Caryota urens (Kitul Palm) : කිතුල් ගස

Caryota urens (Kitul Palm) : කිතුල් ගස

Caryota urens (කිතුල්) is a species of flowering plant in the palm family, native to Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar and Malaysia (perhaps elsewhere in Indo-Malayan region), where they grow in fields and rainforest clearings.Also known as kitul palm, toddy palm, wine palm, sago palm and jaggery palm. Its leaf is used as fishing rod after trimming the branches of the leaf and drying. It is one of the sugar palms.

Caryota urens(කිතුල්) species is a solitary-trunked tree that measure up to 15 m (49 ft) in height and up to 30 cm (12 in) wide. Widely spaced leaf-scar rings cover its gray trunk which culminate in a 6 m (20 ft) wide, 6 m tall leaf crown. The bipinnate leaves are triangular in shape, bright to deep green, 3.5 m (11 ft) long, and held on 60 cm (24 in) long petioles.

This species is called kithul (කිතුල්) in Sri Lanka. It is best known as the source of kithul treacle, a liquid jaggery.

The most valuable element of a Kitul tree is the Kitul flower. It takes about 10 years for a kithul tree to reach maturity. When flowering, the trunk of the tree is thin and the branches are short and two buds are growing. Flowering occurs from top to bottom. The water from the Kitul flower is used for sweet jaggery industry.

The sap of the tree is boiled for many hours until it turns into the thick, dark treacle, unique to Sri Lanka. Kithul treacle is used as a sweetener in both Sri Lankan and Western cooking.

Toddy is extracted from the inflorescence, and is considered some what powerful compared to toddy extracted from few other palm trees. Pulp of the fully grown up plant is cut, sun dried, powdered and is edible. It is sweet in taste. In Sri Lanka, the powder is mixed with coconut milk and cooked to make Kithul Thalapa (කිතුල් තලප).

Products of Kithul Tree
  • Kitul Honey
  • Kitul Jaggery
  • Kitul Toddy
  • Kitul Flour
  • Non-dietary Kithul Products
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