Caryota mitis Lour.

Etymology Genus From Greek karyon, meaning nut
Species Mild, without spines
Family Arecaceae
Synonyms -
Common Names Common Fishtail Palm
Status Native: Common
Form Clustering Palm
Native Distribution Indi, Indonesia, Philippines


This is the only Caryota species with its characteristic fishtail leaflets found natively and naturally in our forests. It differs from other cultivated forms in that this is a clustering palm while others are solitary.

Interesting Facts:

From Whitemore (1998), the fluff from the leaves and sheaths can be scraped off to use as tinder. This is known as gobek api in Kelantan, where a piece of buffalo horn with a hole drilled being used as a base, with some of the said tinder fitted into the hole. A piston is then driven sharply to smoulder the tinder and fanned into a flame.

A Fishtail Palm at Yishun Ave 1, 2019.

Flower clusters, extending from top to bottom.

A characteristic frond.

Fish-tailed leaflets.



Inflorescence. Inset: flowers.


Whitmore TC. (1998) Palms of Malaya. 2nd Edition. White Lotus. 136 pp.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2019-02-10 / Modified: 2020-01-31