Borassus flabellifer

Botanical Name :Borassus flabellifer
Family: Arecaceae
Genus: Borassus.
Species: B. flabellifer
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Arecales

Common names: Palmyra palm, toddy or wine palm, siwalan, rontal, lontar, talauriksha palm,Asian Palmyra palm, Toddy palm, sugar palm, or Cambodian palm.
Bengali Name :Tal gach

English name: Palmyra-palm, Brab Tree.

Habitat : Distribution: India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, New Guinea

Description & different uses of the tree parts :
Borassus flabellifer, also known as the  is robust and can live 100 years or more and reach a height of 30 m, with a canopy of leaves several dozen fronds spreading 3 meters across. The large trunk resembles that of the coconut tree and is ringed with leaf scars. Young palmyra palms grow slowly in the beginning but then grow faster. Its growth pattern, large size, and clean habits make it an attractive landscape species.
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Fruit:
It is known as Tala in Odia, Tnaot in Khmer, Thot Not in Vietnamese, Tari in Hindi, Tal in Bengali, Tale Hannu in Kannada, Nungu in Tamil, Thaati Munjalu in Telugu, Munjal in Urdu, Lontar in Indonesian, Siwalan in Javanese, Ton Taan in Thai, Akadiru by the East Timorese, Tao in Divehi, Tadfali (pronunciation variations are Tad-fali or Taadfali) in Gujarati, Targula in Konkani, TadGola  in Marathi and sometimes Ice-apple in British English. The fruit measures 4 to 7 inches in diameter, has a black husk, and is borne in clusters. 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 the lychee but with a milder flavor and no pit. The jelly part of the fruit is covered with a thin, yellowish-brown skin.
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The ripened fibrous outer layer of the palm fruits can also be eaten raw, boiled, or roasted.

Tadi collection using traditional method in coastal Maharashtra] Palm shoot is cut and the juice is traditionally collected in hanging earthen pot. The juice so collected before morning is refreshing and light drink called Neera  in Marathi- has extremely cool in sensation, and sugary sweet taste. The juice collected in evening or after fermentation becomes sour – is called Tadi  in Marathi. Tadi is consumed by coastal Maharashtra mostly by villagers as raw alcoholic beverage.

A sugary sap, called toddy, can be obtained from the young inflorescence, either male or female ones. Toddy is fermented to make a beverage called arrack, or it is concentrated to a crude sugar called jaggery. It is called Gula Jawa (Javanese sugar) in Indonesia and is widely used in Javanese cuisine. In addition, the tree sap is taken as a laxative, and medicinal values have been ascribed to other parts of the plant.

Sprouts:
In the states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, India, and in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, the seeds are planted and made to germinate and the fleshy stems (below the surface) are boiled and eaten. It is very fibrous and nutritious, known as “Panai Kizhangu” or “Panamkizhangu” in Tamil and “Thegalu” in Telugu.
The germinated seed’s hard shell is also cut open to take out the crunchy kernel, which tastes like a sweeter water chestnut. It is called “dhavanai” in Tamil.

Leaves
The leaves are used for thatching, mats, baskets, fans, hats, umbrellas, and as writing material.

In Indonesia the leaves were used in the ancient culture as paper, known as “lontar”. Leaves of suitable size, shape, texture, and maturity are chosen and then seasoned by boiling in salt water with turmeric powder, as a preservative. The leaves are then dried. When they are dry enough, the face of the leaf is polished with pumice, cut into the proper size, and a hole is made in one corner. Each leaf will make four pages. The writing is done with a stylus and has a very cursive and interconnected style. The leaves are then tied up as sheaves.

Trunk
The stalks are used to make fences and also produce a strong, wiry fiber suitable for cordage and brushes. The black timber is hard, heavy, and durable and is highly valued for construction.
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The young plants are cooked as a vegetable or roasted and pounded to make meal.

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Crown
When the crown of the tree is removed, the segment from which the leaves grow out is an edible cake. This is called pananchoru in Tamil.

