Synonyms: Areca cathecu, Areca macrocarpa
Other names: Betel Nut Palm, Areca palm
Areca catechu is a species of palm which grows in much of the tropical Pacific, Asia, and parts of east Africa. The palm is believed to have originated in the Philippines, but is widespread in cultivation and is considered naturalized in southern China (Guangxi, Hainan, Yunnan), Taiwan, India, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea, many of the islands in the Pacific Ocean, and also in the West Indies.
The species has many common names including the areca palm, areca nut palm, betel palm, Indian nut, Pinang palm, Telugu: పోక , Tagalog: bunga, Indonesia/Malay: pinang, Malayalam: അടക്ക adakka, Kannada: ಅಡಿಕೆ Adike, (in Tamil "kamuhu", in Sinhala "Puwak" ). This palm is called the betel tree because its fruit, the areca nut, is often chewed along with the betel leaf, a leaf from a vine of the family Piperaceae.
Areca is derived from a local name from the Malabar Coast of India and catechu is from another Malay name for this palm, caccu.
Images: Forest Starr & Kim Starr, CC-BY Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0