T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Caryota maxima, (Mountain Fish Tail Palm)

Kingdom:   Plantae
(Unranked):        Angiosperms
(Unranked):        Monocots
(Unranked):        Commelinids
Order:       Arecales
Family:      Arecaceae
Genus:      Caryota
Species:     C. maxima
Binomial name: Caryota maxima
Synonym: Caryota aequatorialis, Caryota obtusa, var. aequatorialis, Caryota rumphiana var javanica
Common Names: Himalaya Palm,  Mountain Fish Tail Palm, Himalaya Palm, Caryota urens, Himalayan Fishtail Palm, Giant Mountain Fishtail Palm. Caryota maxima 'Himalayana'. 

Caryota maxima is a reasonably cold tolerant (frosts to -7°C) single stemmed fishtail palm endemic to the mountain forests of Laos, Malaya, Myanmar, Sumatra, Thailand and Vietnam from 500 up to 2400 m a.s.l.
It is a fast-growing, tall, solitary palm with a long crown shaft. It can grow up to 35 m. tall. The mature stems are ringed with thin leaf scars.
Caryota maxima dull green leaves can reach 7 m in length and they have drooping leaflets that are bipinnate, obdeltoid and praemorse.
It is a relatively short lived palm because it dies after flowering.The flowers are on long (1- 1.5 m) inflorescences. Male and female flowers are on the same inflorescence. 
Fruits are up to 2.5 cm long and change from a pink to dark reddish-purple colour when ripe.

Photographed at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.