Betel nut tree or pinang is a slender, single-trunked, monoecious palm with a prominent crown shaft. It usually cultivated in the tropical Pacific Islands, Asia, and Africa. It scientific name is Areca Catechu Linnaeus, the family of Arecaceae (palms). Etymologically, the term of ‘Areca’ is given by local people on the Malabar coast of India which refers to one of the species of that particular genus. The term of ‘catechu’ then derived from a Malayan name ‘caccu’ which is usually used for the palm.
All part of betel nut tree are beautiful. The flowers are unisexual because both male and female flowers borne in the same inflorescence which is crowded, because much-branded panicles borne below the leaves. There is a few female flowers at the base of each terminal branch, whereas numerous male flowers extending from that base to the tip of branch.
The both sexes of flower have six tepals, stalkless, fragrant, and creamy-white. Nevertheless, male flowers are small, have six stamens, arrowhead-shaped anthers, rudimentary ovary, and deciduous. Female flowers then has a larger size with a three-celled ovary and six small sterile stamens.
Furthermore, the fruit of betel nut tree has a yellow, orange, or red color when already ripe. Inside the fruit, there are seeds that are globose, ovoid, or ellipsoidal. This seeds are interesting because it has unique aromatic and astringent, even sometimes it can be addictive. Not only beautiful, betel nut tree also useful.
Indeed, Sanskrit medical writings in the 1st century AD claimed that betel nut can be used to kill worms, expel wind, subdue bad odors, remove phlegm, induce puriffication, beautify the mouth, and kindle passion. Beside that, betel nut also contains stimulant substances which can accelerate response or messages between your brain and body. This seed have a lot of benefits to combat several diseases, such as leucoderma, anaemia, obesity, and leprosy. It can also used as a purgative and an iontment for nasal ulcers.
Unique Characteristics Betel Nut Tree in Indonesia
In Indonesia, there are various types of betel nut trees which has unique characteristics from one to another. These types including:
Betara Betel Nut (Pinang Betara)
This plant comes from Jambi with a larger size and height compared to other betel nut trees. The productive period is also relatively faster because the tree has started to bear fruit when it enters the age of 4-5 years. In one bunch, there are about 131 fruits which have a tannin substances of 9.79%
King Betel Nut/Red Betel Nut (Gyrostachys lakka Becc)
King betel nut comes from the Malacca Peninsula or Sumatra. This betel nut is very attractive because the shape of the trunk is slender, weighs quite light, has compound leaves with pinnate shape and green color, and reddish midrib. When they already old, the trunk of the king betel nut is usually used as an ingredient for making coconut milk.
Bulawan Betel Nut
This type comes from North Sulawesi with the advantages of large fruit size and high levels of tannins. It makes bulawan betel nut has a high potential of productions. Therefore, the tree has a fairly expensive market price and is in great demand by exporters from other countries. Follow the link if you Looking for betel nut supplier
Blue Betel Nut (Pinanga Coronata B1 Mart)
Because of the name is blue betel nut, it does not mean that the tree has a blue color, but its reddish brown. Blue betel nut usually live in clumps, has a height of about 5-6 meters, and has oval-shaped leaves like ribbons. It also has the flower that is haped like a grain and elongated with a yellowish white color. Nevertheless, blue betel nut is a type of plant that is not easy to adapt because it can only be found in wet forests or teak forests at an altitude of 10-600 meters above sea level.
Irian Betel Nut (Ptyochosperma macarthurii Nicholson)
Comes from Irian Jaya, this betel nut tree can grow up to 4-5 meters, usually live in clumps, have pinnate leaves, and oval-shaped fruit. When taking the fruit, you must be careful because it contains toxic tannins. However, irian betel nut has begun to spread widely in Indonesia and even entered the European market.
Coconut Betel Nut (Actinorhytis calapparia BI Wendi)
This plant thrives in Sulawesi and has spread to various regions in Indonesia. Coconut betel nut tree can grow up to 20 meters. Its often used as and ornamental plant because of its beautiful canopy shape. Not only that, the Betel Nut fruit can also be processed into baby powder.
Forest Betel Nut (Pinanga Kuhlii B1)
It thrives on the mainland of Java and Sumatera. This plant usually clumps with a slender stem. Forest betel nut can grow up to 2-6 meters, has a leaf that relatively longer, has a rectangular cross-section of the fronds, has scales, and has a reddish brown color. The Flower of this plant are grain-shaped and arranged in two rows on its buds.
Therefore, it can be concluded that betel nut tree is not only beautiful, but also a useful plant. The tree is beautiful because it has slender-shaped, attractive leaves, colorful flowers, and fruits. This caused many people feel amazed with betel nut tree and using it as a decorated plants, either in their yard or garden. Beside that, betel nut tree is also very useful. Several people often used it as a medicine, food ingredients, ritual materials, etc.