“Clustering Fishtail Palm”
Natural Habitat: Widely found throughout Southeast Asia; including Thailand, Sumatra, Borneo, and Java, as well as others.
Description: A large naturally clustering fishtail palm that can reach 25 feet in total height and over 15 feet in total clump width. The clusters begin from a single tree and begin to cluster around a 3 gallon size. Once established this palm will form a dense clump and can be used as solid fencing if planted in tight rows or good cover to block out neighbors. The clumps may have upwards of 15 different stems growing from one cluster. The large 8 foot long leaves sit on the end of 3 foot long dark green petioles (branches), and are covered in green fishtail shaped leaflets. Due to their monocarpic nature (Flower once and die) the largest and oldest stems in the clumps will flower for a few seasons and die. The dying stems should be removed so the smaller stems can fill in the newly vacated space. The clusters are usually so dense; removing one or two stems is not noticeable.
Environment: The mitis enjoys a semi-shady/semi-sunny area where it will get watered regularly. Due to its clustering nature, it should be planted in with room to grow out and up. As a seedling, it prefers a shady area and yearly treatments of lime. The mitis is cold hardy to the low 30’s and should be protected during any temperatures under 30. Yellowing and browning can occur during frosts and freezes, but the clump usually comes back just fine. Zones 9b-11.