Giant Fishtail Palm

Caryota obtusa

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Caryota (kair-ee-OH-tuh) (Info)
Species: obtusa (ob-TOO-suh) (Info)
Synonym:Caryota gigas
Synonym:Caryota obtusidentata
Synonym:Caryota rumphiana var. indica
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Tropicals and Tender Perennials


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)


USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us


Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

This plant is monocarpic

Seed Collecting:

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Altadena, California

Encino, California

Huntington Beach, California

Los Angeles, California

Oceanside, California

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Rowland Heights, California

San Diego, California (2 reports)

San Leandro, California

Santa Barbara, California (2 reports)

Venice, California

Whittier, California

Boca Raton, Florida

Fort Pierce, Florida

Homestead, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Agana Heights, Guam

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 2, 2013, SurfCityPalms from Huntington Beach, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Great tree for SoCal, but I have to correct the previous post. There has been a few that have flowered and died in just my city, Huntington Beach, let alone the state.


On Nov 20, 2004, Kylecawaza from Corte Madera, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Whats great about this tree in Southern California is that Southern California does nothave a tropical climate, so it is slower growing so you can enjoy it longer. So far, none have flowered or died in the state for that reason. They are also grown as far north as San Francisco, although they do better in the suburbs rather than the city itself. Its a great palm to have though. They probably have the full potential of getting to their maximum height.


On Aug 11, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is the most beautiful of all the 'hardy' Fishtail Palms (there are some incredibly ornamental species but they just can't grow in So Cal) and the most massive. In the wild this palm can reach a height of over 100 feet, and the trunk can be 3-4' in diameter. It doesn't seem like it's gonna be that huge in So Cal, as newly trunking palms with about 10-15' of trunk are only 2'- 2.5' in diameter at the most. What makes it so nice a plant are the even spacing of the leaves creating a lacey pattern, unlike the more sloppy pattern of many other fishtails. It also has a huge spread of about 20+ feet, so leave it lots of room. As it grows, it has a dark to almost black trunk near the crown, unlike the more commonly grown fishtail palms like urens, maxima and mitis (white tomentum near the... read more