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Fish Tail Palm Fischschwanzpalme, Brennpalme เต่าร้างเเดง   - (phonetic) -   tau raang deng
Southeast Asia, Australia, Solomon Islands

The genus name Caryota derived from Greek tó karyon = nut . The species name mitis means soft, mellow, mild.

Caryota mitis are native of South Asia to the South West Pacific. It is a fast growing palm that often develops multiple trunks, giving the appearance of a small group of palms. As the only palm genus, it has twice pinnate leaves, young plants are just simply pinnate. The leaflets are triangular in shape and appear frayed at the edge a little, which has similarity with fish tails and this is the reason why its called fishtail palm. Dead leaves remain on the trunk (Marzeszenz) or fall off under its own weight.

Under favorable conditions, the palm can already blossom after 6 years . The many thousands of flowers hang in heavy bunches down to the palm trunk, which are getting longer and after a while they reach the ground. Then the trunk dies. For multi-trunk Caryota mitis it's just replacement of the plant on the same space, while solitary-stemmed Caryota species die off completely. In pot growing fishtail palms mostly do not blooming.

Caryota mitis needs a sunny or partially shaded place. Seedlings should not be exposed to direct sunlight, otherwise it can burn the still sensitive leaves. If necessary, plant the young palm tree in a pot or tub until it is strong enough to gradually get used to full sun. Then it can be replanted into the garden and then tolerates also midday sun.

The water demand is relatively high. However, the older palm will also tolerates dried soil or waterlogging for a short time. For young plants, the soil should be kept evenly moist.

Caryota mitis looks best as specimen plants into their own when they are given enough space to spread out. With plantation of young palms already pay attention to the fact that the distance is sufficient to other plants, buildings, fences etc.  A mature palm can reach 10 m in height and the expansion of the palm crown can take an area of 9 - 16 m²Caryota mitis is not recommended for small narrow gardens. Multi-trunk Caryota palm trees provide for a good shade due to the dense crown.

Propagation: by separation of young palms from palm group. It can also be propagated by seeds. It may take several months until the seeds germinates. Because the ripe fruits fall to ground, it is possible that the seed germinates by itself and in immediate surroundings of the palm coulds be grown a hundred of new seedlings. This is not desired, the fruits should be gathered by the ground. 

Avoid direct contact of the fruit with your skin.  It’s irritating crystals will make you crawl with discomfort. The fruit also may not be eaten.

Uses at food: In India, an edible starch is extracted from the stem, and the palm heart eaten. Like other palms, Caryota mitis 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. 

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