Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Small to medium-sized palm tree.
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Derivation of specific name

urens: stinging, referring to the chemical properties in the fruit.
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Summary

"Common in open evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, up to 1400 m."
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Brief

Flowering class: Monocot Habit: Tree
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Distribution

Range Description

The exact origin of this species is uncertain. It belongs to the Rumphiana clade that, with the exception of this species, originates east of the Huxley line i.e., the Philippines east of Palawan and islands east of Borneo to New Guinea and northern Australia (Hahn and Sytsma 1999). The distribution in India and Sri Lanka may be the result of an early human introduction (Hahn and Sytsma 1999). Until further work is carried out the distribution in India and Sri Lanka is assumed to be native. It is widely distributed elsewhere from Nepal and southern China to Malaya (Flora of China 2009, Govaerts 2010). It occurs from sea level up to 2,000 m.
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Worldwide distribution

Native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia
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"
Global Distribution

Indo-Malesia

Indian distribution

State - Kerala, District/s: All Districts

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Indomalaysia; in the Western Ghats- South Central and south Maharashtra Sahyadris.
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introduced; Fla.; native to India.
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Distribution: Tropical Asia, India, Ceylon, Burma. Occasionally cultivated in Pakistan.
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Assam, India, Ceylon, Burma, Malaya.
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Trunk solitary, annulate, erect, up to 12 m tall, 60-90 cm thick. Leaves up to 3.5 m or more long and up to 3 m wide, not grouped in a terminal crown, but arising successively along the trunk for a good distance below the summit. Leaflets obliquely truncate, 1.2-1.5 m long, alternate, swollen at the point of insertion, outer margin of the leaflets produced into a narrow point, bright green from the lower side; petiole stout; sheath smooth, margin fibrous. Inflorescence axillary, very large, 3 m or more long, pendulous, once branched, branches of equal length. Peduncle curved, thick, enveloped with large bracts, male flowers much larger than the female flowers, longer than broad, slender, 1.2 cm or more in length; calyx 3-lobed, sepal’s margin ciliate; corolla 3-lobed, valvate, woody; stamens 40-45, as long as the petals, anthers acuminate, basifixed, filaments 1-1.5 mm long; pistillode absent; female flower: sepals as in the male; petals 3, lobes valvate, short; staminodes 3. Fruit small, 2 cm in diameter, juicy, juice irritant due to oxalate crystals. Seeds 1-2.
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Description

Stems solitary, greater than 15 cm in diam. Leaves 5--7 m. 2n = 32.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

"Monoecious stout tall 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, raemorse 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."
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Diagnostic

"
Habit

Palms up to 15 m tall.

Trunk & Bark

Trunk smooth with annular leaf scars.

Leaves

Leaves compound, bipinnate, to 5 m long; pinnae 5-7 pairs, to 1.5 m long, leaflets lamina 25 x 10 cm, cuneiform, apex premorse.

Inflorescence / Flower

Inflorescence spadices, shortly peduncled, much branched; spathes 3-5; spikelets closely arranged on the rachillae; flowers unisexual.

Fruit and Seed

Berry, stalked, ovoid or globose; 1-2 seeded, ruminate.

"
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is found in the forest understorey and in association with gaps and disturbance (Johnson 1996). The palm starts flowering after 8-10 years. After producing a series of four to five inflorescences, the palm dies (Renuka 1999). The seed is dispersed by animals and is eaten intentionally (Zona and Henderson 1989).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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General Habitat

"Evergreen forests, also in the plains"
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Moist organic soil over limestone in mesic hammocks and disturbed wooded areas; 0--10m.
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Population Biology

Frequency

Frequent
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General Ecology

Ecology

"Common in open evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, up to 1400 m."
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering and fruiting: January-April
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Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering in summer.
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Flower/Fruit

Fl. Per.: April-May.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Caryota urens

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Caryota urens

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2014

Assessor/s
Loftus, C.

Reviewer/s
Jeanson, M.

Contributor/s

Justification
Caryota urens occurs across India to Peninsular Malaysia from sea level to 2,000 m asl. It is widely cultivated and naturalized across this region, but is thought to be native to Sri Lanka and India. It occurs in protected areas and has previously been rated as not threatened. A rating of Least Concern is given here.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Population

Population
The number of individuals is not known.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
The major threat to this palm is severe disturbance such as logging trails and forest clearance for shifting cultivation (Johnson 1996).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is present in protected areas. In a previous conservation assessment it was listed as not threatened in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and India (Johnson 1996). This palm is cultivated in the National Botanic Garden, Lae, Foster Botanic Garden (Oaha Hawaii); Wahiawa Botanic Garden (Oah, Hawaii); Harold L. Lyon Arboretum (Oahu, Hawaii); Waimea Arboretum (Oahu, Hawaii); Don Carlsmith Collection at Onomea (Hawaii); Don Hodel Collection at Kealakekua (Hawaii), Botanic Gardens of Geneva and it is occasionally cultivated in Pakistan. This species is not listed on CITES and seeds are not present in the Millennium Seed Bank, UK.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Uses

Medicinal
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Wikipedia

Caryota urens

Caryota urens is a species of flowering plant in the palm family from the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia where they grow in fields and rainforest clearings. The epithet urens is Latin for "stinging" alluding to the chemicals in the fruit. They are commonly called solitary fishtail palm, toddy palm, wine palm, jaggery palm (கூந்தற்பனை in Tamil, කිතුල් in Sinhala, ಬೈನೆ ಮರ in Kannada, ചൂണ്ടപ്പന - Choondappana in Malayalam). Its leaf is used as fishing rod after trimming the branches of the leaf and drying. According to Monier-Williams, it is called moha-karin ("delusion maker") in Sanskrit. It is one of the sugar palms.

Description[edit]

Caryota urens unripe fruit.

Caryota urens species is a solitary-trunked tree that measure up to 12 m (39 ft) in height and up to 30 cm (12 in) wide. Widely-spaced leaf-scar rings cover its gray trunk which culminate in a 6 m (20 ft) wide, 6 m tall leaf crown. The bipinnate leaves are triangular in shape, bright to deep green, 3.5 m (11 ft) long, and held on 60 cm (24 in) long petioles. The obdeltoid pinnae are 30 cm long with a pointed edge and a jagged edge.

The 3 m (9.8 ft) long inflorescences emerge at each leaf node, from top to bottom, producing pendent clusters of white, unisexual flowers. The fruit matures to a round, 1 cm (0.39 in) drupe, red in color with one seed. Like all Caryotas, the fruit contains oxalic acid, a skin and membrane irritant. As these plants are monocarpic, the completion of the flower and fruiting process results in the death of the tree. Elephants love this plant - both leaf & the pulp. Toddy is extracted from the inflorescence, and is considered some what powerful compared to toddy extracted from few other palm trees. Pulp of the fully grown up plant is cut, sun dried, powdered and is edible. This powder is considered cool and nutritius in Coastal districts of Karnataka.

Uses[edit]

This species is called kithul in Sri Lanka. It is the source of kithul treacle, a liquid jaggery.[1]

Famous Bastar Beer prepared from Caryota urens
Cultivation

Caryota urens is cultivated as an ornamental tree, and planted in gardens and parks in tropical and sub-tropical climates. It is also used as an interior and houseplant when smaller.

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

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Notes

Comments

This tree is of considerable economic importance. It produces strong fibres which are made into ropes, brushes and baskets. It also yields toddy. The nuts are used medicinally to allay thirst and in the case of hamicrania. The fruit is capable of irritating the skin and causing a burning sensation. This is said to be the reason for the specific name “urens” (burning).
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