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Caryota maxima

Common name

giant mountain fishtail fishtail:
leaflet shape of some palms appearing like a fish tail, or as if a bite has been taken out of the leaflet, eg. <em>Caryota</em> (see praemorse)


Stem: Solitary, upright, to 30-35 m tall and 30 cm in diameter, older palms ringed with slender, widely-spaced leaf leaf:
in palms -- the leaf blade (which is usually divided into leaflets or leaf segments), the petiole (or leaf stalk) and the sheath (which forms the attachment of the leaf to the stem)
scars Leaves: Bipinnate, induplicate,induplicate:
Most palm leaflets or leaf segments are obviously folded. If the folds create a V-shape, with the midrib lower than the margins (so that rain might fall "into a valley"), the folding is induplicate.
, to 7 m long, with dull green, pendulous leaflets growing in one plane. The leaflets are obdeltoid and praemorse. Flowers and fruit: Inflorescences are massive, 1-1.5 m long with many pendant branches with staminate staminate:
a flower bearing stamens but no pistils; a “male” flower
flowers and pistillate pistillate:
a flower bearing a pistil but no stamens; a “female” flower
flowers on the same inflorescence. Fruits are up to 2.5 cm long and pink to dark reddish-purple when ripe.

Diagnostic features

Solitary palms with bipinnate,bipinnate:
doubly pinnate
, praemorse praemorse:
with a jagged edge or like a fish tail

May be confused with

Caryota mitis, but C. mitis is a clustering, multi-stem palm.


Native to southern China through Southeast Asia to Java

Additional comments

Extreme care is required when handling the fruits, in which calcium oxylate crystals are found.

The large, pendulous inflorescencesinflorescences:
the reproductive structure of a flowering plant, including palms, consisting of flowers and associated bracts
of this palm appear on a mature palm at each node (leaf scar ring), ripening from the highest to the lowest. Then the palm dies.

Scientific name

Caryota maxima Blume




Caryota aequatorialis Ridl.

Caryota obtusa, var. aequatorialis Becc