Nipa palm (Nipa fruticans)
The Nipa palm has a short, mainly underground, horizontal trunk (from above ground it appears to have no trunk at all) and very large, erect leaves up to 9 meters (30 feet) tall. The leaves are divided into leaflets. A flowering head forms on a short erect stern that rises among the palm leaves. The flowers are globular shape with catkin-like red or yellow flowers on the lower branches. The flowers yield a woody nut arranged in a cluster. This fruiting (seed) head is dark brown and may be 30 centimeters (12 inches) in diameter. The ripe nuts separate from the cluster and float away.
Edible Parts: The young flower stalk and the seeds provide a good source of water and food. Cut the flower stalk and collect the sweet juice. The juice is rich in sugar. The seeds are hard but edible. Immature fruits will be hard, jelly-like. The petals of the flower can be brewed to make tea.
Other Uses: The leaves are excellent as thatch and coarse weaving material and make excellent roof material for thatched dwellings. The large stems are buoyant and can be used as a semi-floatation device.