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Zalacca

(Salacca zalacca, Salacca edulis)

Other Names: Salak, Salaca, Snake fruit, Salakpalme

Description:
Salacca is a genus of 20 species of palms native to tropical southeastern Asia. They are very short-stemmed palms, with leaves up to 6-8 m long. The leaves have a spiny petiole; in most species they are pinnate with numerous leaflets, but some species, notably S. magnifica, have undivided leaves. The fruit grow in clusters at the base of the plants, and are edible in many species, with a reddish-brown scaly skin covering a white pulp and one to two large inedible seeds. Salak (salacca zalacca) is the species most widely grown for the fruit, which has a slight acidic taste.

Uses:
The zalacca fruit consists of lobes, each lobe containing a large inedible seed. The taste is usually sweet and acidic, but its apple-like texture can vary from very dry and crumbly to moist and crunchy. It is usually eaten out of hand.

Health:
Zalacca contains many vitamins and minerals including calcium, phosphorus and iron. It is used to help eyesight (as it contains high amount of beta-carotene) and treat diarrhoea

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Propagation:
Fresh seed germinates readily and propagation from seed is easy, have a high germination rate (90%) and emerge in less than 10 days, but the rate decreases after storage. However, vegetative propagation is recommended. Stem sections of 1-2 m length, taken from ageing, high-quality clones, are buried in the soil and covered with mulching material. The soil is kept moist to force viable buds on the cuttings to sprout. The plantlets are separated from the stem and nursed in polythene bags for a year before planting out.

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