Salacca affinis, also known as red salak, red salak, red salak, ridan fruit, ridan fruit, linsum, forest salak, manau fruit, kelubi, rattan fruit, and ridan, is a flowering shrub in the Arecaceae family. The particular epithet (affinis) comes from the Latin “ad fin”, meaning “at the limit”, and refers to its resemblance to the congener species Salacca zalacca. Salak affinis is different from other salak, because the fruit skin is reddish in color with fine thorns. When it is still young, the color of the skin of the fruit is brown, the same as other salak. The skin of the fruit will turn red when the fruit is 4-5 months old. The fruit will ripen at the age of five months from pollination.
Salak affinis fruit is triangular in shape with a pointed tip. Fruit diameter 3.7 – 4.5 cm, contains 1 – 3 wedges, fruit pitch diameter 2.8 – 3.1 cm. Brownish white flesh, with a soft and watery texture. In one year, salak affinis fruit can be harvested 2-3 times with a production of 2-4 bunches per tree, weighing 2.8-3.5 kg/dompol. The amount of fruit in one lump is quite a lot consisting of 30-100 grains.
The taste of salak affinis varies between sweet and sour. The skin of the sweet affinis salak fruit is bright red when fully ripe. Sweetness level 20° – 23° brix , with a slightly sour taste. Young fruit skin is brown. The level of sweetness of the fruit flesh is 15° – 17° brix, with a sour taste that is still quite strong.
Mating between male flowers and female flowers on two different zalacca plants (two houses) is called cross-breeding. Naturally cross-breeding can occur with the help of wind or insects, with unsatisfactory results. Humans then perform artificial mating by shaking the ripe male flower bunches against the ripe female flower bunches.
The goal is to produce more and bigger salak fruit. “Pollination of salak affinis must use male and female flowers of salak affinis, not other salak” according to Sarnan, a TBM employee who has pollinated salak for 18 years. In carrying out her daily activities she has tried to pollinate the female flowers of salak affinis with the male flowers of salak pondoh, the result is that the number of fruits in each bunch is only 5-15.
Scientific name: Salacca affinis
Common name: Red snake fruit
Origin: Indonesia and Malaysia
The bright red fruits have shiny scales and thus resemble snakeskin. They contain edible flesh that tastes sweet, but is at the same time slightly acidic and aromatic. The taste is sweeter than the better-known common snake fruit (Salacca zalacca), which makes this species more popular, but also harder to find due to its rarity. It is a palm from the humid rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia where it is mainly found in swampy areas. The leaves can grow up to 3 metres high and are covered on the stem with sharp, up to 10 cm long spines. The inflorescence forms close to the ground and can grow up to 1 metre long. Eventually, after pollination, up to 50 fruits can be formed, measuring about 8 cm.
The plant can be kept as a houseplant and already at a young age the decorative spines are formed. Provide a well-drained soil with organic matter and water the plant regularly. If humidity is low, you can spray the leaves with water and, in addition, it is important to provide a light location without direct sunlight.
Sowing description: The already germinated seed can be sown directly in well-drained soil with organic material. Keep soil constantly moist and set well warm (22-28grC) for initial development.
Sowing time: Year-round
Minimum temperature: 12 degrees Celsius
Classifications and Characteristics
|Plant Division||Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)|
|Plant Growth Form||Palm (Cluster Palm)|
|Native Distribution||Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, to Sumatra, and Borneo|
|Native Habitat||Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest)|
|Preferred Climate Zone||Tropical|
|Local Conservation Status||Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))|
Description and Ethnobotany
|Growth Form||It is a clustering, understorey palm, up to 3 m tall. The stems are short and stout, and occasionally appear stemless. Its numerous large, pinnate leaves are arranged in a dense rosette.|
|Foliage||Its spirally arranged, stalked, spreading leaves are 3–4 m long, pinnate with oblong leaflets in clusters, and evenly spaced in a single plane on each side of the rachis. The leaflets are about 30–40 cm long, green, oblong, with curving sides, and a pointed tip. The back of the rachis is covered with long spines.|
|Flowers||Its inflorescences are erect, with male flower spikes about 2.5–6.4 cm, borne solitarily or in groups of 2–3, are thinly wooly, and subtended by a 10–18 cm long spathe (modified leaf). The female inflorescences are branched, 5–8 cm long, bearing small, scattered, alternate short spikes with about 3 flowers each.|
|Fruits||Its reddish-brown fruits are scaly, smooth and round, tapering at the tip and base, and about 2.5 cm in diameter.|
|Etymology||Malay salak, the vernacular name for Salacca zalacca, a commonly consumed palm fruit; Latin affinis, related or similar to, probably referring to the plant’s similarity to Salacca zalacca.|
|Ethnobotanical Uses||Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)|
|Landscaping||It may be suitable for parks but the spiny leaves must be noted, so where it is planted must take this danger into account.|
|Desirable Plant Features||Ornamental Form|
|Landscape Uses||Parks & Gardens|
Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal
|Pollination Method(s)||Biotic (Fauna)|
Plant Care and Propagation
|Water Preference||Lots of Water|
|Mature Foliage Colour(s)||Green|
|Foliar Shape(s)||Palm Fronds|
Fruit, Seed and Spore
|Mature Fruit Colour(s) – Angiosperms and Gymnosperms||Brown, Red|