Botanical name: Areca catechu Family: Arecaceae (Palm family)
This is the palm which produces to popular betel-nut or supari, which is an essential ingradient of paan. It is a medium-sized tree growing to 20 m tall, with a trunk 20-30 cm in diameter. The leaves are 1.5-2 m long, pinnate, with numerous, crowded leaflets. It is grown for its economically important seed crop, the Betel nut. The seed contains alkaloids such as arecaine and arecoline, which when chewed is intoxicating and is also slightly addictive. Flowers are unisexual, with both male and female flowers borne in the same inflorescence. Inflorescences are crowded, much-branched panicles borne below the leaves. Each terminal branch has a few female flowers borne at the base and numerous male flowers extending from there out to the branch tip. Flowers of both sexes have six tepals, are stalkless, creamy-white, fragrant; male flowers are minute, deciduous, have six stamens, arrowhead-shaped anthers, rudimentary ovary; female flowers are larger (1.2–2 cm long), with six small sterile stamens and a three-celled ovary bearing a triangular stigma with three points at the apex. Fibrous, ovoid fruits, yellow to orange or red when ripe, contain the betel nut.
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