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Clustering Fishtail Palm

Caryota mitis  • 

Photo: Clustering Fishtail Palm

General description

Stems clustered, leaves bipinnate, leaflets or pinnules fish-tailed shaped hence the common name. Caryota mitis is an upright plant with a semi-vase shaped growth habit. Indoors usually not over 2.5m (8 feet) in height and 1.5m (5 feet) in width. Caryota mitis may carry six to eight deeply arching, bipinnate fronds on 30-60cm (12-24 inch) long leaf-stalk and these form a sort of crown to the plant. Several smaller fronds are also generally clustered around the base of the main stem. The largest fronds may be as large as 90cm (35 inch) wide with each light green secondary leaflet about 15cm (6 inch) long and 12cm (5 inch) wide; the leaflets grow close together in clusters of 20 to 30.

Plant requirements

Caryota mitis is  slow growing palm – no more than few centimeters (one inch) a year for a stem that may reach an ultimate height indoors of 20.5m (8 feet) or more. Because it is shallow rooted, Caryota mitis should be planted in an area protected from wind. This palm is perfect for understory planting in woodland areas. It grows best in full sunlight filtered through a translucent blind or curtain. It likes warmth and cannot tolerate temperatures below 13°C (55°F). In very warm rooms, however, increase humidity by standing the pot on a tray of moist pebbles or damp peat moss.


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Practical use

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300 - 360 cm
Partial shade
Moist but well-drained