Areca Species, Areca Nut Palm, Betel Nut Palm, Indian Nut, Pinang Palm

Areca catechu

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



Water Requirements:

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

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

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

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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

Very easy grower Zone 10b South Florida.


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.