Botanical Name: Salacca zalacca
Species: S. zalacca
*Calamus zalacca Gaertn.
*Salacca edulis Reinw.
*Salacca rumphii Wall.
*Salacca blumeana Mart.
*Calamus salakka Willd. ex Steud.
*Salacca edulis var. amboinensis Becc.
*Salacca zalacca var. amboinensis (Becc.) Mogea
Common Names: Salak, Snake fruit
Habitat: Salak is native to Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. It is cultivated in other regions of Indonesia as a food crop, and reportedly naturalized in Bali, Lombok, Timor, Maluku, and Sulawesi. It grows on Rich soils in moist, shaded forests, often forming impenetrable thickets when growing in swampy areas and along the sides of streams.
Salak is a very short-stemmed palm tree, with leaves up to 6 metres (20 ft) long; each leaf has a 2-metre long petiole with spines up to 15 centimetres (5.9 in) long, and numerous leaflets. The fruits grow in clusters at the base of the palm, and are also known as snake fruit due to the reddish-brown scaly skin. They are about the size and shape of a ripe fig, with a distinct tip.
Salak fruit is an evergreen, acaulescent, very spiny, tillering, usually dioecious palm growing in clumps formed by successive branching at the stem base. Roots are superficial, not deep and new roots emerge from the stem immediately under the crown, the internodes are short and crowded. They are found growing in humid tropical lowland conditions. Salak is usually grown under partial shade as it grows and performs better than in full sun. Salak is usually cultivated on mineral soils such as well-drained clayey loams, sandy loams and lateritic soils. Stems are subterranean stolon, with a short, 1–2 m high, 10–15 cm diameter, erect aerial part bearing the leaves. Similarly leaves are Pinnatipartite, 3–6 m long. Leaves, leaf-sheaths, petioles and leaflets consist of numerous long, thin, blackish spines. Petioles are very spiny and 2 m long. Leaflet segments are unequal, linear-lanceolate, with narrowed base, concave, apex caudate and acute, and 20–70 cm by 2–7.5 cm. Flowers are paired in axils of scales; male flowers with reddish, tubular corolla and 6 stamens borne on the corolla throat and a tiny pistillode; female flowers with tubular corolla, yellow-green outside and dark red inside, a trilocular ovary with short 3-fid, red style and 6 staminodes borne on the corolla throat.
A plant of the humid, lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 500 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 – 30°c, but can tolerate 12 – 36°c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,700 – 3,100mm, but tolerates 1,400 – 3,500mm. Requires a deep, rich, moist soil and some shade. Prefers a light-textured soil. Young palms require heavy shade which may be reduced after about one year. Because of its superficial root system, the palm requires a high water table, rain or irrigation during most of the year, but it does not stand flooding. Prefers a pH in the range 5 – 6, tolerating 4.5 – 6.5. The palm starts flowering three to four years after sowing. It can be productive for 50 years or more. The scarce data available suggest that annual yields vary from 5 – 15 t/ha. There are some named varieties. A dioecious plant, requiring both male and female forms to be grown near each other if fruit and seed are required. One male plant is usually adequate to fertilise nine females. There is at least one monoecious variety. ‘Bali’ produces inflorescences with both hermaphrodite and staminate flowers; the latter produce functional pollen. Spacing: 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).
Fruit is eaten raw. An acid flavour Slightly crisp, with a delicious blend of acids and sugars and an apple-like flavour The flesh is exceptionally firm and crisp for a tropical fruit. It is quite sweet when fully ripe, but the unripe fruit is sour and astringent due to the presence of a little tannic acid. Considered to be one of the finest of palm fruits for eating raw. In Indonesia the fruits are also candied (‘manisan salak’), pickled (‘asinan salak’) and fresh unripe ones may be used in ‘rujak’, a spicy salad of unripe fruit. The reddish-brown, ovoid fruit is 6 – 8cm in diameter. The seed is edible. The seed kernels of the young fruits of the Javanese ‘Pondoh’ form are edible.
The fruit inside consists of three lobes with the two larger ones, or even all three, containing a large inedible seed. The lobes resemble, and have the consistency of, large peeled garlic cloves. The taste is usually sweet and acidic, with a strong astringent edge, but its apple-like texture can vary from very dry and crumbly (salak pondoh from Yogyakarta) to moist and crunchy.
Apart from their sweet and slightly acidic taste, salak is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 100 gram of salak offers 3.9 mg of Iron, 0.2 mg of Vitamin B2, 8.4 mg of Vitamin C, 12.1 g of Carbohydrate, 38 mg of Calcium, 18 mg of Phosphorus, 0.8 g of Protein, 0.4 g of Total Fat and 0.3 g of Total dietary Fiber.
Health benefits of Salak
Salak fruit consist of nutrition just like Protein, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin-C, Dietary fiber, Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus and Carbohydrates which are great for overall health. Salak or Snake Fruit contains lots of Beta-Carotene which is a powerful antioxidant and works well to prevent cardiovascular disease, strokes, and even cancer. Additionally it contains 5 times more Beta-Carotene than that found in watermelon, mangos, and 3 times more than found in guava. Listed below are some of the popular health benefits of Salak fruit
Salak fruit is considered quite beneficial as eye medication. According to research by health specialists, salak fruit consists of beta-carotene that is great for eyes. For anyone who wish to keep the eyes healthy and balanced yet fed up with having to constantly consume carrot juice, now you have yet another option that is exchanging the carrot juice along with salak juice. SO including salak fruit in your regular diet is one of the best methods to get the required amount of beta carotene
.Good for Stomach:
Salak is one of the nutrients dense fruit which consists of calcium, tannin, saponin, flavonoid and beta-carotene. Because of these nutrients, salak has health benefits for human body. Tanin is anti-diarrhea, so salak help to cure diarrhea. Apart from that salak treat indigestion stomach. It is better to consume salak along with its epidermis, which can prevent constipation.
Because of its higher nutritional value, Salak is called as a ‘memory fruit’. High amount of potassium and pectin present in salak helps to improves body’s cognitive functions and enhances memory
Control Blood Sugar Level:
Skin of Salak fruit when made into a tea helps in cell regeneration in the pancreas that helps to control diabetes. Apart from that it also contains pterostilbene which is a blood glucose lowering agent that helps in controlling diabetes. Therefore frequent use of salak fruit in your diet is quite beneficial for lowering blood glucose level
Maintain Cardiovascular Health:
Salak consist of good amount of potassium content that makes heart healthy. High amount of antioxidants and minerals keep the cardiovascular system function properly and helps in water regulation within the body.
Helps in Weight Loss:
Due to high fiber and antioxidant content, Salak is a sought-after diet for weight management diets. Since salak consists of calcium and carbohydrates it provides necessary energy and stamina to the body while on diet. Its tea is a wonderful astringent that is beneficial in reducing weight.
Agroforestry Uses: A closely-planted row of palms forms an impregnable hedge and the very spiny leaves are also cut to construct fences[303 ]. Other Uses The bark of the petioles may be used for matting. The leaflets are used for thatching
Known Hazards: Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.