a forest understory palm endemic to Peninsular Malaysia.
Most palms are either solitary (growing as a single
stem throughout their life) or branched at the base to produce a clump
of stems. Only very few palms show branching above the base. The
spiny typically climbing palms with scaly fruits are called the rattans,
a few of which produce the cane that we use to make furniture, weave mats
|Rattan tangle: a fascinating mess.
|Palms attract a great many people around the world because of their beauty. Palms are also economically important because many species are sources of sago (starch), an important component in the diet of people in the tropics, while some have edible "palm heart" (the tender growing apex of the palm stem, sometimes called the "cabbage" and referred to as "umbut" in Malay).||
Arenga microcarpa is one of the American starch palms akin in use to the Southeast Asian sago found
in the Rimba Ilmu's main palm collection.
(Photo: Teresa Wong)
|A young Arenga westerhoutii or
palm indigenous to Peninsular Malaysia, in the Rimba Ilmu.
Photo: Teresa Wong
|Most palms produce their
inflorescence laterally and stem growth is not affected, but a few (such
as Metroxylon sagu, or the Sago Palm) have stems that die after
producing a huge apical inflorescence.
|Mauritia carana, a species native
to the Amazonian South American region.
Photo: L.G. Saw
|Dypsis decaryi, the Triangular
Palm from Madagascar, in the Rimba Ilmu Building courtyard.
Photo: Agnes Loh