Corypha umbraculifera
Talipot Palm or Ceylon Palm
Native of India & Sri Lanka


Rare Flowering of a Ceylon Palm
July 2003
Caracas, Venezuela, Botanical Garden

Text and images by Fernando Santos
Click images to enlarge

This is a palm tree, Corypha umbraculifera, in the Caracas Botanical Garden. Last week, July 2003, it set flower for first time in 48 years. It looks like yellow fountain rising from the green forest of the garden. The trunk is about 3 feet in diameter. From the ground to the top of the panicles is about 80 feet. The amount of insects flying around the panicles is amazing… a delightful task for them!

This giant palm is suitable only for very large gardens, since it develops into an immense plant before flowering, fruiting and dying. Individual leaves may be more than 15 feet. Younger parts of the trunk are covered with persistent leaf bases. Plants grow for thirty to eighty years. Flowering plants are an impressive sight indeed, with a terminal panicle more than 18 feet high and bearing millions of tiny cream flowers. These are followed by dull green, rounded fruits, which mature about twelve months after flowering (after which the palm dies).


An unknown night blooming waterlily in the small pond at the foot of the Ceylon Palm


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