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PlantFiles: Betel Nut Palm
Areca catechu

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Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Areca (a-REEK-uh) (Info)
Species: catechu (KAT-eh-choo) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

16 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Palms

Height:
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

Spacing:
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year

Foliage:
Evergreen

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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There are a total of 12 photos.
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Profile:

7 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive grouper On Jun 19, 2008, grouper from Odessa, FL wrote:

This is a very nice palm to grow, don't let the z11 rating keep you from trying it. I have had 2 growing in ground under a large live oak for more than 5 years, 1 from a seedling and the 2nd has 5' of clear trunk. When temperatures dip into the low 30's, which is rare, there may be some spotting.

Positive jungleboy_fl On May 11, 2008, jungleboy_fl from Naples, FL wrote:

The Betel Nut Palm has been a very rewarding addition to my garden. It establishes very quickly here in Naples, FL. I planted mine about 5 years ago, from a small, 10 gal. specimen. It is now over 15 feet tall, and producing many fruits. The flowers are very fragrant, which was a pleasant surprise. The ripe fruits turn yellow, and look very much like miniature versions of the Samoan Dwarf Coconut's yellow husks.

Here in South Florida, I've found this palm to be extremely easy to grow. Actually, I've found that it needs a lot of winter irrigation here. Our winters are very dry, and considering that our soil is little more than sand with limestone gravel, things dry out quickly. Other than needing plenty of irrigation, it is not demanding at all. It responds well to a slow-release palm fertilizer, which I supplement with Fish Emulsion, and it stays a deep, emerald green all the time. Small plants will get a little burn on the leaves from our winter cold spells, but mine never lost any leaves due to cold. It is my guess that this is actually more of a zone 10b palm. I highly recommend this species. It is very ornamental in every aspect, it is self-pruning, and very fast growing. Don't hesitate to give this fun palm a try.

Neutral LiliMerci On Mar 25, 2008, LiliMerci from North of Atlanta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

In Vietnam, you can see the older generation chew on this plant, like baseball player chew tobacco here in the US. I've seen women put a brown dye on their teeth so that when they chew this plant it won't stain the teeth red. The custom of chewing betel nut is unique to Vietnam. Old health books claim that it will make your mouth fragrant, decrease bad temper, and making digesting food easier.

Neutral billowen On Oct 19, 2007, billowen from Port Charlotte, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have two Betel nut palms planted for about a year, being in zone10a, Port Charlotte. Fl. They may not handle the winter cold fronts that occur from time to time. We'll see if they can take frost which is rare occurence here.

Positive rbrockjackson On Jun 29, 2007, rbrockjackson from Fort Myers, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Nice looking palm for the tropics, but contrary to another comment, several A. catechu plants are growing in an atrium at 333 Grand in downtown Los Angeles.

Neutral tatiana1225 On Mar 28, 2006, tatiana1225 from Sherman, TX wrote:

I really can't use the positive or negative rating as I am trying to find out how to propagate the seed. I've heard all the horror stories of oral CA from the chewing of the seeds. That is not my intent however. I thought the palm was lovely and want to container grow a couple. Now I'm stuck without proper guidance to grow. Does anyone have a germination clue for me? If I can sprout one then I'll tell you everything I learn along the way.

Positive ilima On Mar 19, 2006, ilima from Clyde/Fines Creek, NC (Zone 5b) wrote:

This palm is on the slender side and has a tendency to be chlorotic without sufficient fertilization. The blooms are highly fragrant over a good distance with a strong sweet jasmine like scent.

Positive palmbob On Jan 21, 2006, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Nice looking palm for the tropics, but contrary to another comment, there is not one growing in Calfornia (save perhaps in a protected microclimate like a greenhouse or atrium, which hardly counts as growing in California) and certainly not one setting seed (must be a misidentification). Has been tried many times here and not even a glimmer of success so far. To those who claim this can grow outdoors in a garden situation, please show a photo!

Chewing on the seeds will also cause a yellowish stain around the mouth (a common sight in tropical Asia).

Positive Cearbhaill On Jun 13, 2005, Cearbhaill from Russell, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

Very easy grower Zone 10b South Florida.

Positive Kylecawaza On Aug 23, 2004, Kylecawaza from Corte Madera, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This palm is famous for its the narcotic properties of its fruits. This palm is not frost tolerant, but it is cool-tolerant and there is an acclimated one in Southern California that has even set seed. Do not water it in the winter though, because it will rot, and have it in rich, but well draining soil, and/or fertilize it a lot more than you would with a regular palm.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Big Pine Key, Florida
Miami, Florida
Naples, Florida
Odessa, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Agana Heights, Guam
Kihei, Hawaii
Wailuku, Hawaii



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