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Nypa fruticans - Wurmb.

Common Name Nipa Palm, Mangrove Palm
Family Arecaceae
USDA hardiness 11-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Mangrove swamps, tidal areas in deep mud in swampy coastal lowland areas, growing in water or subject to tidal inundation[200 , 297 ].
Range E. Asia - India, Malaysia, Indo-China to northern Australia.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Water Plants Full sun
Nypa fruticans Nipa Palm, Mangrove Palm


Bernard DUPONT
Nypa fruticans Nipa Palm, Mangrove Palm
http://www.botanicimage.com

 

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Summary

Nipa Palm or Nypa fruticans, a native to the coastlines and estuarine habitats of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, is an unusual palm tree because its trunk grows beneath the ground and only its leaves and flower stalks grow above the surface. The trunk can reach up to 45 cm in diameter and the leaves can each be up to 6 m long.The inflorescence of this palm is globose and comprised of female flowers at the tip and male flowers at the lower branches. It is edible and also yields sugary sap used mainly to make alcoholic beverages, syrup, sugar, and vinegar. The seed is eaten raw; it is harvested when fruits are immature. Plant parts have medicinal uses and specifically used in traditional medicine to treat toothache, headache, ulcers, and centipede bites. The leaves are used for thatching and making baskets and mats, and considered to be of superior quality than coconut thatch. Nipa palm can be grown from seeds or by dividing off suckers.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Nypa fruticans is an evergreen Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Flies.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can grow in water.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Cocos nypa Lour. Nipa fruticans Thunb. Nipa litoralis Blanco

Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Sap  Seed
Edible Uses:

Seed - raw[301 ]. Harvested when the fruits are immature, the seed has a delicious creamy flavour[297 ]. The white endosperm of immature seeds is sweet and jelly-like, and is consumed as a snack[303 ]. The mature seeds are sometimes eaten, but are very hard[459 ]. A sugary sap is obtained from the inflorescence[46 , 297 ]. It is used mainly to make an alcoholic beverage, but also to make syrup, sugar and vinegar[297 ]. The inflorescence is cooked in the syrup obtained from the inflorescence to produce an energy-giving sweetmeat[301 ].

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.


Various parts of nipa palm are a source of traditional medicines (e.g. juice from young shoots is used against herpes, ash of burned nipa material against toothache and headache)[303 ]. The plant (part not specified) is used as a remedy for the bites of centipedes and as a cure for ulcers[459 ].

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Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: The plant has been used for erosion control along coastal mudflats[200 ]. Other Uses The leaves are an excellent material for thatching and basket making[46 , 200 , 297 , 459 ]. They can also be woven into walls[297 ]. When used for thatching, the leaflets are stripped from the rachis and formed into a thick fringe (tagon) on a reed. After having been thoroughly dried the thatch is secured to the framework of the roof by lashings of pandanus leaves split up the middle and deprived of their stiff keel. Two men work at a time on each reed, beginning at the eaves and working toward the ridge, which is covered with a sort of braided matting secured in place by pins passing under the ridge-pole and projecting on each side. The leaves are considered to be far superior to and more durable than coconut thatch (Cocos nucifera)[459 ]. The strong leaf stalks have many structural uses[297 ]. They are also made into arrows[46 ]. The leaflets and midribs are used for manufacturing of brooms, baskets, mats and sunhats[303 ]. The leaves may contain up to 10% tannin[303 ].

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Windbreak  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Sugar

A plant of low elevations in the moist tropics. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 23 - 27?c, but can tolerate 20 - 35°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,000 - 2,800mm, but tolerates 1,500 - 3,500mm[418 ]. Grows best in a sunny position[418 ]. Plants are only found in tidal mudflats of the moist tropics in the wild, though they have also been successfully cultivated in swampy ground some distance from the sea[297 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 - 7.5, tolerating 5.5 - 8.5[418 ]. Nipa palm is probably the oldest palm species, with evidence to show that it had a pantropical distribution 13 - 63 million years ago[303 ]. It is considered an advanced palm species, and it has been suggested that it could be related to two genera in the Pandanaceae, Pandanus and Sararanga[303 ]. The first flowering occurs 3 - 4 years after germination[303 ]. The plant can be tapped for its sap by the time of the second flowering[418 ]. Spacing: 36-48 in. (90-120 cm) 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m) 6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m) 8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m) 10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m).

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Propagation

Seed - there is little information on germination of this plant. It seems likely that the seed benefits from a period of being immersed in the sea since germinating seeds are often washed up on shore in the areas where it grows[297 ]. The seed needs to be fresh and also needs to be kept in warm and permanently moist conditions if it is to germinate[200 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Nipa Palm, Mangrove Palm, Chak, Gabna, Golphal, Golpatta, Gulga, Jahk, Nipah, Nipamu, Pardeshi-tadio, Pardeshitadio, Poothada,

Found In

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

Australia; Bangladesh; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Guam; India; Indonesia; Japan; Malaysia; Micronesia, Federated States of; Myanmar; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; Thailand; Viet Nam, Africa, Andamans, Asia, Burma, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Indochina, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pacific, Palau, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, SE Asia, Solomon Islands, South America, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, West Africa,

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.

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Distichlis palmeriNipa. Palmer saltgrass, NyPa Wild Wheat40

 

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Wurmb.

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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