Family • Arecaceae - SASA - Nypa fruticans Wurmb. - NIPA PALM - Shui ye

Scientific names

Nypa fruticans Wurmb.
Nipa fruticans Thunb.
Nipa fruticosa Lam.
Nipa litoralis Blanco
Shui ye (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

FRENCH: Palmier des marais, Palmier des marécages, Palmier nipa, Palmier d’eau.
GERMAN: Attapalme, Mangrovenpalme, Nipapalme, Nypa-Palme.
ITALIAN: Palma delle paludi.
JAPANESE: Nippa yashi, Nippayasi.
PALAUAN: Toechel.
THAI: Chaak, Lukchaak.

Common names

Anipa (Ibn.)
Lasa (Tag.)
Nipa (S.-Fil.)
Pauid (Tag.)
Pawid (Tag.)
Pinog (It.)
Pinok (Ibn.)
Saga (Sbl.)
Sasa (Pamp., Tag.)
Tata (Ibn.)
Nipa palm (Engl.)
Zhu zi (Chin.)

Gen info
The nipa palm is one of the most important economic Philippine crops. It differs from most palm in the lack of an upright stem, trunkless, developing inflorescences at 1 meter height. The leaves are commonly use for thatching. Leaflets are used for making hats, baskets, mats, raincoats, wrappings for suman. The midribs are used for making brooms; the petioles for fuel.


Nipa is a monoecious palm, with stout, subterranean, trunkless and thornless rootstock. Leaves are at the ends of the rootstocks, large, rosette and compound, 5 to 10 meters long, arising from the stout underground stem (rhizome). Leaflets are numerous, rigid, lanceolate, up to 1 meter long, 2 to 7 cm centimeters wide. Male inflorescence is brown, erect, up to 1 meter high. Female inflorescence is stout, 1 meter high or less. Fruit is globose, nodding, up to 30 centimeters in diameter. Carpels are numerous, dark-brown, striate, smooth, 10 to 14 centimeters long, compressed, obovate. Seeds are hard, white, and as large as a hen’s egg.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Sorting Nypa names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

(2) Corrosion Inhibition of Zinc on HCl using Nypa fruticans Wurmb Extract and 1,5 Diphenyl Carbazone / ORUBITE- OKOROSAYE, K; 2OFORKA, N C / J. Appl. Sci. Environ. Mgt. 2004 Vol. 8 (1) 57 – 61

(3) Determination of volatile compounds in fresh and fermented Nipa sap (Nypa fruticans) using static headspace gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS/ Nur Aimi, R., *Abu Bakar, F. and Dzulkifly, M. H. / International Food Research Journal 20(1): 369-376 (2013)

(4) Malaysian companay to produce ethanol from Nypa fruticans / Biopact

(5) Optimization of Bacterial Doses and Incubation Time on Bio-Ehanol Fermentation of Nipah (Nypa fruticans) for Biofuel Energy / Wiludjeng Trisasiwi, Ari Asnani and Retna Setyawati / Journal of Life Sciences 5 (2011) 1022-1029

(6) Biology of nipa palm (Nypa fruticans Wurmb., Arecaceae) and its potential for alcohol production / EUFEMIO T. RASCO, JR / Asia Life Sciences, Vol 19, No 2 (2010)

– Along tidal streams in brackish swamps and muddy banks throughout the Philippines.
– Gregarious over large areas of favorable habitats.
– Also occurs in India, through Malaya to tropical Australia.


– Fermented nipa sap contains high amount of ethanol, together with higher alcohols, esters, diacetyl, and acetoin.

– Sap is highly fermentable.
– Fresh sap has a sweet and fruit-like odor.

Parts used
Roots, shoots and leaves.

– Young seeds are edible.
– Nipa is a source of alcohol, sugar and vinegar.
– The fermented juice, tuba, is extensively used as beverage.


– Decoction of fresh leaves used for indolent ulcers.
– In Malaya, the juice of young shoots, with coconut milk, used as a drink for treating herpes.
– Ash of roots and leaves used for headaches and toothaches.
– Fresh leaves, in cataplasm or lotion form, used for treatment of ulcers.
– The fermented sap diluted with water used as eyewash in eyelid and conjunctival inflammations.
– In Bangladesh, used as a tonic and stimulant for debility.

– Leaves are one of the most commonly used material for thatching.
– Leaflets are used for making hats, raincoats, baskets, bags, mats, suman wrappers.
– Midribs used for making brooms.
– Petioles used for fuel.
– Nipa is a source of alcohol (sasa lambanog), vinegar and sugar.

Study Findings
• Zinc Corrosion Inhibition: Study showed Nypa fruticans leaves extract and DPC (diphenyl carbazone) inhibit the corrosion of zinc comparatively, possibly through the protonation of the hydrogen evolution process or formation of a soluble complex on zinc surface by molecules of N. fruticans or DPC.
• Antioxidant Capacity: Evaluation for antioxidant capacity showed total phenolic and flavonoid content of immature fruits were higher than mature fruits. The immature fruits showed a high DPPH radical scavenging activity and antioxidant capacity, even higher than BHT and mature fruits.
• Ethanol Production from Sap: Study evaluated the production of ethanol from the sap. With its incredibly high sugar-rich sap yield, researchers estimated 15,000 to 20,000 liters of biofuel yield per hectare (compared with sugar cane at 5000-8000 liters, and corn at 2,000 liter), on a continuing basis, year-round, for up to 50 years.
• Biology and Sap Yield Estimate: An April-May 2009 survey done in the Philippines to study the biology of nipa with emphasis on potential for alcohol production showed the estimates of sap yield to be much lower than the ones reported in literature.
• Biofuel Energy: Study evaluated the optimum bacterial concentration for fermentation to produce high concentration of bio-fuel. Results showed the highest yield of bio-ethanol (8.98%) was produced with 7.5% of starter concentration and 6 days of incubation time.

Cultivated and wildcrafted.