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Introduced centuries ago from South India, this multi-purpose palm is now an integral part of the local landscape, and is the national tree of Cambodia.
The sap is commonly boiled down into palm sugar, or is consumed as a fresh or fermented beverage; the fruit is also eaten; wood is used in construction, and turned into kitchenware; the leaves are used as roofs and walls, and for handicrafts; palm fibre ends up as brushes and brooms. The Khmer Rouge turned the wickedly sharp and serrated palm fronds (nowadays used as fuelwood), into murder weapons, beheading an untold number of Cambodians during the Pol Pot regime.
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