanied by a watery liquid, sweetish and potable. When cut, the top part of the fruit reveal three sweet, translucent, pale-white jelly seed sockets containing water fluid inside. Fruits have a diameter of 13-20 centimeters. Fruits are harvested by hand. Climb the tree and cut clusters of fruits with a hatchet or big knife. +The seeds: When cut, the top part of the fruit reveal three sweet, translucent, pale-white jelly seed sockets containing water fluid inside. Botanically, the seed of Sugar palm fruits includes the endocarp and endosperm.
The Sugar Palm tree
Sugar Palm fruits
Inside of Sugar Palm fruit
Sugar palm seeds and endosperm
Sugar Palm fresh fruits
2.2- Nutrition of Sugar palm fruit and sugar + Nutrition of Sugar Palm fruit The fruit is loaded with minerals, especially phosphorous and calcium. It is also rich in Vitamin A, B and C, Iron, Zinc, Potassium and lots more which is good for the human body. With absolutely no fat and protein, it is a boon for those on a diet. Nutritional Value (per 100g) of edible part of fresh fruit Calories: 43 kcal Water: 87.6 g Protein: 0.8 g. Fat: 0.1 g. Carbs: 10.9 g. Fiber: 1 g. Calcium: 27 mg. Phosphorous: 30 mg Iron: 1 mg. Thiamin: 0.04 mg. Riboflavin: 0.02 mg. Niacin: 0.3 mg. Vitamin C : 5 mg. Source: Nutritional value of palms, Atchley (1984). + Nutrition of Sugar Sugar made from young inflorescences a sweet sap (toddy) is much more nutritious than crude cane sugar, containing 1.04% protein, 0.19% fat, 76.86% sucrose, 1.66% glucose, 3.15% total minerals, 0.861 % calcium, 0.052% phosphorus; also 11.01 mg iron per 100 g and 0.767 mg of copper per 100 g. The fresh sap is reportedly a good source of vitamin B complex. Source: Nutritional value of palms, Atchley (1984).
2.3- The Uses of Sugar Palm 2.3.1- Food Uses 1- The uses of Sugar Palm fruits The fruits of the Sugar Palm resemble coconuts from far away, but on closer observation they are different. The fruits grow in clusters on tall pretty looking palm trees. The Sugar Palm fruits are three-sided when young, becoming rounded or more or less oval, 12-15 cm wide, and capped at the base with overlapping sepals. The outer covering is smooth, thin, leathery, and brown, turning nearly black after harvest. Inside is a juicy mass of long, tough, coarse, white fibers coated with yellow or orange pulp. When the fruit is very young, this kernel is hollow, soft as jelly, and translucent like ice, and is accompanied by a watery liquid, sweetish and potable. Within the mature seed is a solid white kernel which resembles coconut meat but is much harder. The top portion of the fruit must be cut off to reveal the three sweet jelly seed sockets, translucent pale-white, similar to that of thelycheebut with a milder flavor and no pit. The jelly part of the fruit is covered with a thin, yellowish-brown skin. These are known to contain watery fluid inside the fleshy white body. Small fruits are pickled in vinegar. In April and May in India, the shell of the seed can be punctured with a hard tube and the sweetish liquid sucked out for refreshment like coconut water. Immature seeds are often sold in the markets. The kernels of such young seeds are obtained by roasting the seeds and then breaking them open. The half-grown, soft-shelled seeds for the hollow jelly-like kernels are sliced longitudinally to form attractive loops, or rings and these, as well as the whole kernels, are canned in clear, mildly-sweetened water, and exported. The pulp of mature fruits is sucked directly from the wiry fibers of roasted, peeled fruits. It is eaten alone or with the starch from the palmyra seedlings. The fresh pulp is reportedly rich in vitamins A and C. The ripened fibrous outer layer of the palm fruits can also be eaten raw, boiled, or roasted. Asian Peoplehave perfected the art of making various sweet dishes with the yellowish viscous fluidic substance obtained from a ripe palm fruit. The fruits are best had chilled. Tender fruits that fall prematurely are fed to cattle.
