Arenga obtusifolia

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Arenga (ah-REN-gah)
obtusifolia (ob-too-sih-FOH-lee-uh)
Arenga obtusifolia seedlings.jpg
Seedlings, Hawaii.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Arenga (ah-REN-gah)
obtusifolia (ob-too-sih-FOH-lee-uh)
Gomutus obtusifolius, Saguerus langbak.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Pokok Langkap, langlap (Indonesia), sugar palm.

Habitat and distribution

Arenga obtusifolia
is found in Java, Malaya, Sumatera, and Thailand. Coastal Rainforest, Low Elevation Rainforest.


Physical Characteristic:Height: Up to 16 m (50ft) Growth Habit: Clustering, Growth Rate: Medium Fast, Trunk Type: No Crownshaft, Light Grey Fibrous, Prominently Ringed, Trunk Diameter: Up to 300 mm (12") Leaf Type: Pinnate, Leaf Size: Up to 5.4 m (18ft) Leaf Color:Dark Green, Silver Underside, Petiole:Up to 900 mm (36") Inflorescence Colour: White, Fruit Description: Up to 50 mm (2") Ovoid, Fruit Colour: Green.


Light: Full Sun, Partial Shade, Soil: Consistently Moist, Well Draining, Watering: Frequent, Min. Temp: 2°C (36°F) Tolerances: Full Sun, High Humidity, Propagation: Seed, Germination: 1-6 Months, 28-32°C (82-90°F).

Comments and Curiosities

The sugar palm Arenga obtusifolia commonly known as 'langkap' in Indonesia, covers an estimated 18, 000 hectares of the Ujung Kulon peninsula (part of the World Heritage Site, Ulung Kulon National Park, Java), home to the 'Critically Endangered (CR)' Javan Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondiacus). The spread and dominance of A. obtusifolia has negative impacts on undergrowth that comprises the food of the Javan Rhino; including seedling regeneration because of shading and poor light conditions caused by the canopy of the palm. Since 2003, studies have been underway to find an effective way of controlling this invasive species. Direct injections with Round-Up (Atrazine) herbicide, have proven to effectively kill the palm without leaving harmful chemical traces in the soil.

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin name by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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