From aren, a Javanese name used for one species.
Solitary or clustering spineless dwarf to robust palms. Trunks covered with interlaced fibres, in many species the individual trunks dying after fruiting. Crownshaft absent. Leaves feather-shaped (rarely undivided). Leaflets V-shaped in section, pale below, the tips jagged. Leaf stalks with various coverings of hair or scales but spineless. Leaf sheaths eventually forming black fibres. Flowers unisexual with both sexes on same plant. Panicles arising among the leaves or just below them. Fruit large, colourful.
A small genus. Closely related to Wallichia.
Moderately popular in cultivation.
Seed germinates erratically over 6-18 months. The fruit of all species contains caustic calcium oxalate crystals.
Arenga pinnata (Wurmb) Merr., which is widely cultivated in the tropics, is a very important economic plant being used as a source of sugar, sago, wine, fibre and thatch. One native species, found in northern Australia, A. australasica (H. Wendl. & Drude) S.T. Blake is too cold-sensitive to be grown in temperate regions. A. listeri Becc., from Christmas Island, is being trialled in Sydney for horticulture.
Variable genus with coarse interlacing trunk fibres, those described here being small palms no more than 2–3 m tall; leaflets V-shaped in section, often wedge-shaped or fan-shaped, and with jagged tips.
About 20 species distributed in India, S China, Malaysia, SE Asia, New Guinea, northern Australia and Christmas Island.
Uhl & Dransfield (1987).
Source: (2005). Arecaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.