The Potential Uses of Nipa Palm in West Papua


Meta Description: Nipa Palm Has Numerous Advantages To Be Used By People Of Papua And West Papua. Check Some Of Them Here.

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Papua and West Papua have various functional plants to be used daily; one of them is nipa palm. Nipa is a kind of palm (palma) that grows in the environment of mangroves or tidal areas near the edge of the sea. Nipa, also known as Nypa fruticans, is a type of palm (palma) plant that grows in mangroves or tidal areas near the sea. Nipa plants have stems submerged under a layer of mud that spreads underground with a stem thickness of about 60 cm.


What Nipa Palm Looks Like

The leaves of the nipa plant that grow can reach seven meters, and the flower stalks can reach a meter. The skin of this nipa plant has a very hard green texture and will turn brown when the condition of the nipa plant is old. However, the inside of the shell will look softer, like a cork. Nipa plants usually thrive in the back of the mangrove forest. This plant is most commonly found on the banks of rivers or seas that supply mud to the coast. However, some studies suggest that this plant does better in swampy areas with soil rich in organic matter.


Nipa is quite applicable in Indonesia. Like other types of palms that have various uses, nipa palm has the potential as a food ingredient that contains many carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and vitamins. In addition, nipa also has various potentials for daily needs, such as fuel, roofing materials, craft materials, and other products, but this potential has not been fully utilized.


The Potential Uses of Nipa Palm


In daily basis, people in Papua and West Papua use nipa palm in various advantages. You can view some of its potentials below.


Nipa Root

The local people of Papua and West Papua use the roots of the nipa plant as an insect repellent (mosquitoes, gnats, and others). The roots of the nipa plant used here are from the dead nipa palms or those attacked by disease. These palms are uprooted due to flooding then the roots are dried and burnt. The resulting smoke is used as the repellent.


Fruit Stalk

The nipa fruit stalk is generally used to produce sap and make local drinks or bobo. Nipa stalks with fruit are cleaned and kept a bit longer, then shaken and beaten for a month so that the juice can come out smoothly. Next, the nipa fruit is cut from the stalk and allowed to melt or drip for 2 to 3 days. This method determines whether the sap from the fruit stalk comes out smoothly or not. If the sap has come out smoothly, then the process of tapping or taking sap begins. This sap will be used as the basic ingredient for making local bobo drinks.


The people of Papua and West Papua generally work as fishermen, farmers, construction workers to fulfill their daily needs. People use bobo drink as a potion to restore stamina due to fatigue after doing daily activities.



Society uses the fruit of the plant as food, traditional medicine, and hunting equipment. Part of the nipa fruit eaten is the inside of the ripe fruit. In addition, the unused part of the fruit or the skin can be used as a preservative for bobo drinks to make it last longer. You can do this by finely pounding the skin and inserting it into the bamboo as a container. Furthermore, some people also use the fruit as bait for hunting moles by using the small fruit part taken and split into two. Then, the flesh of the fruit is taken and placed into a trap or snare as bait.


Bone Leaves

In their daily life, people use the leaves of the nipa plant as material for making para (benches/wide tables). The para is used to put work equipment, food, work clothes while working. The paras are made from hard or old nipa leaf bones, and the leaves have been cleaned and cut to the desired size. In addition, the community also uses dried nipa leaf bones as fuel.


Leaf Child Bone (Stick)

The leaf bones of the nipa plant can be used as brooms, filters, food utensils (gatagata papeda), and torches. The bones of the nipa leaves used as brooms come from the palm without leaves. The number of the bones used is adjusted to the needs. Another advantage of the leaf bones of the nipa plant is as a filter. The clean bones are made into a woven filter, too. 



The shoots of nipa leaves are commonly used as cigarette paper (gau), jewelry for traditional events, kitchen utensils, and food hanging tools (cili). Cigarette paper comes from the shoots of nipa leaves removed from the leaf bones and then woven into a diamond shape, then dried in the sun or on fire stoves. After drying, you can cut it according to the size of the cigarette gau then split it again into two parts. Clean deep veins and ready to use. 


In addition, the community also uses the leaf buds of the nipa plant as a traditional clothing material used when there are traditional events such as welcoming guests or dowry rituals. To make these clothes, the shoots of nipa leaves are removed and tied to a waist rope.


Those are various potential advantages that people of Papua and West Papua generally get from nipa palm. Extremely fully functioned, isn’t it?



Kayoi, Melianus, et. al. 2018. Deskripsi Pemanfaatan Nipa (Nypah fruticans wurmb.) Berbasis Pengetahuan Lokal Masyarakat Kampung Narei Kabupaten Kepulauan Yapen

Wikipedia. Nipa. [Retrieved on December 31, 2021]