P is for Palm Tree
Palm tree is a common name for a family of flowering plants known as Arecacea or Palmae with roughly 202 genera and around 2,600 known species. Palm trees grow in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate climates, and are among the best known and most extensively cultivated plant families.
|Anahaw or Footstool Palm, Saribus rotundufolius|
As a tropical country, various species of palm trees are abundant in the Philippines. One is Anahaw or footstool palm, a round-leaf fountain palm, the unofficial national leaf of the Philippines. There is also buri palm (Corypha elata Roxb.) that grows as tall as 20 meters, the largest of the Philippine palms. Buri is the source of raffia and buntal.
Areca nut palm (Areca catechu), locally known as bonga, is used for landscaping, the nut is also popular for chewing among the older folks in the provinces.
Rattan (Calameae) is a vine-like species of palm; it is wild-crafted and an important material in basket-making and the furniture industry.
The most common is the coconut palm (Cocos Nucifera L.), also called "The Tree of Life" because of the endless list of products and bi-products derived from its various parts.
From coconut meat, various products can be obtained---coconut flour, desiccated coconut, coconut milk, chips and candies and animal feeds.
Copra is dried coconut meat that has high oil content---as much as 64%. Coconut oil is touted as the most beneficial of all oils. Although high in saturated fat, it is the richest source of health-promoting MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids). It is the most readily digested of all the fats of general use in the world and there is no known toxicity for coconut oil. It is also an important ingredient in detergents, soap, lard, coco chemicals, crude oil, pomade, shampoo, margarine, butter and cooking oil.
Coconut leaves produce good quality paper pulp, midrib brooms, hats and mats, bags and baskets, and utility roof materials.
Coconut fruit produces buko (young coconut), often used for salads, sweets and pastries. a mature coconut fruit yields gata or coconut milk used in making sweets and other Filipino dishes.
Coconut water is also called liquid endosperm. It is thrown away during copra making and becomes a great waste. Coconut water is made into coco vinegar, coco wine, production of the chewy, fiber-rich nata de coco and a good fluid and nutrient replenisher. A Filipino urologist discovered the efficacy of coconut water therapy in managing renal disorders.
Coconut husks are made from bristle fiber, mattress fiber and coir dust. Fiber from coconut husks are used in cottage industries that make brushes, doormats, carpets, ropes, and mattresses. Coir fiber can be used as a substitute for jute. It is also suitable in making pulp and paper. The well board is manufactured from coco coir and short fibers. No binding materials are needed and it is termite-proof. The board produced is as good as narra, plywood or masonite.
Out of its pith, there's the delectable ubod (heart of the coconut)--a fibrous part from the central core of the coconut palm tree. It can be served in many appetizing ways--lumpia (fresh spring roll), salads, pickle, can be cooked with beef, pork or shrimps. Guinit (coconut sheets from the ribs and base of coconut leaves) can be made into hats, bags and other home accessories.
|coconut palm trees in Anhawan Island|
From the bud of the coconut tree's inflorescence is a juice called coconut toddy popularly known as tuba. The fermented juice is a common alcoholic drink in the provinces where coconut palm trees are abundant.
After the husk, meat and water have been removed, there's the coconut shell. This material that was traditionally used as charcoal has created a lucrative cottage industry. Coconut shells are crafted into fashion jewelry, home decor, bags, buttons and table top accessories. Its charcoal is utilized in air purification systems.
The mature trunk of coconut palm makes a durable construction and furniture materials. Among the parts of the palm tree, the trunk gives the highest pulp yield. Medicine, beverages and dyestuff are obtained from the roots.
There is also a host of studies on the medicinal properties of coconut palm trees. From hypertension to leukemia, burns and bruises, kidney stones, ulcers, malaria, asthma, baldness, coconut palm has demonstrated that it is indeed a Tree of Life.
Sources: Philippine Coconut Authority, Wiki, Stuartxchange
Linking to ABC Wednesday