Caryota obtusa

From Palmpedia - Palm Grower's Guide
Jump to: navigation, search
Caryota (kahr-ee-OH-tah)
obtusa (ob-TOO-sah)
Scientific Classification
Genus: Caryota (kahr-ee-OH-tah)
obtusa (ob-TOO-sah)
Caryota gigas
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Bi-pinnate
Sun exposure: Full Sun
Soil type: Rich soil
Survivability index
Common names
Mountain fishtail, giant fishtail, Thai Giant Caryota.

Habitat and Distribution

Caryota obtusa is native to Thailand.

Ba Na Nature Reserve, Vietnam.


Mature height: 60 feet, Mature spread: 18', Leaf type: bipinnate. This tree will reach maximum height in about 25 years. Flesh of seed and trunk is caustic to touch and should be handled with care.


Sunlight: full sun, Water: keep moist, Cold Tolerance: 27° F.

PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

This is a monocarpic species.

First described way back in the 1840s by William Griffith from northeast India. We know that there is a huge Caryota there, which, from photographs, seems indistinguishable from the huge Caryota of S Yunnan, Laos and northeast Thailand - these ranges are near enough to each other to suggest a contiguous distribution, probably also in Burma. The population in China was called C. urens in the Flora of China but is very obviously not that species. In Thailand the palm was called C. gigas by Don Hodel. It is my belief that the NE Indian, Chinese, Lao and Thai populations are one and the same and should therefore probably be called C. obtusa. However, to complicate matters there is a second large Caryota in northeast India, and who is to say that this one is not the true C. obtusa! We need a very careful revision of the genus based on extensive field work.

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

Back to Palm Encyclopedia

Retrieved from ""