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Family Palmae
/ Arecaceae
Buñga de Jolo
Adonidia merrillii (Becc.) Becc.
Ma ni la ye zi

Scientific names   Common names
Adonidia merrillii (Becc.) Becc. Bunga de Jolo (Tag.)
Actinorhytis calapparia Vidal. Bungang tsina (Tag.)
Normanbya merrillii Becc. Dapiau (Batan)
Veitchia merrillii (Becc.) H. E. Moore Lugos (Sul.) 
  Oring-Oring (Tag.)
  Adonidia palm (Engl.)
  Chinese betel-nut (Engl.)
  Christmas palm (Engl.)
  Manila palm (Engl.)
  Veitchia palm (Engl.)
  Veitchia palm (Engl.)
Adonidia merrillii (Becc.) Becc. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Ma ni la ye zi.
SPANISH: Bunga de China, Palma de Manila.

Bunga de Jolo is an elegant native Philippine palm growing to 6 to 10 meters high, with a solitary and slender trunk, 15 to 20 centimeters in diameter, marked with rings and leaf scars. Crown is composed of prominently arching leaves. Leaf blade is 2 meters long, bright green and divided into about 100 narrow and partly overlapping segments (leaflets), 50 on each side of the midrib. Flower occur in inconspicuous cluster,s borne below the leaf sheath, much branched and spreading, bearing both male and female flowers which are insect pollinated. Ripe fruit is ovoid, 2 to 3 centimeters long, beaked, pale green becoming bright red when mature. Fruit has a thin epicarp, a dry, yellowish, thin-fleshy mesocarp, and thin, fragile endocarp. Seed is ovoid, truncate basally, pointed apically, with a ruminate endosperm and embryo basally.

Additional info
Similar to the betel nut (Bunga, Areca catechu) but is smaller with a more slender trunk.

- Naturally growing in the Philippines.
- Popularly cultivated in private gardens and public parks.
- A popular landscaping plant.
- Also reported in Borneo and Malaysia.
- Cultivated in tropical places like Hawaii and the southern half of Florida.
- Classified as 'Lower Risk/Near Threatened' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (2013)

- RP-HPLC analyses yielded the presence of gallic acid, pyrogallol, caffeic acid, vanillic acid, syringic acid, naringin and rutin. (see study below) (4)
- The methanolic extract showed higher total phenolic and flavonoid contents with values of 17.80 ± 0.45 mg gallic acid equivalents/g dry weight (DW) and 5.43 ± 0.33 mg rutin equivalents/g DW, respectively. (see study below) (4)
- Proximate analysis of fruit (pulp and kernel) of Veitchia merrillii yielded (g/100g): moisture 74.4/44.3, ash 1.4/1.0, proteins 1.5/2.6, carbohydrates 11.6/51.2, lipids 10.9/0.6 and energy 629/942 kJ/100g. (5)
- Study of fruit for carotenoid content (µg/g) and total RAE (retinol activity equivalents ) yielded 70.7 ± 2.8 pulp, 0.4 ± 0.2 kernel, and 592 total RAE. (5)

- Studies have shown antioxidant and cytotoxic properties.

· Seeds chewed as a stimulant.
· In Batan, used for diarrhea. (6)
· Fleshy seed is used as a masticatory substitute, albeit inferior, for betel nut (Areca catechu, Bunga) which is preferred for nga-nga chewing.
· Ornamental source of beads.
· Tree prized by beekeepers for its quality nectar.

Cyanogenesis: A survey of leaf material of 545 palms of 108 genera and 155 species showed cyanogenesis to be rare in the family.
• Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity / Fruits: Study evaluated the antioxidant and cytotoxicity activity of various extracts of Adonidia merrillii fruits. The ME showed higher antioxidant activity by DPPH, NO2 and ABTS scavenging assays compared to EA and water extracts. Extracts showed weak to moderate cytotoxicity in human hepatocytes (Chang liver cells) and NIH/3T3 (fibroblasts cell) cell lines. Results suggest a potential for antioxidant and cytotoxic drugs from natural sources. (see constituents above) (4)


© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Updated March 2018 / February 2016

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Edible Palms and Their Uses / Jody Haynes and John McLaughlin
A survey of cyanogenesis in palms (Arecaceae) / Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, Volume 28, Issue 3, March 2000, pp 219-228
/ / doi:10.1016/S0305-1978(99)00055-1
Adonidia merrillii (Becc.) Becc. / Synonyms / The Plant List
HPLC profiling of phenolics and flavonoids of Adonidia merrilliifruits and their antioxidant and cytotoxic properties / Ali Vafaei, Jamaludin Bin Mohamad & Ehsan Karimi / Natural Products Reserch / https://doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2018.1448810
A comparative study of nutritional composition and potential use of some underutilized tropical fruits of Arecaceae / RAQUEL B. SILVA, EDVALDO V. SILVA-JÚNIOR, LAÍS C. RODRIGUES, LAISE H. C.  ANDRADE, SUZENE I. DA SILVA, WOLFGANG HARAND, ANTONIO F. M. OLIVEIRA / An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc. Vol 87, No 3, Rio de Janeiro, Sept. 2015 / http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0001-3765201520140166
An ethnobotanicalstudyofmedicinalplantsandtraditionaltherapies on BatanIsland, the Philippines / Reika Abe, Kazuhiro Ohtani / Journal of Ethnopharmacology 145 (2013): pp 554-565
Adonidia merrillii – a New Wild Population in the Philippines / Edwino S Fernando / PALMS (2011) 55(2): pp 57–61

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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