||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (October 2013)|
|This July 2011 needs additional citations for verification. (July 2011)|
Arenga pinnata (syn. Arenga saccharifera) is an economically important feather palm native to tropical Asia, from eastern India east to Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines in the east. Common names include Sugar Palm, Arenga Palm, Areng palm, Black-fiber palm, Gomuti Palm, Aren, Enau, Irok, and Kaong.
It is a medium-sized palm, growing to 20 m tall, with the trunk remaining covered by the rough old leaf bases. The leaves are 6-12 m long and 1.5 m broad, pinnate, with the pinnae in 1-6 rows, 40-70 cm long and 5 cm broad. The fruit is subglobose, 7 cm diameter, green maturing black.
It is not a threatened species, though it is locally rare in some parts of its range. It serves as an important part of the diet of several endangered species, including cloud rats of the genus Phloeomys.
The sap is harvested for commercial use in southeast Asia, yielding a sugar known in India as gur, and is also fermented into vinegar and wine. The immature fruits are widely consumed in the Philippines and Indonesia (called buah kolang-kaling or buah tap) and are made into canned fruits after boiling them in sugar syrup. The dark fibrous bark (known as doh) is manufactured into cordage. The raw juice and pulp are caustic. This crop may develop into a major resource of biofuel (ethanol).
Edmund Roberts talks about drinking an alcoholic beverage made in the Cavite area. He described it as a "fermented" and "intoxicating liquor." He said that it was "the pith furnished with sugar - when the liquor was properly boiled down, a farina...and of the inside of its triangular-shaped fruit a sweetbread was made."
In Indonesia the black fibres surrounding the trunk, called ijuk fibres, are used as the organic roof material common in ancient Java vernacular architecture and also can be found today in Balinese temple roof architecture. The ijuk can also be made into rope or used in brooms.
- Uhl, Natalie W. and Dransfield, John (1987) Genera Palmarum - A classification of palms based on the work of Harold E. Moore. Lawrence, Kansas: Allen Press. ISBN 0-935868-30-5 / ISBN 978-0-935868-30-2
- Riffle, Robert L. and Craft, Paul (2003) An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms. Portland: Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-558-6 / ISBN 978-0-88192-558-6
- Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 59.
- Wewe Gombel
- Kew Palms Checklist: Arenga pinnata
- Germplasm Resources Information Network: Arenga pinnata
- Global Compendium of Weeds: Arenga pinnata
- PACSOA: Arenga pinnata
- Sugar palm entry on Bioenergy Wiki