Caryota spp.

Caryota spp.

(Arecaceae)

“Fish Tail Palms”

There are three species of Caryota to be found in the Parque de Malaga (MAP LOCATIONS).

Caryota gigas (48) China & Thailand.

Caryota mitis (10) Tropical rainforests, India & S.E. Asia.

Caryota urens (7) India & Sri Lanka.

Caryotas in general are single trunk palms with bipinnate leaves and distinctive leaflets in the form of a fishtail. They are monocarpic, i.e. they die after flowering, although this can take 5 to 7 years, the flowers appearing in the axils of the upper branches, and then gradually in the lower ones over time. C.urens at least is considered a useful plant in India and Sri Lanka, where the leaves produce a fibre used in rope and basket making. A starchy food can be produced from the pith, and palm wine can be made from the sap.

First picture, below, of C.urens.

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Second picture, below: The exotic looking, long inflorescence of C.mitis (pictured May 2011). These appear in the axils of the stem. The buds open to a purple flower which matures to a round fruit or drupe.

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Third picture, below, of C.gigas, the largest of all the fish tail palms, which thrives in wet mountainous forests.

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