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Caryota urens - L.

Common Name Jaggary Palm, Toddy Palm, Fishtail Wine Palm
Family Arecaceae
USDA hardiness 9-12
Known Hazards The fruit is capable of irritating the skin and causing a burning sensation[ 287 ].
Habitats Limestone areas and valley forests at elevations of 370 - 1,500 metres in southern China[ 266 ]. An understorey tree in moist lowland and submontane forests[ 303 ].
Range E. Asia - India, Sri Lanka.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Caryota urens Jaggary Palm, Toddy Palm, Fishtail Wine Palm

Caryota urens Jaggary Palm, Toddy Palm, Fishtail Wine Palm


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Jaggary Palm, Caryota urens, is a flowering tree up to 12 m tall and 30 cm wide. It has bipinnate green leaves, white unisexual flowers that form into pendent clusters, and red round fruits. It is oftentimes cultivated as an ornamental tree in tropical and sub-tropical climates. The pulp is edible when powdered after sun drying and the leaves when cooked. Sugar and alcoholic beverages can be made using the sap obtained from the plant?s inflorescence, and sago using starch from the stems. However, the fruit may irritate the skin due to its oxalic acid content. Seed flour is made into porridge which can then be used to treat gastric ulcers, severe headaches, poisoning by snakebites, and rheumatic swelling. The root is used against tooth discomforts and the bark and seeds against boils. Dried, branchless leaves are used as fishing rods. Leaf bases, on the other hand, are sources of a very strong, fine, soft, and durable fibre used in brooms, brushes, ropes, etc.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Caryota urens is an evergreen Tree growing to 12 m (39ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Bees. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Sap  Stem
Edible Uses: Drink  Sweetener

Edible portion: Sap, Starch, Cabbage, Sago, Palm heart. The sap extracted from the inflorescence of the plant is used to make sugar and alcoholic beverages[ 46 , 297 ]. A primary product of the plant in rural communities is the sugar substitute called kitul honey or jaggary obtained from the juice from the flowers (should this read sap?[ K ]). This is concentrated in large, wide-mouthed vessels on an open fire to prepare a viscous, golden syrup with a delicious flavour. The sap can be further concentrated to give kitul jaggary (candy)[ 303 ]. Sap collected from the inflorescence is fermented with a crude, mixed inoculum of yeast to obtain toddy. This beverage can be distilled, as is coconut toddy, to prepare a more concentrated spirit[ 303 ]. A starch obtained from the stems is used to make sago[ 46 , 266 , 297 , 317 ]. Leaves - cooked[ 301 ]. The very young unfolding leaves and leaf bud are used as a vegetable[ 46 , 266 , 301 ]. Harvesting this terminal bud effectively kills the tree since it is unable to make side shoots and so cannot produce new growth[ K ]. The stem pith is boiled, mixed with rice and cooked. The palm heart is edible.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antirheumatic  Mouthwash  Skin

A porridge prepared from the seed flour is prescribed by local physicians to treat gastric ulcers, migraine headaches, snake-bite poisoning and rheumatic swellings[ 303 ]. The root is used for treating tooth ailments[ 303 ]. The bark and seed are used to treat boils[ 303 ]. The tender flowers are used for promoting hair growth[ 303 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Basketry  Broom  Fencing  Fibre  Hair  Houseplant  Pipes  Scourer  String  Stuffing  Thatching  Waterproofing  Wood

Other uses rating: High (4/5). Other Uses: A very strong, fine, soft and durable fibre is obtained from the leaf bases[ 454 ]. It is used to make a wide range of products, but especially brooms, brushes, ropes, baskets etc[ 266 , 287 , 297 , 454 ]. It is also used for stuffing cushions[ 454 ]. A woolly substance, or scurf, scraped from the leaf-stalks is used for caulking boats[ 454 ]. It is also extensively used in machine brushes for polishing linen and cotton yarns, for cleaning flax fibre after it is scutched, for brushing velvets, and other similar purposes[ 454 ]. The leaves are used for thatching[ 317 ]. The mature wood is strong, heavy and durable. The stem yields an inferior timber sometimes used for construction purposes, especially in traditional buildings, for purposes such as planking, flooring, rafters, roofing, partitioning and fencing, and also for making spears. The stem, cut lengthways in half with its centre scooped out, is used for gutters and drains, or to convey water over long distances. Polished stems are used as monoliths in modern houses[ 266 , 303 ]. Suitable for growing indoors.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Fiber  Management: Standard  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Sugar

Plants are found in moist tropical climates where temperatures never fall below 10°c, the average annual rainfall is 1,500mm or more and the driest month has 25mm or more rain[ 297 ]. They can also succeed in warm temperate zones and in drier areas with an annual rainfall as low as 250mm and one month or more where rainfall is below 25mm[ 297 , 314 ]. Mature plants can be killed by temperatures of 5°c or lower[ 418 ]. Plants grow well in full sun, even when small[ 297 ]. Prefers a moist, shady situation[ 303 , 418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7.5, tolerating 5.5 - 8[ 418 ]. A slow-growing plant[ 303 ]. A monocarpic species, living for several years without flowering, but then dying once it has flowered[ 302 ]. It attains full size in about 10 - 15 years, and flowers when 15 - 30 years old[ 418 ]. It flowers from the top down, and once the last fruit on the bottom inflorescence matures, the plant dies.[ 314 ]. The daily yield per tree of sap for wine and sugar is 20 - 27 litres[ 303 ]. When flowering begins, the inflorescence is stimulated to produce juice; the inflorescence is then bound into a 'candle' form and tapped for its sweet juice by repeatedly slicing off the end of the candle. A tapping period may last for 10 - 15 years before the tree dies[ 303 ]. Harvest for sago and other purposes is mainly from wild and semi-wild populations. The trunk yields 100 - 150 kilos of starch. Usually harvests for timber occurs when the tapping period has ended[ 303 ]. Suitable for growing indoors as a house plant. Resistant to deer.

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Fiber  Clothing, rugs, sheets, blankets etc. Currently, almost none of our fiber are produced from perennial crops but could be!
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.
  • Staple Crop: Sugar  Perennial sugar crops include sugarcane and compare favorably to annuals.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - At room temperature the seeds remain viable for 30 - 90 days, depending on storage conditions. An experiment in Sri Lanka on the effect of seed storage and exposure to sunlight revealed a germination rate of 99% for seeds sown after 30-day storage in a dark room[ 303 ]. Seed germinate in 2-4 months. Seedlings can tolerate sun while quite small.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Jaggary Palm, Caryota urens. Other common names include solitary fishtail palm, toddy palm, and wine palm. Other Names: Anapana, Bagani, Bankhajur, Baraflawar, Berli, Berlimad, Bherawa, Bon supari, Cariota, Chao tamol, Chewa gach, Chhau, Dirgha, Dong zong, Gol sago,Guobang, Jaggery palm, Jilugujattu, Kittul, Koondalpanai, Koonthalpanai, Kundapana, Mada, Mari, Rangbhang, Salopa, Shankarjata, Shivajata, Sowat goch, Surmadi, Thippili panai, Tippili, Tum, Tunsae, Vazapana, Yiaobu.

TROPICAL ASIA: India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia (Malaya),

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

May be a noxious weed or invasive. Very little information is available.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Least Concern

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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