The usual way of consuming betel nut is in the form of ‘pan’. The nuts are gathered either green or ripe, according to taste. Green nuts are shelled, boiled to mellow the flavour, and sun dried. Ripe nuts are simply dried. The nuts are then crushed with lime and catechu, a scarlet and astringent extract made by boiling chips of wood from the areca palm. The mixture is wrapped in a betel leaf, which comes from a different tree, Piper betle, to make small packages. Elaborate equipment may be used for the various stages of preparation, and the provision of betel nut for guests used to be an important element in hospitality. All this is now on the decline.