Ahh another post mentioning palms
You CAN tap palms for sap, but, you do it in a different manner than a maple. Sap is collected usually by cutting off the flower stalk, but in some palms like Borassus, or Cocos (coconut), the flowers are bound tightly, and the tip of the inflorescence cut off for 8 successive days, after which sap will flow for 4 - 6 months.
I suppose you could boil it down to syrup, but usually where palm sap is collected, it’s boiled down to molasses, or if boiled further, it begins to crystalize, and you get palm sugar.
It takes 10 liters of sap to get 1.5 kg of sugar. The sugar content of palm sap varies, but can be up to about 16%. Borassus palms usually yeild up to 4 liters of sap a day.
Palms used for sugar production:
Cocos nucifera - Coconut. Sap is usually used for making palm beer and liquor.
Jubaea chilensis - Chilean wine palm: Sap is usually made into wine, BUT, you can get what’s called “palm honey” which would be analagous to maple syrup…however, to get it you have to cut the tree down, which doesnt make for a good market.
Arenga pinnata - Sugar palm: high content of sugar in sap
Caryota urens - Fishtail palm: Said to have the best tasting sap. Inflorecences can make up to 50 liters(13 gallons) of sap a day!
Nypa fruticans - Nipa Palm: Usually forms large colonies, one estimate suggests for one hectare of these palms, 350,000 liters (91,000 gallons) could be obtained. Sap is very sweet and syrupy.
The palms talked about above are all tropical (except jubaea). The next three are more temperate:
Phoenix canariensis - extremely common in California (it’s the very full crowned regal looking palms), this can also be tapped
P. dactylifera - Date Palm: sap can be obtained from the flowers, but usually considered a waste. Male flowers and poor cultivars can be used, however.
P. reclinata - same as the above two.
The reason for such high quantities of sap is that many of these palms grow in moist places, (the nipa is a mangrove palm). Palms typically require a lot of water. Even desert palms only grow where a ready source of ground water is available.
I dont know why people dont think about using the sap to make syrups (commercially at least)…perhaps because most are tropical, and also it’s a little more work to get the sap (inflorescences always at the top of the tree, the trees have to be nature enough to flower, etc). However, the more tropical palms are common enough that sugar beets and sugar cane arent needed to supply south east asia with sources of sugar.