Nypa Fruiticans / Nipa Palm

 

 

  • It is the mangrove plant with the oldest known fossil, with pollen dated 70 million years ago
  • A Species of palm native to the coastlines and estuarine habitats of the Indian and Pacific Oceans
  • Nipa palms grow in soft mud and slow-moving tidal and river waters that bring in nutrients
  • Since the disastrous tsunami, nipah palms have been appreciated. They play the role of protector of lives by softening the impact of tsunami and preventing erosion.

Uses :

  • Feathery leaves or dried fronds called attap of the nipa palm are used by local populations as roof material for thatching houses or dwellings
  • The leaves are also woven into many types of baskets, mats and other household items.
  • Large stems are used to train swimming in Burma as it has buoyancy
  • On the island of Roti and Savu, nipa palm sap is fed to pigs during the dry season when other fodder is scarce. This is said to impart a sweet flavor to the meat
  • The young leaves are used to wrap tobacco
  • In the Philippines and Malaysia, the flower cluster ( inflorescence ) can be tapped before it blooms to yield a sweet, edible sap collected to produce a local alcoholic beverage -  tuba / bahal / tuak
  • Tuba can be stored in tapayan ( balloon vases ) for several weeks to make a kind of vinegar known as sukang paombong in Philippines and cuka nipah in Malaysia.
  • Tuba can also be distilled to make arrack, locally known as lambanog in Filipino and arak in Indonesian.
  • The petals of the flower can be brewed to make an aromatic tea
  • Young shoots are also edible
  • Attap chee is a name for the immature fruits – sweet, translucent, gelatinous balls used as a dessert ingredient in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore
  • Immature young fruit contains fresh water needed for survival
  • Nipa palm has a very high sugar-rich sap yield
  • Fermented into ethanol or butanol, the palm’s large amount of sap may allow for the production of 6,480 – 15,600 liters ( per year ) of fuel per hectare