Nipa Palm

Ark of taste
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The nipa palm (Nypa fruticans Wurmb) is an ancient plant that grows in the Philippines and is a tropical plant. The leaves extend up to 9 meters in height, and flowers, which are red or yellow in color, like catskins, produce woody nuts arranged in a globular cluster up to 25cm across on a single stalk. The ripe nuts separate from the ball and float away on the tide, occasionally germinating while still water borne. The young flower stalk and hard seeds are edible and provide hydration. The inflorescence can be tapped to yield a sweet edible sap collected to produce a local alcoholic beverage called Tuba, Bahal, and Tuak. A cluster is cut from the stalk about six inches down, and mud is rubbed on the stalk to induce sap flow. Tuba (palm toddy) can be restored in tapayan (earth balloon vases) for several weeks to make a kind of vinegar. Young shoots are also edible, and the petals can be infused to make an aromatic essence. Fruits are sweet in taste, and translucent gelatinous balls are used as dessert.
Nipa palm is one of the oldest angiosperm plants and probably the oldest palm species. It had a pantropical distribution 13–63 million years ago and originated from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Papua Guinea.

Every second week of August, the local communities celebrate the Nipa Products Festival to encourage the community to participate and explore the best food that can be made from the Nipa plant. The local community serves laksoy at the wedding; it is a nipa palm wine and is one of the traditional recipes and cultural ways of welcoming guests. However, the fresh leaves are used as medicine for the treatment of ulcers, and the fermented sap diluted with water is used as eyewash for eyelid conjunctival inflammations. The leaves are also used for wrapping in suman.

Due to limited production, widespread other crop cultivation, and a lack of harvesting practices, environmental consequences such as deforestation and habitat destruction make this product at risk of disappearing. However, products such as Nipa palm should be protected in our coastal ecosystems because they help stabilize coastal soil, preventing soil erosion, floods, and natural calamities. Our biodiversity provides a home for a wide range of plant species and other organisms.

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Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Nominated by:Maria isabel Sabareza