The crown: we aren’t talking about the TV show, that’s what the top of a palm tree is called! This is where the tree’s leaves grow. An areca palm has a lifespan of 30 to 40 years. It begins shedding leaves when it is 7 years old. The average areca palm sheds 8 leaves a year, of which 4 or 5 are worth being collected for processing. The farmer himself doesn’t collect them. Instead, he generously allows people from villages surrounding the plantation to collect the leaves to sell. This serves as an important avenue of income for them and is enough to keep them going for a while. Thus areca palm plantations in a way are circular systems that sustain themselves and the surrounding localities. Now that’s what sustainability is! Manufacturers that use the leaves pay the local people for them, who in turn help the farmer by clearing their plantation of fallen leaves. This helps the farmer continue reaping good profits and taking care of the plantation for years to come. Quite ingenious, don’t you think?
Don’t you love driving past palm trees with their bright leaves? Areca palms boast of luscious bright yellow-green leaves at the top of the trunk. They can turn brown on the tips if the heat becomes too much for them. In such a case, you’d have to give them a little haircut to ease the stress on the leaf! The leaves can grow to the size of your arm and finally fall as the tree grows. Fallen leaves can be used as firewood for cooking, or even as fertilisers. Besides these, they are also used by companies like Adaaya to make palm leaf tableware, an eco-friendly substitute for plastic tableware that is harsh on the environment. Have you ever grown an indoor areca plant?