2- The uses of Sugar Palm Toddy A sugarysap, calledtoddy, can be obtained from the younginflorescence, either male or female. The chief product of the Sugar Palm or Palmyra is the sweet sap (toddy) obtained by tapping the tip of the inflorescence, as is done with the other sugar palms and, to a lesser extent, with the coconut. The sap flows for 5-6 months, each male spadix producing 4-5 l per day; the female gives 50% more than the male. The toddy ferments naturally within a few hours after sunrise and is locally popular as a beverage; it is distilled to produce the alcoholic liquor called palm wine, arrack, or arak. Rubbing the inside of the toddy-collecting receptacle with lime paste prevents fermentation, and thereafter the sap is referred to as sweet toddy, which yields concentrated or crude sugar; molasses, palm candy, and vinegar. Toddyis fermented to make a beverage. It is called Gula Jawa(Javanesesugar) inIndonesiaand is widely used in Javanese cuisine. In Vietnam it is called Nước đường Thốt Nốt. In Vietnam, sugar palm toddy liquid is used to drink as a natural beverage, to make gas beverage as beer, to make solid cakes of sugar (Vietnamese: Đường Thốt Nốt) In addition, the tree sap is taken as a laxative, and medicinal values have been ascribed to other parts of the plant.
3- Other edible parts of Sugar palm - Sugar Palm sprout The germinated seed's hard shell is also cut open to take out the crunchy kernel, which tastes like a sweeterwater chestnut. In the states ofTamil Nadu,BiharandAndhra Pradesh, India, and inJaffna, Sri Lanka, the seeds are planted and made to germinate and the fleshy stems (below the surface) are boiled or roasted and eaten. It is very fibrous and nutritious. It is used as an offering in various parts ofBengaland is also eaten raw. It is popular among women and girls in India. - Sugar Palm young stem The young stems are cooked as a vegetable or roasted and pounded to make meal.
2.2.2- Medicinal Uses + Folk Medicines There are innumerable medicinal uses for all parts of the palmyra palm. Briefly, the young plant is said to relieve biliousness, dysentery, and gonorrhea. Young roots are diuretic and anthelmintic, and a decoction is given in certain respiratory diseases. The ash of the spadix is taken to relieve heartburn and enlarged spleen and liver. The bark decoction, with salt, is used as a mouth wash, and charcoal made of the bark serves as a dentifrice. Sap from the flower stalk is prized as a tonic, diuretic, stimulant, laxative and anti phlegmatic and amebicide. Sugar made from this sap is said to counteract poisoning, and it is prescribed in liver disorders. Candied, it is a remedy for coughs and various pulmonary complaints. Fresh toddy, heated to promote fermentation, is bandaged onto all kinds of ulcers. The cabbage, leaf petioles, and dried male flower spikes all have diuretic activity. The pulp of the mature fruit relieves dermatitis. Source: http://www.fao.org/ag/aga/AGAP/FRG/ECONF95/HTML/TODDY.HTM + Modern Medicines (Studies) •Antiinflammatory: Evaluation of anti-inflammatory activity of ethanolic extract of Borassus flabellifer L. male flowers (inflorescences) in experimental animals: Extract showed dose-dependent antiinflammatory activity and supports it folkloric use as an antiinflammatory agent. •Diabetes: New Spirostane-Type Steroid Saponins with Antidiabetogenic Activity from Borassus flabellifer: Methanolic extract studied yielded 6 new steroid saponins: borassosides A-F. Results showed inhibition of increase of serum glucose in sucrose-loaded rats. •Neurotoxic Effect: Study on the neurotoxic effect of palmyrah shoot flour on Wistar rats showed a neurotoxic effect that appears to be a tissue non-specific damage reflected at a subclinical level. Neurotoxic effect was eliminated by heating detoxicification. The nutritional status of the diet influenced the manifestation of the toxic effect. •Aeroallergen: Study investigated the aerobiologic and allergenic significance of the pollen of palmyra palm (Borassus flabellifer). Pollen grains were found present in the air from February to May and June, comprising 7% of total airborne pollen of the study area. The pollen is a dominant aeroallergen that can cause respiratory problems. The pollen extract isolated a 90-kD component, one of the major allergens. •Antioxidant: Study showed the leaves and roots to possess antioxidant activity. The antioxidant potential of leaves to be greater than the roots. The activity was attributed to flavonoids, saponins, tannins and phenolic compounds in the leaf. •Cytotoxic / Flabelliferin: Palmyrah flour (Odiyal) is known to yield a number of toxins with mutagenic, clastogenic, immunosuppressive, and mosquito larvicidal effects. A pressure liquid chromatography separation for dengue mosquito larvicide yielded a white amorphous solid. Study on a melanoma cell line showed cytotoxic activity on differentiating cancer lines. •Antibacterial: Study of antibacterial