Botanical name: Nypa fruticans Family: Arecaceae (Palm family)
Synonyms: Nipa arborescens, Nipa fruticans, Cocos nypa
Nipa palm is a large, evergreen palm forming a loose clump of growth from a prostrate or underground stem up to 45 cm in diameter. This stem, which is not visible, branches at intervals to form individual clumps of large, erect leaves that can each be up to 6 m long. The leaves, appearing to arise right from the base, are large, compound. The flowers are a globular inflorescence of female flowers at the tip with catkin-like red or yellow male flowers on the lower branches. The flower produces woody nuts arranged in a globular cluster up to 25 cm across on a single stalk. The ripe nuts separate from the ball and are floated away on the tide, occasionally germinating while still water-borne. A highly valued food and source of materials for local peoples, providing edible seeds and sap plus an excellent material for thatching. It is also planted along swampy coastlines, often with mangroves, in order to protect the shore from erosion. Nipa Palm is found in India, Malaysia, Indo-China to northern Australia.
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