THE name of Areca is given to a beautiful genus of palms mostly found in the East Indies. The Areca catechu produces the well-known betel nut, for which purpose it is very generally cultivated. The nuts are cut into slices, wrapped in the aromatic leaves of the Piper betel (betel-pep-per plant), and then chewed. In most parts of the East Indies the natives are perpetually chewing these nuts. They are, of course, more accurately termed catechu nuts, having taken the name of betel-nut from the leaves which are chewed with them. It is asserted to improve the digestion and preserve the teeth, and other excuses for the habit are also made. It gives to the tongue and palate a blood-red hue, and in time turns the teeth perfectly black. 

The Malays get really hideous from the constant use of these nuts, but the Chinese are exceedingly careful to remove the stain from their teeth. It is fashionable for persons of rank to keep the nuts ready prepared for use in splendid cases worn at the girdle, and when they meet, it is the correct thing to open their cases and offer catechu nuts to each other, as some people offer snuff in Europe.

There are several species of the Areca. A very graceful variety, the Areca rubra, is sometimes seen in English palm-houses. It grows to the height of about thirty feet, and bears a pinkish-white flower. There is another species of the same genus, presenting a widely different appearance. This is the Areca oleracea, the cabbage palm of the West Indies, one of the most beautiful and stately of the palm tribe, and described by different authorities as growing to a height of from one hundred and thirty to one hundred and fifty feet. Ensheathed in the foliage at the top is the crisp, white (so-called) cabbage, about two feet long, and as thick as a man's arm. When eaten raw it tastes something like the almond, but is more tender and delicious. It is usually cut into slices and boiled, or fried in butter, and served up as a vegetable with meat.

 Arthur's Home Magazine.