Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Fruiting Manila Palm

I noticed the feathery fronds of this manila palm tree in Kuching last week. Manila palms were once the craze of landscapers especially in the mid 1980's when the government of Malaysia was on its greening campaign to beautify the roads and open spaces throughout the country's urban areas. It was a premier choice because of its size i.e. small to medium and attractive fruits. They were extensively planted on road medians,traffic islands, roundabouts, house garden and residential roads. Easily propagated from seeds and thrives well in Malaysia because from where it originated that is the Phillipines, the climate is almost similar.

The fruit when ripe shows a glossy red colour. Once the seeds are dried and sowed, it would normally take less than a month to germinate. I do have a couple of these palms at my garden and they do grow fast once established. I am always attracted to its twisted feather-like leaves and their appealing fruits. In Bintulu these fruits are sometimes chewed with betel leaves by older ladies and men as replacement for areca nuts.

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