activity of a methanol extract of seed coat against Gram-positive bacteria (Staph aureus, Bacillus subtilis) and Gram-negative bacteria (Klebsiella pneumonia and Serratia marcescens) showed consistent inhibitory activity on different bacterial species tested. •Anticancer / Apoptosis of Human Colon Cancer Ht-29 Cells: An apolar extract from male inflorescence was studied on colon cancer HT29 cells. Phytochemical analysis yielded sterols triterpenes, and saponosids. The extract significantly inhibited cell proliferation by blocking cell population in G0/G1 phase. Results indicated anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic activities. •Antioxidant / Nutrients / Potential Food Source: Study showed the plant seed embryo to possess micro/macro nutrients and antioxidant properties with neutraceutical potential for the treatment of malnutrition. Source:http://stuartxchange.com/Palmira.html
2.2.3- Other Uses of Sugar Palm Other uses of the tree include the wood, for example for construction of houses, and the leaves, for example for making mats or hats. - In India, it is planted as a windbreak on the plains. It is also used as a natural shelter by birds, bats and wild animals. - The leaves are used forthatching,mats,baskets, fans,hats, umbrellas, and as writingmaterial. - The skin of the stem can be peeled off and be used as rope and also used to weave into cots (in Tamil). In some part ofTamil Nadu, a variety of rice flour cake (called "Kolukattai") is prepared using the leaf. - Thestalksare used to make fences and also produce a strong, wiry fiber suitable for cordage and brushes. The blacktimberis hard, heavy, and durable and is highly valued forconstruction. - In Cambodia, the trunks are also used to make canoes.
2.2.4- Cultural symbolism The Sugar Palm or Palmyra tree (Borassus flabellifer)has a growth pattern, very large size, and clean habits that make it an attractiveornamental tree, cultivated for planting ingardensand parks aslandscapepalm species. - The Sugar Palm tree is the official tree ofTamil Nadu. Highly respected inTamilculture, it is called "karpaha Veruksham" ("celestial tree") because all its parts have a use. Panaiveriyamman, named afterpanai, theTamilname for the Palmyra palm, is an ancient tree deity related tofertilitylinked to this palm. This deity is also known as Taalavaasini, a name that further relates her to all types of palms. - The Sugar Palm palm is a symbol ofCambodiawhere it is a very common palm, found all over the country. It also grows near theAngkor Wattemple. - InIndonesiathe Sugar Palm tree is the symbol ofSouth Sulawesiprovince. - The Sugar Palm is also common inThailand, especially in the northeast orIsaanarea, where it is a prevailing part of the landscape. - This plant has captured the imagination of Bengalis in the words of Rabindranth Tagore whose nursery rhyme 'Taal Gaach ek Paye daariye' (literally Taal tree standing on a single leg....) in Sahaj Path is a staple reading material in most schools in West Bengal & Bangladesh.
2.3- Benefits of Sugar Palm fruits 1. Palm seeds are considered as a delicacy in India and other asian countries where the Sugar Palm trees are grown. During early summer, they are sold in markets and for a limited period of time. Summer holidays are enjoyed by preparing different types of drinks, pancakes and dishes prepared from the nutritious pulp. 2. The tender fruit pulp is eaten raw during summer because it gives a cooling effect to the body. The ripened fibrous outer layer of the fruit can be eaten raw, boiled, or roasted. 3. The fruit contains vitamin A, B and also Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid. 4. It is rich in minerals too. Minerals such as Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Phosphorous and Zinc are found in the fruit. 5. The studies conducted recently to know more about this fruit have given satisfactory results. If the Palmyra trees are grown in large scale commercial farms, it could help solve the world’s malnutrition problem. 6. In some Asian stores they are found in cans but usually they are canned in sugar syrup. Due to the sugar syrup it becomes too sweet. 7. The fresh ones are little crunchy and moderate sweet to taste. They are chopped to small pieces and used in desserts with other variety of fruits like Pineapple, Mangoes, Papaya and offered along with some good flavored ice cream. 8. Matured palm fruit juice is used in making pancakes. 9. The seed sockets of Ice-apple have been the inspiration for some sweets prepared in West Bengal. One such sweet is Jalbhara Sandesh. 10. Its medicinal uses are still unknown to people. The pulp from the mature fruit is used over the skin to cure Dermatitis. 11. Bengalis have perfected the art of preparation of many sweet dishes with the yellowish viscous fluidic substance obtained from a ripe palm fruit. They include the mustard oil fried Taler Bora or the Taalkheer made by mixing it with thickened cow’s milk.
