The Fishtail Palm is the only palm with leaves that are subdivided twice. The shape of t" >

Fishtail palm

Fishtail palm

The Fishtail Palm is the only palm with leaves that are subdivided twice. The shape of the leaflets give it its common name.

It also has a unique way of flowering: the first flowering mop-like cluster emerges from the top of a mature palm, subsequent clusters emerge below and so on. When the cluster reaches the ground, the palm dies.

The palm also reproduces from numerous suckers growing from the base. The palm grows commonly in secondary forests
.The flowers appear in threes, one female flower in between two male ones. Fruits are roundish which turn purplish when they ripen.

Fishtail Palm Tree Description

The Fishtail Palm has multi stem grey trunk. Each stem has 8 to 10 bipinnate leaves that can be up to 9ft long. The leaflets shaped like fishtails therefore the palm’s common name is Fishtail Palm.

It produces beautiful creamy flowers that grow among the leaves. Flower stems about 12 inches are followed by tropical looking green fruits that turn dark red as they ripe. Fruit has round shape and is about ¾ inch diameter. For more photos click here 

Growing Fishtail Palm Tree

This moderately fast growing palm can get up to 20ft tall. It requires a lot of water with good drainage. The Fishtail Palm  is not considered cold hardy, but will tolerate temperatures below freezing for a short period of time.

It likes full sun but can also grow in broken shade. The Fishtail Palm can also grow indoors.

Fishtail Palm Tree Propagation

The Fishtail Palm propagated by seed and can also be propagated by division of clumps and separation of suckers from the parent clump. It takes around 4-6 months to germinate.

Uses as food: In India, an edible starch is extracted from the stem, and the palm heart eaten. Like other palms, it is also tapped for sap which is made into palm sugar or fermented to make toddy.

Other uses: The fuzz from the young leaves are used as tinder to start a fire. The palm is also used in construction. In India, the leaves are used for thatching or woven into household items, the fibres from the leaf sheath are made into rope, and seeds made into beads.
However, the fruit and the whole plant can cause severe itching because they contain minute needle-like crystals.

Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: Up to 15 – 20ft
Light Req: Shade to Partial shade
Water Req: Moderate
Cold Tolerance: down to 20F


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