Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"
The King will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me." .......Matthew 25

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sugar palm (Borassus flabellifer)

The sugar palm (Palmyra; Borassus flabellifer) tree is so iconic of Cambodia. It is seen everywhere in the countryside, and there's hardly a single landscape photo that does not show a sugar palm lurking in the background. It's one of the those trees that is so functional to the lives of the Cambodian villagers.

A description of the many uses of the sugar palm can be found here, at the FAO website.

Its leaves are used for thatching the roofs of the village huts. Unlike other villages in South East Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia) where the Nipah (attap) palm leaves are used instead, the Khmers stitch down the fronds of the sugar palm to make the roofs of their huts.

The fruits are edible, and the flowers are tapped for the syrupy liquid that is concentrated to make palm sugar. Unlike the palm sugar (gula melaka) in Malaysia/Singapore, which is harvested from coconut flowers, the palm sugar in Cambodia and other parts of Indochina is extracted from the Palmyra palm flowers. A detailed description of the process can be found at the FAO site, and some interesting pictures/descriptions can also be found at this Flickr site.

1 comment:

jaya said...

Here is another series of nice pics about processing palm sugar.