Are There Palm Trees In Vietnam?

credit: Yay

Many travelers have toured the length of Vietnam, from the top of Cao Bang down to Vinh Loi. But how many of them have stopped to consider if there are any palm trees in Vietnam? Today we aim to find the answer to that question.

Yes, there are palm trees in Vietnam. Vietnam’s climate has allowed many species of palm to flourish all over it. There are over 113 different species of palm trees in Vietnam. Vietnamese locals have built a thriving economy from fruits and materials found on their palm trees.

Related: Are There Oak Trees In Vietnam?

Are There Palm Trees In Vietnam?

Vietnam proudly boasts a wide variety of different species of palm trees all over their territories. NYBG reports that on several collection trips to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park since 2007, they have studied and identified over 113 species of palm trees.

One species of Plectocomiopsis, one species of Korthalsia, three species of Daemonorops, one species of Rhapis, six species of Pinanga, one species of Areca, twelve species of Licuala, and sixteen species of Calamus, to name a few.

Vietnam prides itself in how many palm trees are found there and invites researchers from all over the world to come and explore the region in hopes that even more variants might be discovered, cataloged, and studied.

Types of Palm Trees In Vietnam

Since we know that there are so many different kinds of palm trees, let’s look at each species’ characteristics.


This palm is a climbing plant in the Arecaceae family, also known as rattans in English. This palm is native to Vietnam, Laos, Yunnan, Cambodia, and Thailand. The Calamus palm species grow in evergreen forests between 100 and 1000 meters in elevation. They can grow anywhere from 20 to 70 meters in height.


The Licuala palm is a small fan palm native to the southern region of Vietnam. These seasonal palm trees flourish in tropical forested areas near rivers in large flat areas. They are single-stemmed and grow to about 2 meters in height.

Areca Catechu

The Areca Catechu palm likes to grow in tropical regions. It is believed this palm originated somewhere in the Philippines but has grown widespread over Asia. In English, this palm is called the betel tree due to the shape and size of its fruit. These palms can grow up to 20 meters tall and have a thick trunk around 10-15 centimeters in diameter.

Pinanga Cattienensis

The Pina Cattienensis palm is smaller than most of the palms found in the Arecaceae family. Being native to Vietnam, it can most commonly be found in the Cat Tien National Park in the Dong Nai Province. This palm thrives in tropical areas at low elevations and benefits significantly from the rainy season.


The Rhapis palm is a collection of 10 small-sized small palms native to southeastern Asia. These palms have rounded fans and thin stems that grow between 3 and 4 meters tall. The Rhapis have both male and female flowers that bloom from different plants.


The Daemonorops palm is a slender climbing palm that grows in clusters. They have 13-40 leaf sheaths that are closed when creeping up rocks. They, too, have male and female plant variants that each grow their own distinct set of flowers.


The Korthalsia palms are among the few that branch as they mature and are the only ones with split stems. The base of the Korthalsia palm is bare around the trunk and is a favorite nesting spot for ants. Bees have also been observed to visit this palm frequently for the nectar found in its flowers, while other animals feed on its fruits.


The stems of the Plectocomiopsis palm are tightly packed, small, and spiny. Male variants of the Plectocomiopsis grow in a cluster, as many as 32 sometimes. The female variant of this plant is the one that produces flowers and is usually found in groups of two to four plants.

What Are Palm Trees Used For In Vietnam?

Palm trees are one of the pillars of the Vietnamese economy. Almost every part of the palm tree can be used or transformed into a product that can then be sold to locals and international visitors or even exported to larger markets worldwide. Let us study some of the ways that the Vietnamese have utilized palm trees.

Palm Sugar

Local Vietnamese farmers figured out a way to extract the sap from the tops of palm trees found in the southwestern region of Vietnam. Farmers would climb to the top of the palm trees using bamboo ladders and cut the spikes of the palm leaves.

Once the sap has been extracted, the farmers would start cooking the juice within 24 hours to capture the sap’s sweetness. One kilogram of sugar takes approximately seven liters of sap. One farmer can cook an average of 10 kilograms of sugar each day and would sell the sugar for about 1.6 dollars per kilogram.

Palm sugar can be used in many culinary dishes, from peanut brittle to fried chicken wings. Palm sugar is a highly versatile ingredient that gets exported worldwide.

Palm Wine

Palm wine is a fermented alcoholic drink made from the sap of different palm trees. These trees include date palms, coconut palms, and palmyra palms. Palm wine is produced locally by farmers to help promote conservation efforts as well as showcase how locals can utilize palm trees to generate regular income.

Once the farmers have extracted all the sap they can from the palm trees, they cut the tree down, sell the wood, fruit, and leaves, and replant the tree with a new seed.

Palm Oil

Palm oil was first introduced to the Vietnamese people by the French around 1878. Today the Vietnamese government has enacted several policies regarding the palm oil industry to help cultivate plantations and reduce the amount of deforestation due to the growing popularity of palm oil-based products.

Palm oil is used in various products, and some manufacturers and chefs use it as an additive for recipes. At the same time, other manufacturers have started using palm oil detergents and make-up. Researchers have also begun to examine the potential of using palm oil as a biofuel.

Palm trees can be planted in great numbers. They grow quickly and off a greater yield-to-cost average than other similar crops.

Palm Dye

Many don’t know that the roots of a coconut can be used to create dye. Farmers cut the root of the coconut into smaller, more manageable pieces and boil them in water. The colors these coconuts produce usually end in either brown, gray, black, or reddish brown.

Building Materials

Being cheaper and more easily sourced than other building materials. Palm leaves offer great economic value to the locals of Vietnam. Locals have been building houses for many years using every bit of the palm tree. The long, thick trunks of the palm tree are used as walls and support pillars. The palm leaves are used either as ground cover or as a makeshift roof.

Palm trees can even be used to create furniture and other valuable inventions due to their rigidity and resistance to heat and water.

Every Day Useable Objects

Local Vietnamese artisans often use coconuts from palm trees as well as their wood to craft beautiful handmade objects like spoons, bowls, and other items. Travelers usually buy these products as momentoes when traveling through Vietnam.

The palm tree has shown to be extremely useful in helping even the poorest of Vietnamese to build successful and sustainable businesses.