Caryota obtusa (India form)
Giant Fish Tail Palm
Caryota obtusa is by far the most massive of the Fishtail Palms. It is
found scattered over a vast area between north-east India and northern
Thailand, always growing in the mountains. The form from N. Thailand,
which has recently been described as C. gigas, was introduced into cultivation
many years back. The true form from the N.E. Indian States of Meghalaya
and Arunachal Pradesh, however, where William Griffith collected the type
specimen for his description of the species in PALMS OF BRITISH EAST INDIA
(1850), never made it into cultivation. As such, we are very pleased to
be able to offer this form to you now for the very first time ever! This
awesome and majestic Fishtail Palm has a thick trunk (to 60-90 cm (2-3
ft) in diameter) and huge, flatly-held leaves in the manner of a giant
tree fern, which it resembles. The seeds germinate quickly, and subsequent
growth is extremely fast, up to 1 m (3 ft) per year once established.
The Indian form grows in the Himalayan foothills at altitudes of up to
about 1000 m (3300 ft), and much further north than the Thai form (C.
gigas). While the two are not really different in appearance, the Indian
form will likely grow in even cooler conditions, and tolerate even a few
more degrees of frost. Grow it where its great size can best be appreciated,
and give it plenty of water and fertilizer. It is a "must" for
tropical and warm temperate parks and gardens.