Distribution: Approximately 60 species distributed from India to South China, through Malesia to New Guinea & the Solomon Islands.
A.k.a.: Betel nut palm, pinang, bunga, jambe
Growing Comments: These are true rainforest palms and will grow very well in any high rainfall, high humidity tropical area, preferably in a partially shaded area. Some, Like A. catechu, will definitely accept full sun.
Areca vestiaria is a medium sized, beautiful, palm from Southeast Asia that will grow to a total height of about 25 ft. It has an orange to red crownshaft, red seeds about the size of grapes and a new frond that opens up with a striking maroon color. A few individuals are single-trunked, but most are multi-stemmed with up to half a dozen trunks. The palm is reasonably fast and will grow from a height of 4 ft to 12-15 ft in about 4-5 years.
A. vestiaria, and especially the maroon, or red, variety is very popular because of its colorful crownshaft(s), fruit and new emerging frond. Some individuals are solitary while others are clumping.
Comments: Areca catechu is widely cultivated, the endosperm containing the mild narcotic agent arecaine which is chewed with the leaves of piper betle Linnaeus. This genus is highly variable.