E2. Betel Nut Palm

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The Betel Nut is a slender, single-stemmed palm tree, up to 30m high.  It has a crown of 8-12 leaves at the top.  Stem - cylindrical and about 10-15 cm wide.  It is covered with rings, which are the scars of old leaves that have died and dropped off.  Leaves - 1 to 1.5 m long and feather-shaped.  The base of each leaf completely encircles the palm stem like a tube.  


The leaves and leaf sheath can be used as a source of fiber for basketry and container Fruits - ranging in color from yellow through orange to red, 5 cm in diameter and oval.  There is one seed (called the 'nut') inside the fruit and it varies in shape from oval to round.  The palm is cultivated for the hard, dried inner layer (endosperm) of its seeds.  The nut is chewed by people in South Asia as a stimulant.  The fruits are used as a source of tannin for dyeing.