Caryota urens L.
Family : Arecaceae/palmae
Common Name : ഇരമ്പന(Mal)
: मारी (Hin)
: Elephant's palm(Eng)
Fishtail palm is a fast growing feather palm that makes a beautiful addition to the landscape. It has a gray trunk (grows to about 30') that is covered by regularly spaced leaf scar rings. Toddy palm has a leaf shape that resembles the lower fin of a fish. When these palms grow to reach 20', they start producing flowers at the top of the trunk with subsequent flowers produced lower and lower on the trunk. When the lowest flower blooms, the tree dies. Flowers are long plait like bunches hanging down.
Monoecious stout palms, 16-20 m tall, 30-50 cm diam., trunk smooth with prominent annular leaf-scars. Leaves bipinnate, 4-6 m long; pinnae 5-7 pairs, to 1.5 m long; leaflets broadly cuneate, fan-shaped, 12-20 cm long, 7-10 cm wide at wider portion, praemorse at apex, many ribbed. Spadix interfoliar, shortly peduncled, much branched, pendulous, to 4 m long; spathes few, 40-50 cm long. Flowers many, in triads with female flower in the middle. Sepals 3, rounded, imbricate. Petals linear-oblong, valvate. Stamens many. Ovary 3-celled, 3-gonous; ovule 1-per locule. Fruit c. 2 cm across, globose, reddish purple; seeds plano-convex, subreniform.
Use: The sap extracted from the inflorescence of the plant is used to make sugar and alcoholic beverages.A starch obtained from the stems is used to make sago.
Distribution : Southern India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Flowering & Fruiting : January-April.