SelecTree: Tree Detail

GIANT FISHTAIL PALM
Caryota gigas

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Photo Locations: Huntington Botanical Gardens - San Marino, CA, Arroyo Grande, CA, UC Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara, CA, Quail Botanical Gardens - Encinitas, CA and Santa Barbara, CA

General Notes

This is a large, fast-growing fishtail palm with huge fronds. It's also a monocarpic tree, meaning it flowers and fruits only once, then dies. Both trunk and seed can cause irritation when touched and should be handled with care. This species typically flowers after ten years. The flowers take a long time to develop, up to ten years, then the trees rapidly decline. Few are known older than 30 years. Caryota obtusa and C. gigas are likely the same species, although some disagreement exists among experts. The ones growing in California, and most often cultivated, seem to be the C. gigas form of C. obtusa, so we've maintained that name in our database.

Native to India, Laos and Thailand.

Family: Arecaceae

Synonyms

Caryota obtusa

Additional Common Names

GIANT FISHTAIL PALM, FISHTAIL PALM, THAI MOUNTAIN FISHTAIL PALM, BLACK TRUNK FISHTAIL PALM

Tree Characteristics

Erect with a Low Canopy.

Feather Palm Shape.

Has Evergreen foliage.

Height: 30 - 50 feet.

Width: 20 - 30 feet.

Growth Rate: 12 to 24 Inches per Year.

Longevity Less than 50 years.

Leaves Bipinnately Compound, Light Green, No Change, Evergreen.

Flowers Inconspicuous. . Has separate male and female flowers on the same tree (monoecious).

Black or Mostly Blue Drupe, Medium (0.50 - 1.50 inches).

Bark Brown or Black, Smooth.

Shading Capacity Rated as Moderately Dense in Leaf.

Tree Site Conditions & Constraints

Sunset Zones 23 - 24.

USDA Hardiness Zones 9 - 11.

Exposure Full Sun to Partial Shade.

Moist Soil.

Loam or Sand Texture.

Slightly Acidic Soil pH.

Salinity Tolerance is Moderate Inland.

Seaside Tolerance is Good in South Coast.

Health, Safety & Environmental Concerns

Branch Strength Rated as Medium.

Root Damage Potential Rated as Low.

Irritant Health Hazard.

Special Uses & Values

Screen.

Cite this tree:
SelecTree. "Caryota gigas Tree Record." 1995-2020. Apr 6, 2020.
< https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/caryota-gigas >

This tree is not part of the SelecTree Nursery Connection. If you would like to see this tree listed, or know of a nursery that sells it, please contact us at ufei@calpoly.edu.