Toko belongs to the family Arecaceae (palmae). This
beautiful palm is found only in the northeast region of India. It is
distributed in the tropical belt and grows in lower plains and hill
slopes. Since time immemorial people have been using this species. It is
extensively used in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. It is also of great
cultural importance to the people of the state particularly to the
interior and far flung areas.
This multipurpose tree provides different utility items like the leaves, fibre and fruits. It has great potential of income generation and rural employment. The silviculture aspects of the plant are discussed in the following section, which may be useful in farming and management of this valuable natural resource.
Morphology And Description
This is an unbranched graceful palm attaining a height of 20-30 m at diameter at breast height. The crown is globose, borne at the tip of the solitary stem. This palm, unlike other palms does not show the persistent leaf scars. However, it has a rough surface and are brownish grey in appearance. Leaves palmately dissected partly and are reniform or oval in shape, plicate, divided into 70-100 segments (2-15) segments during seeding stage).
Inflorescences appear axillary and interfoliar, 1-1.5 m long, peduncle strong flattened, 4-6 m long. The spathe (bract) reddish brown, boat shaped, hard and striate. The inflorescence is much-branched panicle with numerous lateral branches. Flowers creamy white/yellow, small, clustered on tubercles at base, solitary or paired on the distal parts of the branches (rachilla). Fruits drupe 1.8 - 2.5 cm in diameter, globose, copper-clue in colour when ripe, Pericarp leathery and fleshy. Seeds globose, shinning brown with broad Raphael like line, endosperm horny, whitish. Flowering takes place during the months of February to March and fruits occur from September to December.
The tree is endemic to northeast India and grows upto an elevation of 1100m. It is usually encountered in nature in the tropical evergreen forests and sub-tropical broad-leaved forests. Through the species is found in all the districts, the larger concentration is towards the central and eastern parts of the state particularly in Upper Subsnsiri, West Siang and East Siang district. Apart from its natural occurrence, it is largely cultivated the local people in their Jhum/community lands and village areas. It may also be mentioned that this palm is considered to be an endangered one and included in the red data book of Indian plants.
Toko, as mentioned earlier, is a multipurpose tree species of great value throughout the northeastern states. It is extensively used in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland . This plant is very important in the interior far flung areas. In fact it is almost like the 'Mithun' in importance to the people.
Natural regeneration occurs by means of the seeds. Profuse regeneration can be seen (as in West Siang district) in the vicinity of nature fruiting trees along partial open moist slopes. The seeds fallen over ground or carried over by birds and squirrel lime animals are dropped on soil during winter months start germination in good habitat with pre-monsoon showers in April-May and often establish to form plants. However, survival percentage is very low due to cattle damage and adverse ecological factors. Despite this, natural regeneration is usually observed as gregarious patches.