Areca catechu – 1897 illustration[2]
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Subfamily: Arecoideae
Tribe: Areceae
Subtribe: Arecinae
Genus: Areca
Type species
Areca catechu [1]
  • Mischophloeus Scheff.
  • Gigliolia Becc.
  • Pichisermollia H.C.Monteiro
  • Arecus

Areca is a genus of 51 species of palms in the family Arecaceae, found in humid tropical forests from the islands of the Philippines, Malaysia and India, across Southeast Asia to Melanesia.[1][3] The generic name Areca is derived from a name used locally on the Malabar Coast of India.


Khichdi is an Indian dish. This image shows a prasāda in a traditional areca leaf bowl at ISKCON Temple Bangalore.

The best-known member of the genus is A. catechu, the areca nut palm.[1][4] Several species of areca nuts, known for their bitter and tangy taste, raw or dried, are routinely used for chewing, especially in combination with the leaves of betel and dried leaves of tobacco. Areca nut is also popularly referred to as betel nut because of its usage for chewing with betel leaves. In Assam, areca nut is also known as tamul in the local dialect.

Cultural significance

The Areca palm, mainly known for its Areca nuts, holds profound cultural and historical significance in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. These regions, steeped in rich traditions, have integrated Areca into various aspects of life.


(51 species)

See also

Worldwide areca yield


  1. ^ a b c Charlie D. Heatubun; John Dransfield; Thomas Flynn; Sri S. Tjitrosoedirjo; Johanis P. Mogea; William J. Baker (2012). "A monograph of the betel nut palms (Areca: Arecaceae) of East Malesia". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 168 (2): 147–173. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2011.01199.x.
  2. ^ Areca catechu – the Areca palm. In botanical drawing from Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen – by Franz Eugen Köhler, in 1897.
  3. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  4. ^ Zumbroich, Thomas J. (2008). "The origin and diffusion of betel chewing: A synthesis of evidence from South Asia, Southeast Asia and beyond". e-Journal of Indian Medicine. 1 (3): 87–140.