||It is a medium to large-sized,
clumping stemless palm with rhizomes, with large, erect leaf fronds above
ground, 4–10 m long. Leaf fronds possess stout leaf stalks that are bulbous at
the base, 1–1.4 m long.
||Its alternate, stalked, large,
erect leaves are about 4–10 m long, slightly recurved, pinnate with up to 100 lanceolate
leaflets arranged regularly on each side of the rachis. Leaflets are 60–130 by
5–8 cm, pointed, shiny green on the upper surface and somewhat powdery on the
lower surface. The midrib of each leaflet is marked with regular linear brown
scales, up to 2 cm long.
||The erect inflorescence is
borne on a long, sturdy peduncle, 1–2 m long that arises from the underground
stem. Male and female flowers are borne separately on the inflorescence. The female
flowers form a spherical head that is about 25–30 cm in diameter, while the
male flowers form a catkin below the female inflorescence head.
||Its brown to dark brown fruits
borne on a spherical infructescence, 30–45 cm in diameter. Each individual
fruit is a reversed egg-shape to oblong ellipsoid, one-seeded fibrous drupe,
with an angular tip, 10–15 by 5–8 cm. Seed is white in colour, egg-shaped,
about 5 by 4 cm.
|Others - Plant Morphology
||One of few palm species recognizable from fossil records dating back to 70 million years or earlier. Fossilized seeds dating back to as recently as 34 millions ago found in British Isles, suggesting that warmer tropical conditions prevailed in that area during that period.
||On upper limits of tidal
waterways in mangrove forests, often as a pure stand on soft, fine-grained
substrates. It is known from most mangrove forests in Singapore and in Kranji
Reservoir, growing in freshwater.
flowers are insect pollinated. It is the preferred local food plant for the
caterpillars of the butterflies, the palm king (Amathusia phidippus) and coconut skipper (Hidari irava).
||Prefers soft, silt-rich muddy soils and calmer stretches of waterways. Fast-growing, damaged fronds regenerate quickly. Propagate by seeds. Sprouted seeds can be potted up in peatmoss-loam mix, and base of pot immersed in a bucket of water to ensure that media is constantly kept wet. Established seedlings can be transplanted to flooded levees at site. Choose the sunniest possible site to encourage more compact fronds. Allow room for underground trunk to grow.
||Moluccan nipa, traditional vernacular name used
in Moluccas and southern Philippines for this species; Latin fruticans, shrubby, referring to the shrubby habit of this species
||Edible Plant Parts (Edible Seeds)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : Young translucent-white chewy seeds ('attap chee') edible, usually boiled in sugar syrup and added to local deserts. Inflorescence stalk cut off before flowers open, and tapped for a sweet liquid that can be boiled to yield a brown sugar called 'gula melaka', fermented into an alchoholic drink called 'toddy', or fermented for several more months to yield a vinegar. Flower sheaths can be made into an aromatic tea. Young palm shoots edible.)
Medicinal ( Juice from young shoots is
used to treat herpes and the ash of the burned plant is used to treat toothache
[Others]: Sap also used to fatten up pigs in parts of Indonesia during dry season when fodder is scarce. Sugar-rich sap can also be distilled into industrial ethanol and biofuel. Dried fronds used to make roof thatch (attap), or weaved into baskets, mats and hats. Young frondlets used to roll cigarettes. Ash collected from burnt frondlets can be used to make a type of salt. The leaflets are also used
to manufacture brooms, baskets, mats and hats.