The areca nut is the seed of the areca palm (Areca, which grows in much of the tropical Pacific Southeast and South Asia, and parts of east Africa. This seed is commonly referred to as betel nut so it is easily confused with betel leaves that are, which grows in much of the tropical Pacific.
Areca nut is commercially available in dried, cured and fresh forms. When the husk of the fresh fruit is green, 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 that stage, the areca nut can only be sliced using a special scissors-like cutter.