1. NEW BROMELIAD FORUM
    Guest - Don't miss our new forum. Perhaps you have something to add or share with us.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Check out, join, and contribute to our Facebook Page. Help get more people to the Forum. NEW TROPISCAPE FACEBOOK GROUP
    Dismiss Notice

taxonomy of a caryota ?

Discussion in 'PALM TREES - WHERE TROPICAL STARTS' started by harrygermany, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. harrygermany

    harrygermany Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    near Franfurt/Main, Germany
    Hello all,

    I have a problem with the taxonomy of a palm tree.
    It is Caryota maxima 'Himalaya' (Himalayan/Mountain Fishtail Palm).

    About 20 years ago I saw that palm the first time in Kathmandu (Nepal; 4000 ft). It is in front of the "International Guesthouse", more than 65 feet high. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures, but you will find almost exactly the same tree here.

    Last year I brought seeds with me to Germany and grew some seedlings (11 by now).

    The germination was unusual somehow:
    After 1 1/2 months the first roots were been seen. Now, after 7 months, still one or the other palm root appears.
    So far everything normal.

    I pricked the seedlings out and waited for the green germ bud aboveground. I had to wait 3 months (!) until the seedlings decided to complete their progress. Now the first little fan is opening.

    One more thing is different from the descriptions on the web. The web says that Caryota maxima 'Himalaya' was monocarpic.
    Since 20 years I see this caryota every year, and since then the palm tree flowers and fruits every year. So it is definitely not monocarpic.

    My problem is to find out, where this interesting palm tree belongs to. The web somewhere says that it was a 'mountain form' of Caryota urens.

    Does anyone of you know about the correct taxonomy of that palm?

    Thanks in advance.

    Harry
     
  2. palmnerd

    palmnerd Well-Known Member

    Hi Harry, Since you see the palm every year, take a picture of it. Caryota is a hapaxanth. A hapaxanth only flowers once per stem but the plant may hang on for a while. I suppose that the length of time to senescence for either a monocarp or hapaxanth, after inflorescence varies. Is the palm you return to see in a stand of palms of the same species? I would think there is little chance that the same Caryota has been blooming for that many years. If you can take a picture of the seed\ seedlings you have. This might help with some apects of identification. Photos are the only way most of us can help with these matters. Although, there are some who hang around here that seem to have supernatural palm powers.
     
  3. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,846
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    I agree with Palmnerd. I have had Caryotas that may take up to 5 years to actually die once they start flowering. But they slowly begin to look worse and worse. I would assume that this is what is happening. If I remember correctly, they start flowering at the bottom, and slowly send out additional flower stalks progressively up the tree.

    BTW - I'm glad you finally got onto the Forum. :)
     
  4. harrygermany

    harrygermany Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    near Franfurt/Main, Germany
    Hi Palmnerd,
    hi Dean (thanks for letting me in :)),

    I shall see that palm again next year November, then I will take photos.

    This Caryota is a single plant with a single stem. The plant is about 65-70 feet high (it is easy to estimate as it is next to a seven story house).
    As long as I see it almost every year, and that is since about 20 years, it flowers and fruits every year anew. It is not looking worse at all, it still looks powerfull and giant. The linked pic shows a plant almost exactly like the one I know, and the seeds there are exactly those that I brought back home.

    I will not argue but just state: If that Caryota that I described dies, it dies since at least 20 years with excellent health. And 3-4 flower stalks every year.

    Now it's your turn.

    Harry
     
  5. palmnerd

    palmnerd Well-Known Member

    Well then Harry it seems that you have stumbled upon a caryota that flowers and reflowers for twenty years. You should contact the Royal Herbarium at Kew and advise them of your discovery. If you are correct then your discovery might redefine some of the rules of the hapaxanth cycle. However before you can prove this to the scientific community, you need to be prepared to demonstrate to them that you have indeed witnessed twenty years of serial flowering. As you have mentioned you have no photos of the plant to begin with. So you have your work cut out for you. I can't argue with you any further, as I would have to see the evidence, just like the actual experts. And perhaps this species of Caryota can continue it's flowring cycle for that long in ideal conditions. Personally I am doubtful but I can't argue without facts. I will encourage you to get to the bottom of this for your own satisfaction. I have found over the last eighteen years of palm growing that the more I learn, the more I realize how much more I have to learn, before I am sure of anything. For now, please take pictures of the seedlings and post them here. Try to include the seed in the photo. That will be a start for any of us to help with your question.
     
