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Corypha utan - Lam.

Common Name Gebang Palm. Corypha palm, Sugar palm
Family Arecaceae
USDA hardiness 11-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Flat, low-lying land in woodlands and forests in monsoonal areas[297 ]. Open grasslands, and along rivers and wetlands[314 ].
Range E. Asia - India, Malaysia and Indo-China to Australia.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Corypha utan Gebang Palm. Corypha palm, Sugar palm

wikimedia.org W.A. Djatmiko (Wie146)
Corypha utan Gebang Palm. Corypha palm, Sugar palm
wikimedia.org W.A. Djatmiko (Wie146)


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Corypha utan is an evergreen Tree growing to 18 m (59ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Borassus sylvestris Giseke Corypha elata Roxb. Corypha gebang Mart. Corypha gembanga (Blume) Blume Corypha griffithiana Becc. Corypha macrophylla Roster Corypha macropoda Kurz ex Linden Corypha macropoda Linden ex Kurz Corypha sylvestris Mart. Gembanga rotundifolia Blume Livistona vidalii Becc. Taliera elata (Roxb.) Wall. Taliera gembanga Blume Taliera sylvestris Blume

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Apical bud  Flowers  Seed  Stem
Edible Uses: Drink  Sweetener

A sweet sap is obtained from the inflorescence[297 ]. This can be used as sugar or fermented into an alcoholic drink[297 ]. Apical bud - raw, cooked with rice or pickled[301 ]. Eaten raw as a salad, or cooked as a vegetable[46 , 360 ]. Eating this bud effectively kills the plant because it is unable to make side branches[301 , K ]. A starch obtained from the pith of the stem is used to make sago[46 , 301 , 360 ]. The kernels of young seeds are eaten or made into sweetmeats[46 , 301 , 360 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antidiarrhoeal  Antitussive  Demulcent  Diuretic  Emollient  Febrifuge  Stimulant

The roots are demulcent, diuretic, emollient and stimulant[360 ]. The roots are chewed in the treatment of coughs[360 ]. The juice of the roots is used for treating diarrhea360]. A decoction of the young plant is used in the treatment of febrile catarrh[360 ] . The starch from the trunk is used in the treatment of bowel complaints[360 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

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Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

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Other Uses

Basketry  Beads  Broom  Buttons  Fibre  String  Thatching

The leaves have a wide range of uses, including thatching for roofs and walls, weaving into baskets, mats, hats etc[297 , 454 ]. The ribs of the leaves is used for making brooms[360 ]. A fibre, known as 'buntal', is obtained from the leaf petioles[46 , 360 ]. It is used for making Lucban and Baliuag hats, and for making rope[46 , 360 ]. A very fine fibre is obtained from the unfolded leaves[46 , 360 ]. Used for cloth, fancy articles and as a string[46 ]. Fibres from the ribs of unfolded leaves are used for making Calasiao hats[46 ]. The mature seeds are made into buttons or used as beads on rosaries[46 , 360 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Fiber  Management: Standard  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Sugar

Plants succeed in moist tropical climates where temperatures never fall below 10°c, the average annual rainfall is 1,500mm or more and the driest month has 25mm or more rain[297 ]. They can also succeed in drier areas with an annual rainfall as low as 250mm and one month or more where rainfall is below 25mm[297 ]. Plants grow well in full sun, even when small[297 ]. Plants are monocarpic - living for many years without flowering, but then dying after they flower[200 ]. Like all members of this genus, these palms only flower at the end of their life, sending up a massive inflorescence, up to 5 metres high, and with up to 1 million flowers[314 ]. Plants are slow-growing when young[200 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Fiber  Clothing, rugs, sheets, blankets etc. Currently, almost none of our fiber are produced from perennial crops but could be!
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.
  • Staple Crop: Sugar  Perennial sugar crops include sugarcane and compare favorably to annuals.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

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Plant Propagation


Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Bajur, Bajurgatul, Buoon cao, Buri palm, Gebang palm, Gewang, Ibus, Komolu Silag, Lan phru, Las, Lontar utan, Pe-bin, Pochok, Puchuk, Tali

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Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Asia, Australia, Bangladesh, East Timor, Fiji, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mayotte, Myanmar, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, SE Asia, South America, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Venezuela, Vietnam

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Least Concern

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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