Betel Palm / Arecanut

Areca catechu



General Information :

  • It is a medium-sized tree growing to 20 m tall
  • The leaves are long, pinnate, with numerous, crowded leaflets.
  • Flowers are unisexual, minute and creamy white in color.
  • Fruits are Fibrous, ovoid yellow to orange or red when ripe, contain the betel nut.

Distribution :

  • Cultivated from India to the Solomon Islands and less commonly in Africa and Tropical America.

Habitat : An understorey plant of tropical, high rainfall forests, from sea level to 1,000 metres or more and especially near the coast.

Soil : It growing in a variety of soils. It thrives best in well drained soils.

Soil pH : 6.6-7.3pH

Altitude :Up to 1000 m (MSL)

Rainfall :750- 4500 mm

Temperature : 14-36 deg. C

Terrain : Plain/ Gentle slopes

Tree Characteristics :
  • Poor drought tolerant, light demander and shade demander

Habit : Evergreen Tree

Planting Guidelines

Natural Regeneration :


  • Natural regeneration is not satisfactory.

Artificial Regeneration :

  • Propagated by nursery raised seedlings.
  • The selection of proper planting material is of almost importance as it is pernnial crop

Seed collection and Storage :

  • Fruits are harvested when bright red or yellow to yellow orange in color.
  • Betel nut can be stored for few days without losing viability.
  • Planting within 7 days after harvest is advisable.

Seed Treatment :

  • No Pre – planting treatment is required.
  • Fruits are planted whole, with the husk.
  • Dried fruits are not viable.

Nursery Technique :

  • Seeds sown at a spacing of 5 - 6 cm apart in sand beds under partial shade with their stalk end pointing upwards.
  •  After the sprouts have produced two to three leaves, they are transplanted to a polythene bag 30 x 10 cm filled with forest soil and are allowed to grow for 12 to 18 months under partial shade.
  •  The seedlings can also be transplanted in secondary nursery beds with a spacing of 30 cm on either side.
  • Periodical watering should be given.

Plantation technique :

    • Dwarf and compact seedlings with more number of leaves should be selected.
    • Seedlings of 1 - 2 years age are planted in pits of about 90 cm x 90 cm x 90 cm at a spacing of 2.75 m either way and covered with soil to the collar level and pressed around.
    • Provide shade during summer months.
    • Growing Banana or other crops in advance may also provide shade.

    Care & Disease Control :

    • Weeding is done twice or thrice a year by spade digging. 
    • Wherever the land is sloppy, terracing has to be done to prevent soil erosion.

    Irrigation :

    "Irrigate weekly once during November – February, once in 4 days during March – May. Flood irrigation 175 lit/ tree/ day. In drip irrigation 16 – 20 lit/ tree/ day. "

    Recommended Harvest :

    • The bearing starts after 5 years of planting.
    • Nuts are harvested when they are three quarters ripe.
    • The number of harvests will vary from three to five in one year depending upon the season and place of cultivation.

    Yield :

    • An average of about 1250 kg/ha can be obtained.

    Agro Forestory :

    • Cocoa, black pepper, coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, clove and citrus

    Major uses :

    • Nut. Leaf vegetable, Fiber

    Market details :

    Rs. 39000/quintal

    Carbon stock :

    0.0155 tonC/tree