Non Conventional Fibres Association

Arreca Nut fibres

Botanical Information

  • Areca catechu is a palm species that belongs to the family Arecaceae and is commonly known as the betel nut.
  • It is an extremely high potential, perennial, monocotyledonous species having properties of an angiosperm.
  • It is native to the Philippines but is mainly grown in the tropical regions of the Pacific, Asia, and some parts of East Africa.
  • Countries like Taiwan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and other tropical countries are the main cultivators of the palm tree

Agroclimatic Conditions for Cultivation

  • To ensure a well deep root system, the soil for cultivation should be deep with high organic carbon content.
  • Laterite, red loamy, and alluvial soils are most suited for the cultivation of areca nut.
  • The pH range of soil should lie between acidic to neutral.
  • It requires evenly distributed rainfall with mean annual rainfall of 750-4500mm.
  • It proliferates in the tropical regions with temperatures around 150C – 390C.
  • The lifespan of the palm tree continues for 100 years, and fruiting for around 30-60 years.
  • Statistics shows that the annual world production of areca nuts is 1,073,000, and approximately 2.5 g of areca husk could be extracted from every areca betel nut.
  • In India, 90% of cultivation is contributed by Karnataka, Kerala, and Assam states.

Name in different regional languages

English: Betelnut palm, Areca nut, Betel palm

Spanish: Palma catechou

Betel-nut, Supari palm, Pinang palm.

Hindi: Supari

Filipino: Bunga

Sanskrit: Poogiphalam

French: Arec cachou, Arequier

Tamil: Kamugu

German: Areca palme, Betelnut palme

Telugu: Tamalapaku

Italian: Avellana d’India

Kannada: Adike

Thai: Maak mia

Marathi: Supari

Sinhala: Puwak

Malay: Adakka-maram, Kavugu

Trade name: Areca nut, Betel nut

Vietnamese: Cao

Chart 1 Name of areca nut plant in different regional languages


  • It is an eco-friendly fibre as it is biodegradable, renewable and can be recycled.
  • It shows good tensile and elongation properties and is water absorbent.
  • The coarse betel nut fibres holds good specific mechanical strength and has excellent toughness. 
  • The raw betel nut fibre has the highest fibre length.
  • Fibres are rough, brittle, and stiffer due to the presence of lignin.
  • The strength and fineness of the fibre is similar to cotton .
  • It is lightweight, stringy and has high strength to width ratio.

Table 1. Physical & mechanical properties and chemical composition of areca nut fibres

Physical & Mechanical properties

Length Short







0.28-0.89 mm

Elongation at break




Chemical composition

Alpha cellulose


Hemi cellulose





4.4 – 4.8%

Pectin and wax

A negligible percentage


  • It is used to make thick boards, pressed boards, fluffy cushions, and nonwoven fabrics.
  • It is also used to make paper by blending areca nut and bamboo/banana pseudo stem pulp.
  • It can be used to make composites with different materials to enhance the usage of this fibre.
  • The composites made up of areca nut fibre and epoxy can be used for marine applications, electrical, insulating components, lightweight components, automobile industry and chemical industry.
  • It is used as a building material in villages and throughout southeast Asia it is used for different construction purpose.