BETEL PALMS ON MAUI
If you have ever traveled the South Pacific and Asia, you may have come across the practice of chewing "betel nuts". It's an important cultural activity where the user gets a pleasant feeling from the chemical reaction caused by chewing the nut of certain palm trees (Areca catechu), in combination with a certain vine leaf and lime. This mildly euphoric stimulant is attributed to the presence of relatively high levels of psychoactive alkaloids.
Betel palms grow well in Maui's climate, and generally start to bear fruit at about the age of four to six years. They can produce clusters of nuts 2 or 3 times a year, and continue to produce fruits for 60 to 100 years.
Here are some young plants which have sprouted from nuts incubated in shredded coconut husk. These are almost ready to go into the ground. Betel nut cultivation could be a viable agricultural activity on a small island like Maui.
Georgina M. Hunter R(S)
Jim Sanders Realty Inc.
Paia, Maui HI
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