This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(old Greek name). Palmaceae, tribe Areceae. Fish-tail Palm. Spineless monocarpic palms, with tall stout ringed trunks, at length bearing suckers.
Leaves disposed in an elongated terminal fringe, ample, twice pinnately divided; segments dimidiate-flabelliform, or cuneate, entire, or split, irregularly dentate, plicate, folded back in the bud; midnerves and primary nerves flabellate; petiole terete below; sheath keeled on the back, fibrous along the margins: ligule short: spadices usually alternately male and female: peduncle short, thick: branches long, pendent: spathes 3-5, not entire, tubular; bractlets broad: flowers rather large, green or purple: fruit the size of a cherry, globular, purple. - Species, 9. Malaya, New Guinea, Austral. G.C. II. 22:748.
These palms are remarkable for the delta-shaped or fish-tail-shaped leaflets, which make the graceful, spreading fronds very attractive. They are excellent warmhouse palms, very useful for decoration, particularly when young. They are frequently planted out in protected places for the summer. C. urens, the wine-palm of India, yields, when full grown, about twenty-four pints of wine in twenty-four hours. The beverage is very wholesome and a valuable article of commerce. There being so many different genera to choose from in selecting plants for moderate-sized conservatories, the members of this genus are not very popular for providing small specimens. In a high, roomy structure, however, they are among the most ornamental of the tribe. They are quick-growing, with large broad leaves, finely cut up, the small divisions resembling the tail of a fish; hence the name "fish-tail palm." After reaching maturity the plant begins flowering at the top, and continues downward until the vitality of the stem is exhausted. Suckers are freely produced by some species, but these, as a rule, do not become so robust as the parent stem, owing probably to the soil becoming exhausted. Seeds are offered by most dealers.
The young plants should be grown in a warm, moist atmosphere, the soil consisting of loam with about one-third of its bulk leaf-mold and sand in equal parts. They sometimes lose their roots if kept too cool and wet in winter. Prop, is by seeds and suckers. (G. W. Oliver.) mitis, Lour. (C. soboirfera, Wall. C. furfuracea, Blume). Caudex 15-25 ft. high, 4-5 in. diam., sobo-liferous: petioles, If . - sheaths and spathes scurfy-villous: leaves 4-9 ft.; pinnae very obliquely cuneiform, irregularly dentate, upper margins acute; pinnules 4-7 in. long. Burma to Malaya.
Linn. Wine-Palm. Toddy-Palm. Caudex stout, even in cult specimens 60-80 ft. high and 18 in. thick, much higher in the wild, not soboliferous: leaves 18-20 by 10-12 ft.; pinnae 5-6 ft., curved and drooping, very obliquely truncate, acutely serrate, the upper margin produced and caudate; pinnules 4-8in.; petiole very stout. India, Malaya. A.F. 12:295. Gng. 5:131. A.G. 21:533.
Rumphiana, Mart. Leaves 2-pinnate, several feet long, the pinnules thick, sessile, 6 in. long or nearly so, oblong. Malaya. variety Albertii, Hort. (C. Albertii, Muell.), is in the trade. It is large and free-growing, the leaves being 16-18 ft. long and two-thirds as broad; If. - segments fan-shaped and oblique, toothed.
C. Blancoi, Hort., from the Philippines, has been listed in the American trade. It is probably a form of C. urens.
Jared G. Smith.