It is the fruit of a species of palm tree which is met with in the East Indies, though reckoned among the species of cacao-nuts. The whole is about the size of a pullet's egg; under the outward coat is a succulent fruit, which, when fresh, the Indians masticate with the betel: it is brown on the outside, shaped like a nutmeg at one end, and flat at the other; within, white and marbled with purplish veins; rather insipid to the taste. Within we find the almond, which is more commonly employed: it is astringent and harsh like an acorn; but the lime usually added takes off the unpleasant taste. It is supposed to strengthen the stomach. The taste is indeed astringent, but in fact it is merely, like snuff, an expedient to avoid ennui. Linnaeus called this palm by the trivial name of catechu, because he erroneously supposed it to yield this drug.
Areca Americana, oleracea Lin. This is the cabbage tree; and what is styled the cabbage is a conical bud in the middle of the central leaves, consisting of the long leaves not yet expanded. It is found in the former species, but has not the delicate flavour of the present, which resembles the artichoke, and is not less wholesome than pleasant. The faecula of these trees certainly resembles the terra Japonica in appearance, and approaches it in properties.
Areca Indica. See Nux moschata.