Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Arecanut

Arecanut palm is the source of a common masticatry nut ,popularly known as arecanut, betelnut or supari. Its an essential requisite of several religious and social ceremonies.its popular in Kerala, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Tamilnadu,Assam and West Bengal.The Areca nut is the seed of the Areca palm (Areca catechu), a straight and graceful palm tree growing in most tropical countries. The arecanut palms grow under a variety of climatic and soil conditions. It grows well from almost sea level up to an altitude of 1000 m in areas of abundant and well-distributed rainfall or under irrigated conditions. It is grown in a variety of soils such as laterites, red loams and alluvial
The areca nut is not a true nut but rather a drupe. It is commercially available in dried, cured and fresh forms. While fresh, the husk is green and the nut inside is so soft that it can easily be cut with an average knife. In the ripe fruit the husk becomes yellow or orange and, as it dries, the fruit inside hardens to a wood-like consistency. At that stage the areca nut can only be sliced using a special scissor-like cutter (known as Sarota in Hindi and Aakattera in Telugu
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class:      Liliopsida
Order:      Arecales
Family:    Arecaceae
Genus:     Areca
Species:   A. catechu
Binomial name Areca catechu

ORIGIN AND HISTORY
The actual source of origin of arecanuts is uncertain. Its cultivation is said to date back to the pre-Christian era. It is mentioned as being cultivated in Malacca before 1593. De Candolle in his work ‘The origin of cultivated plants’ mentions that its origin is probably the Sunda Islands. It is now believed that arecanut is indigenous to southern Asia, Indonesia and possibly the Philippines. It is an aboriginal introduction into New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and western Micronesia and a recent introduction into Fiji, Samoa and other islands.
Geographic distribution
Native : China, Indonesia, Malaysia
Exotic : Fiji, India, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, United States of America.
Widely distributed in East Africa,  South Asia, and Pacific islands. It is cultivated from East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula across tropical Asia and Indonesia to the central Pacific and New Guinea In the Pacific, betel nut is grown for local consumption and is a significant item in intra- and inter island trade. Pacific grown betel nut does not, however, reach the large markets of South Asia and for this reason could not be considered a commercial export of international importance.
Chewing betel nut is a popular pastime in some of the Pacific islands such as in Micronesia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, etc. It is an old tradition, enjoyed by islanders of both genders, that provides mild stimulation and a sweetening of the breath.
On the island of Guam, for example, betel nuts are typically gathered from semi-wild trees in ravine forests and distributed through extended families or sold in village stores.

 Current distribution

From SE Asia, betel nut was distributed by indigenous peoples throughout tropical Asia as far as East Africa and the Pacific well before the arrival of Europeans in the region. The palm was distributed to the Pacific islands aboard sailing canoes by the prehistoric ancestors of the Micronesians who explored and settled the islands of the western Pacific.
Betel nut is today grown in East Africa, Madagascar, Arabian Peninsula, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, southern China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, and the Philippines. In the Pacific Basin it is grown in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Micronesia (Guam, Palau, Pohnpei, Saipan, Tinian,Rota, Chuuk, Yap), and Vanuatu. It can also be found on some atolls such as Mwoakilloa in Pohnpei State. In the CNMI it is also found on  Pagan, Agrigan, Alamagan, andAnatahan. It has also been recorded as being present onJaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands. In Hawai‘i it is grown mainly as an ornamental.
Details of the plant
Arecanut (Areca catechu L.), being a highly profitable commercial plantation crop, it is important to understand the package of practices to be followed in an arecanut garden and adopt the same for maximizing the returns.

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