views updated

Caryota (fishtail palms; family Palmae) A genus of palms which are small to 30 m tall, and solitary or clump-forming; they are unique among palms in having leaves that are twice-pinnate, with the leaflets fishtail-shaped, and pinnately nerved. The inflorescences develop basipetally, the female flower flanked by 2 males. The fruits have an irritant, sappy pericarp, and contain 1 or 2 seeds. There are 12 species, native in tropical Asia to Queensland, and in the Solomon Islands.