Nov 2011 – Borassus Flabellifer

Borassus Flabellifer

Borassus Flabellifer
(Toddy Palm, Lontar, Sea Apple)

This tall palm is frequently noticeable in drier tropical regions where it grows to perfection. It is native to India and Malaysia and is widespread and common in open situations, frequently growing in dry, sandy soils near the coast and often forming communities.

The hard, black trunks are often curved and bear a dead skirt beneath the crown of large (3 Meter across), rigid, blue-green, fan-shaped leaves. In its native state the very old plants are cut for their hard, black timber and also the sap is topped to yield palm sugar and the leaves may be made into paper.

When fresh, the large, black fruit (almost as large as coconuts) contain one to three large seeds which are surrounded by a layer of orange, fibrous flesh which is sweet and juicy.

Palmyra Palms greatly resent disturbance and the seeds are best sown in their permanent position in the ground. They like a sunny aspect in well-drained soil and are very sensitive to cold. Seed takes two to six months to germinate.

This palm has been erroneously recorded from Australia, this record being based on planted specimen in the garden of Somerset, Cape York Peninsula, Queensland.

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