Family - Aracaceae / Palmae - Licuala spinosa Wurmb. - SPINY LICUALA - Ci shan ye zong

Scientific names

Licuala spinosa Wurmb
Licuala horrida Blume
Licuala pilearia (Lour.) Blume
Licuala racemosa Blume
Corypha pilearia Lour.

Common names

Balabat (P. Bis.)
Balatbat (Bis., Tag.)
Likuala (Tag..)
Ugsang (Sul.)
Licuala palm (Engl.)
Mangrove fan palm (Engl.)
Spiny licuala (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Ci zhou lu, Ci shan ye zong.
INDIA: Jungli selai (Andaman Islands).
PORTUGUESE: Palmeira-leque-de-espinho (Brazil).


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Blowpipe dart poison in Borneo and the secret of its production / Free Library by Farlex

(2) Medicinal Plants Used By the Jah Hut Orang Asli at Kampung Pos Penderas, Pahang, Malaysia / H.C. Ong, A.W. Faezah and P. Milow* / Ethno Med, 6(1): 11-15 (2012)

(3) Studies on the Constituents of Palmae Plants. VI. Steroid Saponins and Flavonoids of Leaves of Phoenix canariensis hort. ex CHABAUD, P. humilis ROYLE var. hanceana BECC., P. dactylifera L., and Licuala spinosa WURMB. / Asami Akitoshi, Hirai Yasuaki, Shoji Junzo /Chemical & pharmaceutical bulletin 39(8), 2053-2056, 1991-08-25

(4) Licuala spinosa Wurmb / Synonyms / The Plant List

Licuala is a small clustering palm. Stems are stout, roughened with fallen leaf scars, clustered, 2 to 3 meters high, 5 to 10 centimeters in diameter. Leaves are about 1 meter across, glossy and fan-shaped, deeply divided 9- to 13-partite and horizontally spreading, with toothed edges. Spadix is axillary, elongated, with the branches adnate to the rachis up to the orifice of the spathes, ultimately with many fine pubescent, densely flowered spikes. Flowers are sessile, in 2 or 3 rows, small and nearly oval in shape. Corolla is a little longer than the calyx, divided below the middle in three, broad, lanceolate segments. Fruit is obovoid, 5 to 8 millimeters long, pedicelled by the calyx tube, red when mature, and one seeded. Seed is ovoid, with horny albumen, and horseshoe-shaped.

In seashores, back of mangroves in brackish mud. Grows wild in thickets at low altitudes.
Cultivated for ornamental purposes.

– Study of leaves yielded vitexin and methyl (25S)-proto-dioscin.

Parts used

– Young shoots reportedly edible, raw or cooked. Eaten with Thai shrimp paste and chili sauce.
– In Cambodia, bark used in combination with other drugs for treatment of tuberculosis.
– In Malaysia. meristem infusion is taken orally as antidote to poisoning. Also used for dehydration.
– In Thailand, used to treat centipede bites

– Poison Preparation: In Borneo, the leaf’s fireproof durability is of critical utility in preparing blowpipe dart poison the latex of Antiaris toxicaria tree is held on a folded boat-shaped young leaf of L. spinosa, and held over a small flame for about a week. The use of the young leaf is considered critical to the poison processing.
– Leaves used for roofing. Also used as wrappings for glutinoud rice desserts.

Study Findings
– Constituents: Study isolated vitexin and methyl (25S)-proto-dioscin.

Ornamental cultivation.