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Caryota mitis Lour.

Family Name: Arecaceae (Palmae)
Synonyms: Caryota speciosa, Thuessinkia speciosa, Caryota sobolifera, Caryota javanica, Caryota nana, Caryota propinqua, Caryota furfuracea, Drymophloeus zippellii, Caryota griffithii
Common Name: Fishtail Palm, Common Fishtail Palm, Burmese Fishtail Palm, Clustered Fishtail Palm, Rabok, Rebuk, Meridin, Dudok, Tukas, 短穗鱼尾葵, 叢立孔雀椰子
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Moderate Water Bird-Attracting Native to Singapore Roadside Tree / Palm Ornamental Foliage Bipinnate Suckering Trunks Palm


Family Name
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Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Palm (Cluster Palm)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 10 m


Native Distribution India, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Common)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A clumping, medium-sized palm with closely-placed, slender stems that support a crowded mass of attractive, feathery fronds with their unusual fishtail leaflets.
Trunk Stem slender, green, 5 to 15 cm in diameter, with distinct rings at wide intervals; crownshaft absent.
Foliage Fronds bipinnate, ascending to spreading, 1.3 to 3 m long, 5 to 12 per stem; leaflets flat, about 10 to 18 cm long, triangular, with a jagged leaf tip and a fan-like terminal leaflet.
Others - Plant Morphology Flower: Inflorescences spirally-arranged (initiating at top and moving down stem), cream, densely massed, 30 to 60 cm long; flowers in groups of 3 (2 males and 1 female). Fruit: Fruits globular, up to 1.2 cm in diameter, ripening from green to red. Makes an excellent garden palm with its beautiful, unusual leaflets that give a different texture to its surrounding. Commonly used as hedging or planted along borders due to its low, dense crown. Suitable to be planted in big parks and gardens with vast spaces for its maximum landscaping potential. Can be grown a potted plant or placed indoors.
Cultivation Able to do well under full sun to semi-shade and even in shady locations. Requires moderate watering with moist, well-drained soil. Suitable soil pH ranges from 6.1 to 7.8. Has a high tolerance to high humidity but low tolerance to salt. Note: When the palm is ready to flower, it begins its flowering process from the top of the stem and continues progressively until the end of the stem. Once the lowest leaf node bears an inflorescence, the stem will die off and taken over by the side suckers. The stem should be removed once it dies off. Fruit is a irritant and is inedible as the pulp conatins calcium oxalate crystals which can result to irritation to the skin and muscous membranes.Wear gloves when handling if need be.Propagate by seeds, suckers and division. Seeds will germinate in 4 to 6 months time. Division can be achieved by dividing the clumps whereas propagating via suckers can be done by separating the suckers from the parent clump.
Etymology The genus epithet 'Caryota' comes from the Greek 'caryon', a nut. The species epithet 'mitis' means unarmed, in reference to its physical presence of an unarmed palm.
Ethnobotanical Uses [Others]: Trunk contains a starch that can be used to make sago. The bipinnate leaves are also used as thatching for huts and weaving, while the fibres from the young leaves are used as tinder to start a fire.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm
Thematic Landscaping Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Sucker


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Papery
Foliar Type Compound (Bipinnate)
Foliar Shape(s) Palm Fronds (Bipinnate)
Foliar Venation Parallel
Foliar Margin Irregularly Incised
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.0 (Palm - Cluster)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Palm) Suckering Trunks, Aboveground
Stem Type & Modification Cane
Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White
Flowering Habit Monocarpic
Flowering Period Remarks Once during plant's life cycle

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Red
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 1314
Species ID 2607
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 11 May 2021.