Know about the Nipa palm

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Nipa palm Quick Facts
Name: Nipa palm
Scientific Name: Nypa fruticans
Origin South Asia – Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Southeast Asia, northern Australia and to the Pacific Islands – Solomon, Marianas, Caroline islands
Shapes Large globose syncarp
Flesh colors White
Taste Delicious, creamy
Nipa palm is native to China, Bangladesh, Ryuku Islands, the Andaman, Sri Lanka, India and Nicobar Islands, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Borneo, Vietnam, Maluku, Java, Malaya, Sulawesi, the Philippines, Sumatra and Bismarck Archipelago, the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, the Caroline Islands, the Solomon Islands, the Australian Northern Territory and Queensland. It is naturalized in Nigeria, the Mariana Islands, the Society Islands of French Polynesia, Trinidad and Panama.

It is classified as palm and has been declared as non-threatened palm in South East Asia. It thrives in mangroves areas in Jambi Province but underutilized. Various parts of nypa tree are utilized such as leaves for thatching, roofing and nypa sap to make sugar. The young inflorescence before flower opening is tapped to yield a copious sap to make sugar called gula Malacca, alcohol or vinegar, molasses or treacle.

Young nipa shoots are edible and the flower petals are infused for making aromatic tisane. The heart cabbage is consumed as vegetable. White jelly like endosperm of immature seed is translucent, sweet and consumed raw or preserved in form of syrup or made into gelatinous sweetmeat balls which is used as ingredient in Singapore, Malaysia and also known as Attap chee. Vinegar is made from the sap of Nipa palm.

Plant description

Nipa palm is trunkless and clumping palm which grows to the height of 10 meters having subterranean horizontal stem which grows beneath the ground and rosette leaves and flower stalk grows upwards above ground surface. Leaves measures 9 meters long and is pinnate, stiffly erect having two ranks of 60 to 130 cm long, stiff, alternating, lanceolate leaflets which is pointing upwards from overlapping stout leaf bases. Leaves have 120 leaflets per leaf and has shiny green upper and powdery lower surface. Rhizomes and leaf bases are light and spongy. Inflorescences are yellow, subterminal, long, sturdy 1 m long stalks which arises from the base of the plant. Stalk has long sheathing spathes and few ascending spathed branches. Spathes are orange tipped olive green. Female inflorescence is densely packed and spherical head of flowers. Male inflorescence is a club shaped spike of closely arranged flowers which emerges from lateral stalks below female inflorescence. Flowers (male) are cream color which are borne on branches and central stalk. Female flowers are lemon yellow and form in round head size of a golf ball which terminates the central stalk. The flower converts into brown, fibrous chestnut which is ovoid, angular, 10-15 cm long and 5-8 cm wide and forms a large and spherical infructenscence about  30-45 cm in diameter. The fruit has one seed which is egg shaped having homogenous, soft and edible endosperm.

Culinary uses

  • Seeds are consumed raw and imparts delicious and creamy flavor.
  • Inflorescence is used to extract a sugary sap.
  • It is used to make alcoholic beverage, vinegar and syrup
  • Cook the inflorescence in syrup from extracted from inflorescence to make sweetmeat.

Traditional uses

  • In Malaysia, the juice extracted from shoots is mixed with coconut milk to treat herpes.
  • In Borneo, the ash of burnt leaves and roots are used for headache and toothache.
  • Use the ash with wood tar in blackening teeth.
  • The leaves decoction is used in Philippines as a lotion for indolent ulcers.
  • It is used for ulcers, toothache and centipede bites.






Comments are closed.


The content and the information in this website are for informational and educational purposes only, not as a medical manual. All readers are urged to consult with a physician before beginning or discontinuing use of any prescription drug or under taking any form of self-treatment. The information given here is designed to help you make informed decisions about your health. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment that may have been prescribed by your doctor. If you are under treatment for any health problem, you should check with your doctor before trying any home remedies. If you are following any medication, take any herb, mineral, vitamin or other supplement only after consulting with your doctor. If you suspect that you have a medical problem, we urge you to seek competent medical help. The Health Benefits Times writers, publishers, authors, its representatives disclaim liability for any unfavorable effects causing directly or indirectly from articles and materials contained in this website