Areca catechu • Puwak • පුවක් • Betel Nut

Areca catechu • Puwak • පුවක් Areca catechu • Puwak • පුවක් Areca catechu • Puwak • පුවක්

The betel nut tree which is locally know as puwak is a common tree in Sri Lanka, Puwak is a perennial plant, belong to Palm family native to Sri Lanka, India and several other Asian countries. It is commonly found in Sri Lanka wetland and intermediate zone as a naturally or as a cultivated plant.

In this tree stem is slender. Leaves are 1.2-2 m long. Inflorescence is 45-50 cm long. Flowers are creamy white. Fruit is ovoid, 5-7 cm long and epicarp yellow to orange when ripe. Seed is reddish yellow turning pale brown.

In English this palm is called the betel tree because its fruit, the areca nut, is often chewed along with the betel leaf, a leaf from a vine of the family Piperaceae.


The fruit of the Areca palm, commonly called as areca nut, is mainly used for chewing with betel leaf in almost all South Asian Countries and in Many South East Asian and Oceanic countries. It is a mild stimulant cause a mild hot sensation to the body. Nut is used both in fresh and dried forms. In Pakistan and India Fresh nut are cut and flavored to produce different products. In China and India Areca nut is used in the preparation of Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines. In India powdered areca nut is used as a constituent in some tooth pastes. In some parts of India powdered areca nuts, decoctions or extracted alkaloids from areca are used in the veterinary medicine to remove tapeworms and other intestinal parasites of animals.

Areca leaves are used to produce many house hold items, for decorative purposes and the leaf sheath to make fast decomposing plates, packing materials etc. Traditionally, areca leaf sheaths have been used to pack cooked rice and to preserve treacle of “Fish Tail Palm”. Matured stems are used as a building material as well as for decoration of religious events by Hindus. Young plants are used as an ornamental plant.

Areca catechu • Puwak • පුවක් Areca catechu • Puwak • පුවක් Areca catechu • Puwak • පුවක්

【Text by Lakpura™. Images by Google, copyright(s) reserved by original authors.】
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