Buri palm

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CORYPHA ELATA also known as BURI

The buri palm is found throughout the Philippines, in most island and provinces, being in some regions widely scattered and in others subgregarious and abundant at low and medium altitudes. It also occurs in India to Malaya.

The buri palm is the most stately and largest palm of the Philippines. The trunk is erect, straight, up to1 meter in diameter and 20 meter high. The leaves are fan-shaped, large, rounded in outline, up to 3 meters in length, and palmately split into about 100, lanceolate, 1.5 to 6 centimeter wide, segments extending one-haft to two-thirds to the base; the petioles are very stout. Up to 3 meter long, 20 centimeters thick at the base, and their margins armed with very stout black spines. The inflorescence is pyramidal, up to 7 meters in height, the lower branches up to 3.5 meters long, the upper gradually shorter, the ultimate branches up to1 meter in the length. The flower are numerous, greenish-white, and 5 to 6 millimeter in diameter. The fruits are globose, fleshy, 2 to 2.5 centimeter in diameter, and the seeds are hard, and about 1.5 Centimeters in diameter.

The uses of the buri palm are summarized by Brown as follows:

It produces a fermented drink (tuba), alcohol, vinegar, syrup, and sugar. The trunk yields large quantities of starch. The bud (ubod) is used for salad or as a vegetable. The kernels of the young fruits are edible and are made into a sweetmeats. The mature seeds are used for beads? (rosaries) and buttons. The petiole yields so-called buntal fiber of which, the famous Baliuag and Lacban hats are made, or which, when crudely extracted, is sometimes twisted into rope. Mature leaf is used for covering tobacco bales, rarely as a thatch for houses, while the ribs are used for making brooms. From the unopened leaf is obtained a very fine fiber, corresponding to raffia fiber, which is utilized in making cloth, fancy articles, and as string. Fibers secured from the ribs of the unopened leaves are extensively used in the manufacture of the so-called Calasiao or Pototan hats. Strips of the unopened leaf are made into hats, mats, bags, sails, basket, and other articles.

Medicinally the buri palm is not as useful as the coconut. Guerrero reports that the young plants are brewed in decoction and administered in case of febrile catarrh. Burkill says that in Malaya the starch is recommended for bowel complaint, and the juice of the roots for diarrhea. Heyne states that the roots are chewed in Celebes for coughs.

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