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.
- Also found in China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
- Study of leaves yielded vitexin and methyl (25S)-proto-dioscin.
Bark, stems, leaves.
- Young shoots reportedly edible, raw or cooked. Eaten with Thai shrimp paste and chili sauce. (4)
- In Cambodia, bark used in combination with other plants
for treatment of tuberculosis.
- In Malaysia, leaves used for tuberculosis (5), meristem infusion is taken orally as antidote to poisoning. Also used for dehydration. (2)
- In Thailand, used to treat centipede bites.
- In Khmer, root decoction with pdao used for malaria. Pounded young leaves with tiger balm applied to centipede bite. Poultice of bulb applied to wounds. Roots and wood chips used for postpartum care. (8)
- 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.
- Roofing: Leaves used for roofing.
- Food wrapping: Used as wrapping for glutinoid rice desserts.
- Tools: Stems used to make tool handles. (7)
- Clothing: In the Andaman Islands, leaves used for clothing.
- Ritual object: Ritual object, dung-dung, made from leaves of silad (L. spinosa), frayed and tightened together. (9)
• Constituents: Study of leaves yielded vitexin and methyl (25S)-proto-dioscin. (3)