Caryota urens is a species of flowering plant in the palm family from Sri Lanka, Singapore, Myanmar, and India 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 or கூந்தற்பனை (in Tamil)and කිතුල් (in sinhala). According to Monier-Williams, it is called moha-karin ("delusion maker") in Sanskrit. It is one of the Sugar palms.
Caryota urens is species is solitary-trunked to 12 metres (39 ft) in height and trunk 30 centimetres (0.98 ft) wide. Widely-spaced leaf-scar rings cover the gray trunks which culminate in a 6 metres (20 ft) wide, 6 metres (20 ft) tall leaf crown. The bipinnate leaves are triangular in shape, bright to deep green, 3.5 metres (11 ft) long, and held on 60 cm long petioles. The obdeltoid pinnae are 30 cm long with a pointed edge and a jagged edge.
The 3 metres (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 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.
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- Riffle, Robert L. and Craft, Paul (2003) An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms. Portland: Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-558-6 / ISBN 978-0-88192-558-6 (Page 292)
- Re-learning the art of making jaggery
- Floridata site
- USDA Plants: Caryota urens
- PACSOA.au - Caryota urens
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