Inflorescences
Palms generally start to form inflorescences at the beginning of the dry season (November to January). The male and female inflorescences are carried on separate trees: the male tree begins to develop the inflorescence in November or December while the female tree commences one to two months later. Each palm may bear from eight to fifteen inflorescences per year. The male inflorescence lasts approximately 45 to 60 days and the female 60 to 70 days. Both male and female inflorescences are “tapped” for juice collection. Some palms, especially the female, also have inflorescences during the rainy season. Cambodian tappers have developed a technique to conserve inflorescences to be tapped after the normal harvest period.

Juice…....CLICK & SEE
The most important product of the sugar palm is the sap or juice, the production of which lasts for five to six months. Cambodian tappers use long bamboo poles with the stumpy remnants of leaf bases at the nodes that serve as rudimentary steps for climbing. These are rivetted permanently to the base of the trunk during the juice-collecting period. For safety reasons the tapper replaces the bamboo poles every production period (six to twelve months). When the trees are located close to each other, one or two long bamboo poles are used as an aerial “stairway” to facilitate movement between the trees, thus avoiding the need to descend and ascend each tree and permitting the tapper to use his time (there are no female tappers) more productively. Tappers are capable of tapping 20 to 30 palm trees twice a day provided an assistant is available at the base of the trunk to receive the collected juice.
CLICK & SEE

Palm syrup and palm sugar
A considerable amount of energy is required to condense palm juice into syrup or sugar; about 4 kg of fuelwood is needed to produce 1 kg of palm syrup (Khieu Borin, Preston and Lindberg, 1996). Cambodian farmers continue producing palm syrup and sugar because they can still find free fuelwood and it is their main income during the dry season. However, if an opportunity cost were put on the fuelwood it would often exceed the value of the syrup produced.

Sugar palm juice is traditionally processed into three types of sugar: liquid sugar (sugar palm syrup), crystalline palm sugar and block sugar. The most common type consumed in rural areas is sugar palm syrup which is about 80 percent dry matter.

Live stock feeding

The price of cereal grains and by-products used in pig and poultry feeding is increasing rapidly. The industrial livestock sector with guaranteed market outlets for its products is still able to absorb these cost increases. But the consequences for the landless and the poorest farmers are serious as competition develops between humans and animals for the same food supply. It becomes increasingly urgent, therefore, to develop alternative feeding systems for livestock which do not use cereal grains, but which make efficient use of the products derived from the plant resources that grow most abundantly in a tropical country such as Cambodia.

Palm powder

A cheap and widely available agro-waste may help mop up radioactive uranium from the environment, according to a study by researchers at the MS University of Baroda.

The technique of feeding liquid sugar-based diets to pigs was first developed and commercialized in Cuba using molasses derived from the processing of sugar cane (Preston et al., 1998). Later, in Mexico, the technology was modified to use the juice from freshly crushed sugar cane stalks (Mena, Elliot and Preston, 1981). In 1987 this system began to be applied widely in Colombia (Sarria, Solano and Preston, 1990) stimulated by the low market prices at that time for cane sugar. Artisan crushing of sugar cane for processing into brown sugar is a common practice in many Asian countries, and the alternative use of the fresh juice for pig feeding was well received in remote areas of the Philippines and Viet Nam where pig production offered a more profitable outlet for the sugar cane than raw sugar.
In Cambodia, the adaptation of the pig feeding system from sugar cane to sugar palm was relatively straight- forward, as in each case the soluble carbohydrates in the juice were a mixture of sucrose and the reducing sugars, glucose and fructose.

Medicinal Uses:
The juice obtained by excision of the spadix is cooling, stimulant, antiphlegmatic and useful in inflammatory dropsy. The ashes of the flowering stalks are antiperiodic; useful in enlarged spleen. It is a good antacid in heartburn. The sugar-candy produced from the juice is used in coughs and pulmonary affection. The fruit is stomachic, aphrodisiac, antibilious, tonic, laxative, alexiteric; improves taste and allays thirst. Milky juice from immature fruit checks hiccup sickness. Pulp from the immature fruit is diuretic, demulcent and nutritive. The juice of the young leaves mixed with water is given in cases of dysentery. Root is cooling and restorative; useful in leprosy.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borassus_flabellifer
http://www.plantapalm.com/vpe/photos/Species/borassus_flabellifer.htm
http://www.fao.org/ag/aga/agap/FRG/FEEDback/War/W9980T/w9980e04.htm

http://www.mpbd.info/plants/borassus-flabellifer.php

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