Description: This tree grows about 15 meters high and has huge leaves up to 6 meters long. Needlelike structures stick out of the bases of the leaves. Flowers grow below the leaves and form large conspicuous dusters from which the fruits grow.
Habitat and Distribution: This palm is native to the East Indies but has been planted in many parts off the tropics. It can be found at the margins of forests.
Edible Parts: The chief use of this palm is for sugar. However, its seeds and the tip of its stems are a survival food. Bruise a young flower stalk with a stone or similar object and collect the juice as it comes out. It is an excellent source of sugar. Boil the seeds. Use the tip of the stems as a vegetable.
The flesh covering the seeds may cause dermatitis.
Other Uses: The shaggy material at the base of the leaves makes an excellent rope as it is strong and resists decay.
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