3- The Sugar Palm in Vietnam
3.1- Origin and distribution Sugar Palm is a palm tree which is is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. It grows wild from the Persian Gulf to the Cambodian-Vietnamese border. Today, Sugar Palm grows from the Persian Gulf to the shores of Indonesia. Nungu growing countries include Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, parts of tropical Africa, and even Hawaii and Florida. In Vietnam Sugar Palm trees are cultivated in the East and West provinces of the South from the Cambodian border in Tay Ninh to Kien Giang. The sugar palms are more grown at provinces of An Giang, Kien Giang, Dong Thap, Long An and Tay Ninh. Recently sugar palm trees are also cultivated in some provinces of Central Vietnam such as Khanh Hoa, Binh Thuan and some provinces in the northern region.
3.2- Ecology Sugar palm tree grows mainly in the areas of tropical weather, with relatively long dry season. It grows well with strong sunlight and is more drought tolerant than coconut trees on different soil types, especially suitable on sandy soil, rich in organic matter . Sugar palm trees can grow on flat or slightly soil surface, coastal plains, along rivers and streams is the most suitable place to grow. In Vietnamese sugar palm can grow at an elevation up to 800m. It can grow in areas with very low rainfall (500-900mm / year). But in areas of high rainfall: 4.000-5.000mm / year sugar palms can also grow well. Flooding tolerance of sugar palm is quite high. Sugar palm tree is a haven for small animals such as bats, birds, mice, squirrels, monkeys .... Many places have palm trees used for feeding bat to get excreta. Previously, many suggested that the North Vietnam climate is not suitable for the cultivation of sugar palm trees, but based on biological characteristics of this palm, northern Vietnam can be cultivated this tree species. New experiments need to put a sugar palm tree cultivated in various ecological zones of Vietnam, especially in the southern central coastal region. Sugar palm tree has flowering annual, pollination by insects or the wind. Seeds are easy to germinate when exposed to moist soil. Age of sugar palm first flowering depends on the height of trees. At the height of sea surface it has earlier flowering crops than at higher elevations. In Vietnam palm tree can grow at the elevation of 1-800 meters.
3.3- The uses of Sugar palm in Vietnam 1- The uses of Sugar Palm fruits The inmature fruits of the Sugar Palm are used for eating raw as the fresh fruits. When the fruit is very young, this kernel is hollow, soft as jelly, and translucent like ice, and is accompanied by a watery liquid, sweetish and potable. Within the mature seed is a solid white kernel which resembles coconut meat but is much harder. It is used to cook with coconut milk called Chè Thốt Nốt or can be used in many cooking foods. The half-grown, soft-shelled seeds for the hollow jelly-like kernels are sliced longitudinally to form attractive loops, or rings and these, as well as the whole kernels, are used to eat as fresh fruits. 2- The uses of Sugar Palm Toddy In Vietnam the chief product of the Sugar Palm or Palmyra is the sweet sap (toddy) is used in many processing beverages and sugar. Sugar palm toddy liquid is used to drink directly as a natural beverage. The toddy ferments naturally within a few hours after sunrise is locally popular as a little gas-beverage. The chief product of the Sugar Palm in Vietnam is the sweet sap (toddy) is used to boil for making many types of sugar called Đường Thốt Nốt. The young stems are cooked as a vegetable or roasted and pounded to make meal. 3- Other Uses of Sugar Palm Other uses of the tree include the wood, for example for construction of houses, and the leaves, for example for making mats or hats. Wood of Sugar palm over 50 years is used as a good material for building and making wood tools and beautiful wooden things. Many places have palm trees used their Canopy crown for feeding bat to get excreta.