The Plant List

canton fishtail palm
Caryota ochlandr

Common: Canton fishtail palm
Family: Arecaceae (Palmae)
Origin: Native to Southeast Asia
Light: Shade to part shade
Water: Needs adequate moisture with good drainage
Temperature: Does well only in warmest parts of Zone 9. Will tolerate light frosts, but is not hardy.

Fishtail palms typically form multi-stemmed clumps up to 25 feet in height and 12 inches in width. Each stem is topped with several bipinnate leaves that can reach up to 9 ft. in length. The taller the palm becomes, the longer the fronds.

The plant grows 6 to 8 inches per year, and may eventually outgrow its space, as it cannot be pruned. Can be used in shrub borders and outdoor container plantings.

Often used in interior plantings in commercial buildings. Does well in indoor containers.

Coarse, light green leaflets are shaped like the lower fin of a fish. Mature plants produce insignificant flowers at the top of the stem. Subsequent flowering proceeds lower and lower down the stem; after last flowering, the stem dies and should be removed. Reddish-brown fruit follows; avoid contact with the fruit, which contains oxalic acid, toxic when ingested and produces chemical burns when in contact with skin.

Propagation is by seeds, as well as division of clumps and separation of suckers from parent clump. Tough, easy to grow palm that makes a great houseplant.

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