Betel nut tree is a feathery palm that grows to approximately 1.5 m in height and is widely cultivated in tropical India, Bangladesh, Japan, Sri Lanka, south China, the East Indies, the Philippines, and parts of Africa. The tropical palm trees bear fruit all year. The nut may be used fresh, dried, or cured by boiling, baking, or roasting. The quid is a mixture of areca nut, tobacco, and lime wrapped in the leaf of the betel vine.
The areca nut is not a true nut, but rather a drupe. It is commercially available in dried, cured and fresh forms. While fresh, the husk is green and the nut inside is soft enough to be cut with a typical knife. In the ripe fruit, the husk becomes yellow or orange and, as it dries, the fruit inside hardens to a wood-like consistency. At the stage, the areca nut can only be sliced using a special scissors-like cutter.