  6. harrygermany

    harrygermany Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    near Franfurt/Main, Germany
    Hello Palmnerd,

    thanks for your reply.
    There are no seeds left. But I have a pic of my Caryota baby.[​IMG]

    I would like to explain the reason for posting here: It is just to have a correct nameplate on the flowerpot of the palm.

    When I saw this palm for the first time, my interest in palm trees was only that one kind of palms produced coconuts to have some milk from. I almost didn't know nothing about palms.

    This didn't change until three years ago.
    Then I collected informations about palm trees, bananas and other "exotic" plants to install my exotic garden. I still was not very much interested in taxonomy and other scientific things. My interest was that of a normal gardener.
    Last year I brought seeds of Caryota from Nepal to home.

    During my research in the web I stumbled over some statements about Caryota which I couln't agree with, from my own experience.
    So I asked in German boards (for exotic plants), but noone could help me.

    Then I got the URL of Palmpedia, and I thought that there maybe could be one who knew about Caryota and could help me.

    That is my story.
    I didn't want to show-off with a 'discovery' nor did I think of proving this to the scientific community. The Royal Herbarium at Kew I had to look up at google.

    But if this is important, you might ask someone who lives in Nepal or who travels there to take a photo of that tree. Everyone in Kathmandu knows the hotel "International Guesthouse" where the tree grows. And the tree is so big that one can't miss it.

    Harry


    P.S.: To have some pics of the tree earlier, I have sent an email to the owner of the "International Guesthouse" in Kathmandu, asking him for some photos of the Caryota to take and send to me. When they arrive I shall post them.
     
  7. palmnerd

    palmnerd Well-Known Member

    Hi Harry, That seedling looks like a classic Caryota, or at least the ones I am used to. If you sensed some sarcasm in my Kew remark, you are half right. I was teasing you with regard to your insistance that a single stemmed Caryota can persist in a state of flowering for that long. So forgive the sarcasm. I am; however, serious that you should feel free to contact folks at that institution. They or their colleagues get around quite a bit. As you suggest in your last post that the palm you speak of is in a conspicuous location and others of palm mindedness may know of what you speak.
    Toby Spanner might be another person to try to have an audience with as well. He has done work in that region. The latest IPS journal has an article by Toby and Martin Gibbons about palms in a relatively nearby location.
    I hope that there is someone on this forum that has seen what you're talking about, then your questions won't be lost on people like me who would need photos to help you with your identification.
    By the way your photo betrays quite a collection of plants in the background. How many meters square do you have under roof?
    Also, in my part of the world we have been growing the C. urens var himalaya. The trees never make it to 20+ meters here as the tropical storms knock them down. We have gotten seed though. The one in my collection is only four meters at the moment. That won't help you in your quest.
    For now you may have to settle for Caryota sp. Kathmandu collected. That makes for a fitting ad hoc name.
     
  8. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,846
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    I too am skeptical. But there is no question that seedling is a Caryota. So if that is from that tree, and you have seen that tree flowering for 20 years, it would be very important for the palm community to delve more deeply into this story.

    If wouldn't be the first time a major discovery was begun on a palm forum.
     
  9. harrygermany

    harrygermany Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    near Franfurt/Main, Germany
    Hi Palmnerd and Dean,

    obviously I slipped into something that I did not even know that it existed. I was only looking for a name.

    But as I am in, I will try to do my best.

    I contacted Tobias W. Spanner by email and wait for his feedback. After I have some results together I will report.

    Harry
     

Share This Page