Anahaw or anahau (Livistona rotundifolia) is an erect palm reaching a height of 15 to 20 m and 25 cm in diameter. The trunk is smooth, straight, and marked with close, rather shallow obscure rings which are the leaf scars. The leaves are crowded at the top of the trunk and ascending. The green, smooth, flattened petiole may have hard, black spines. The circular, fan shaped, pleated leaf blades are 1 m in diameter and divided into segments 2.5 to 4 cm wide. The green flowers are 2 mm long. The fruit is 1.5 cm in diameter, fleshy and yellow with a hard, round, brown seed inside.
The species is endemic to the Philippines and most commonly found in Luzon (Benguet, La Union, Cagayan, commonly found in Luzon (Benguet, La Union, Cagayan, Pangasinan, Zambales, Pampanga, Laguna, Ouezon, Camarines, Albay), Negros, Cagayan de Oro and in the provinces of Mindanao.
Anahaw is often planted as an ornamental plant for indoor and outdoor as it remains bright green even in very dry environment. The trunk is hard, strong and durable. It can be split into strips for flooring, siding and even handles of tools. It is commonly used as posts, piles in fishpen and poles. The buds and shoots are cooked as a vegetable. Mature leaves are used as roofing of houses in rural areas. The leaves last up to 15 years when properly used. The young leaves are made into raincoats, hats, fans and containers for rice, charcoal, etc.
Typically, anahaw occurs beneath the canopy of dipterocarp and mixed species forest. It is normally scattered in forests at low to medium altitudes. It also grows on brushlands and under coconut plantations.
The best time to collect Anahaw fruits is when they are orange in color and still in the branchlets. Fallen fruits are prone to decay and fungi attack. Anahaw fruits can be collected by climbing and chipping off the branchlet using an extension pruner or a pole with a scythe
Place the newly collected fruits in clean sacks and store under a shade or inside the room for 3 to 5 days to loosen the pulp. Fruits stored this way easily ripen. After 5 days, the fruits are macerated by putting them in a basin of water to soften the pulp.
Remove the decayed pulp to extract the seeds. Immediately after depulping, soak the clean seeds in water to minimize loss of moisture. Sow the seeds on the same day.
The folk technology (Torrente, 1990) involves two steps: (1) sow freshly depulped seeds evenly on previously prepared seedbeds; (2) press the seeds lightly in the seedbeds and cover them with soil; and, (3) cover the seedbeds with coconut leaves, cut grass or other mulching materials. Germination starts approximately 1 month after sowing.
A newly developed technology (ERDS, Region V) involves five steps:
1. Use freshly depulped seeds and remove the covering of embryo with a flat pointed knife, cutter or scalpel. This is to facilitate entry of water and air to the seed.
2. Lay-out seeds on trays lined with white tissue paper or sterilized jute sacks.
3. Saturate substrata with fungicide solution prepared (1 tsp Benlate per 2 li water).
4. Cover the sprouted seeds with the substrata material, then place a polyethylene sheet on top of the trays to preserve seed moisture.
5. Germination starts 2 to 3 days from sowing and a button-like structure will emerge at least 3 mm from the opened hilum.
Seeds may be stored for 4-6 weeks without losing their viability by keeping them in airtight containers, cans or sealed plastic bags.
Grown seedlings should be collected from the seedbed when they have developed 1 cm root and 1 cm shoot. Potting is done in 4" x 6" polyethylene bags containing a mixture of 1:1:1 top soil, saw dust and sand, respectively. When the potted seedlings are 3 months old, hardening is done to prepare them for outplanting.
Maintenance of Seedlings
Potted seedlings should be kept under the green house or shed. Watering should be done every afternoon or as often as necessary. Fertilizer may be applied to the potted seedlings based on the soil and plant requirement to ensure vigorous growth.
Underbrush about 1 m strip of vegetation of the selected site where the seedlings are to be planted. Stake and dig holes at a distance of 2m x 2m prior to outplanting.
Outplanting should be done at the onset of the rainy season. In outplanting, the plastic bags of the potted seedlings must be removed carefully. Mulching materials should be placed at the base of the plants, while pulverized topsoil should be placed around the root system to allow good anchorage of the seedlings.
Care and Maintenance
Ring weeding should be done as often as necessary to allow normal growth and development of plants. Replace dead seedlings as soon as possible.
Poles and Stems
The poles/stems are harvested et the age of 14-16 years (about 10-12 m tall and 20-25 cm in diameter). It has a natural durability period of 8 years. Poles are usually transported by trucks, with an average of 110 stems measuring 10-12 m long and 20-25 cm in diameter per truck.
Two to three leaves can be harvested per tree per month. Spaced at 2m x 2m, a hectare of land can accommodate 2,500 plants with a corresponding yield of R18,000/year with a conservative price of PO.30/leaf
PESTS AND DISEASES
Livistona shoot borer girdles or cuts off young shoots, resulting in stunted growth and eventual death.