list of palms that can be tapped for sap and sugar production

Hereunder is a list of palms that have been traditionally tapped for sap. The  harvested sap has been processed into palm sugar but there are other more uses.

As already mentioned in a separate page, the palms are considered one of the major sources of sugar in the world. Special mention of Phoenix sylvestrisBorassus flabelliferCocos nucifera, and Arenga pinnata was made by Hill (1972) and these were also reviewed by Dalibard (1997; 1999) along with other palm species. The entries on geographical distribution were obtained from (2011).

These palm trees are among  more than 30 species that Dalibard (1997; 1999) reviewed as having been traditionally tapped for sap with promising prospects for use as animal feed. The list is not exclusive. Although most tapped palms yield sap with high sugar content, many are used to make wine, vinegar, and other products instead of sugar.

The author of this page himself has lived in close proximity to coconut palm trees that are tapped daily for sap. He also had personal experience in the tapping of sweet palm or kaong (Arenga pinnata).

Table 1. List of palms that have been utilized as sources of palm sugar in different tropical regions of the world.

Areca nut, Arecanut, Areca palm, Betel nut, Betel palm, Bunga Areca catechu Cultigen from Malesia
Aren Gelora Arenga undulatifolia Borneo, Philippines (Palawan), Sulawesi
Philippine Dwarf Sugar Palm Arenga tremula Philippines
Sugar palm, Arenga palm, Kaong, Gomuti, Ijuk, Areng palm, Black fiber palm Arenga pinnata syn. A. saccharifera Assam to Malesia; China to C. Malesia
Asian Palmyra palm, Sugar palm tree, Toddy palm, Desert palm Borassus flabellifer India to SC. China and Indo-China, Jawa to Lesser Sunda Is.
Buri palm, Gebang palm, buli, Cabbage palm, Bajur palm Corypha elata / Corypha utan Andaman Is. to N. Australia; NE. India to N. Australia
Fishtail palm, Philippine fishtail palm, Pugahan Caryota cumingii Philippines
Jaggery palm, Toddy palm, Solitary fishtail, Kitul palm, Wine palm Caryota urens Sri Lanka, Myanmar and India
Coconut, Coconut palm Cocos nucifera C. Malesia to SW. Pacific, widely introduced elsewere
Date palm Phoenix dactylifera Arabian Pen. to S. Pakistan, widely introduced elsewere

Dwarf date palm, Senegal date palm Phoenix reclinata Trop. & S. Africa, Comoros, Madagascar, SW. Arabian Pen.
Wild date palm, Silver date palm, Sugar date palm Phoenix sylvestris Indian Subcontinent to W. Myanmar; Pakistan to Himalaya, E. India to Bangladesh
Nipa palm, Water coconut, Attap palm, Mangrove palm Nypa fruticans Sri Lanka to Nansei-shoto and Caroline Is.
Talipot palm Corypha umbraculifera SW India, Sri Lanka


DALIBARD C. 1997. The potential of tapping palm trees for animal production. Retrieved December 17, 2011 from

DALIBARD C. 1999. Overall view on the tradition of tapping palm trees and prospects for animal production. Livestock Research for Rural Development. Vol. 11, No. 1. Retrieved December 17, 2011 from

GLOBALSPECIES.ORG 2011. Accessed December 17, 2011 thru

HILL AF. 1972. Economic Botany. TMH ed. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. p. 210-241.

(Ben G. Bareja December 2011)

 I Cereal Crops I Grain Legumes / Pulses I Root and Tuber Crops I Fiber Crops I List of Palms Palm Sugar I Sugar Crops I

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