Arenga pinnata

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Figure 1. A young plant.



Arenga saccharifera

Common Names:

Sugar Palm, Arenga Palm, Areng palm, Black-fiber palm
Gomuti Palm, Aren, Enau, Irok, and Kaong (local names)

Distribution & Habitat:

It is widely distributed in rainforests of tropical Asia; from eastern India east to Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines in the east.


A large palm to 20m (60 ft) tall, with erect, pinnate leaves that are 6-12 m (20-40ft) long and 1.5m (5 ft) wide. The trunk is covered in a black fibrous hessian like material, while the leaf bases have long spines protecting them.


Widely grown in the tropics and is used to produce sugar, sago, and alcoholic drinks.


Full sun, and lots of water, in a well drained position. Can be grown in warm temperate areas, but it is a much slower grower there.

Figure 2. Adult plant.
Figure 3. A. pinnata infructescence.
Figure 4. A. pinnata in habitat, Sumatra.
Figure 5. In Sumatra, the spines on the trunk are used as roofing material.
They evidently act like straw, and form a waterproof covering.
Figure 6. A. pinnata spines.

Contributed by:

Tony Huntington (Figure 1)
Mike Gray (Figures 2-5).
Ian Edwards (Figure 6)

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, JSTOR, Trebrown

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk