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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.

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germination comments by our visitors
For general germination instructions click here.

Also see plant cultivation comments below.

Seeds from this species ...

... are difficult to germinate.
Purchased 100 seeds from RPS and about 8 have sprouted and 20 have rotted out. So far it seems like these are more difficult than Caryota Ochlandra (purchased 100 at the same time and over 30 have sprouted with 2 rotted seeds). Both were started the same way: soaked 2 days in water, planted 50/50 peat-perlite in tupperware with bottom heat. Will update as time goes by.
Submitted on 14/03/2010 by one of our visitors

...difficult to germinate and need more than 1 year to sprout.
bought 10 seeds last july from RPS, tried every method recomended but nothing, gave up with them and buried them deep in a pot with another palm in. Now 13 months later 3 have sprouted! Just need to find where i put the others! Never throw away old seeds.
Submitted on 05/08/2004 by Vic vic.s@breathe.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
soaked fresh seeds for 24hrs in water then planted in potting soil mix on 03/31/04in 3gal then seperately in 6" cones on 05/22/04 105pcs planted 73germinated and 11 rotted 21 still viable
Submitted on 23/05/2004 by rob richter carolduchscher@msn.com

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

... have not yet been commented on. Be the first to write a comment:

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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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