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Caryota obtusa

Giant Fish Tail Palm

Caryota obtusa (also called C. gigas by some authors) is the King Kong of the fishtail palms. It is found scattered over a vast area between northeast India and northern Thailand (which is where our seeds come from), always growing in the mountains. Its awesome size --very tall with a thick solitary trunk-- astonishingly fast growth, and massive and flatly held leaves make it instantly recognizable, appearing like a gigantic treefern. It is a 'must' for tropical and warm temperate parks and gardens. Also, as it grows at quite some altitude, (up to 1000m/3300ft in India and 1600m/5300ft in Thailand) there is every chance that it will grow in cooler conditions, and may even tolerate a degree or two of frost. Such a rate of growth needs to be fuelled by a rich and moist soil and an abundance of water, especially in dry weather.

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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 ...

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
took longer than i expected to germinate. placed in glass jar in slightly dry sphagnum moss under a lamp. the temp. in the jar was 90-96F at daytime and 80F at night when light was turned off. sprouted shortly after 2 1/2 months.
Submitted on 21/03/2004 by anton chuidian wutang8364@yahoo.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
planted in baggies of 50% moist sphagnum peat moss and 50% perlite. Left at room temperature (72-76 degrees). Some sprouted after a month or so, almost 100% after 3 months. So far (8-9 months after planting) the plants only have the initial 2 leaves-- no subsequent leaves yet, although they look healthy & have a strong root system.
Submitted on 04/03/2004 by one of our visitors

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

Plants from this species ...

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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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