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Department of Botany

Since 1980

Areca catechu L.


Paakku Maram

   Botanical NameAreca catechu L.
   SynonymsAreca catechu var. alba Blume; Areca catechu var. longicarpa Becc.
   Common NameEnglish : Areca palm / Tamil : Paakku
   DistributionGlobal : China, Sri Lanka, Taiwan
Indian : Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
   DescriptionSolitary tree up to 20m Tall, unarmed. Leaves in a terminal crown to 2 m long, prominent leaf base. Spadices several on the axils of fallen leaves to 50 cm long, branched, shortly peduncled, spikes flexuous or straight to 30 cm long. Spathes boat-like, coriaceous. Flowers monoecious, lower one’s female, upper ones male, many. Male flowers 3 mm long, sepals 3, 1 mm long, triangular, petals 3, 2.5 mm, ovate, white, stamens 6, pistillode 2-fid. Female flowers 1.3 cm long, sepals 7 mm, obovate, petals to 1 cm, ovary to 8 mm, oblong, 1-celled, ovule solitary. Fruit to 4 x 2.5 cm, with fibrous mesocarps, orange-red in color.
   Flowering Fruiting periodThroughout the year
   UsesCommercially cultivated for seed.
   Medicinal UsesThese include antiparasitic effects, anti-depressive effects, anti-fatigue effects, antioxidant effects, antibacterial and antifungal effects,antihypertensive effects, anti-inflammatory.
   Tamil NamePaakku Maram