Fishtail palm trees feature compound leaves that reach staggeringly large sizes, as does the tree itself. The leaflets of these large leaves, each of which features ragged edges that resemble the back end of a fish, a tropical feel to the plant and subsequently any room or garden space it is in. Worth noting: Most varieties of clump-forming Fishtail Palm trees are good outdoor substitutes for the more invasive bamboo (the world’s fastest-growing plant).
Whether you grow this tree indoors as a houseplant or outside on a seasonal basis (or permanently in warmer regions), it creates the sense of a tropical getaway. That’s because this plant is one of the few palm trees with bipinnately compound leaves comprised of many leaflets. These grayish-green leaves create a dappled shade environment.
Fishtail palm trees bear both male and female blossoms on the same plant, which makes fruit production possible on a single specimen. Each of the small red fruits contains a single seed, which is edible if you completely clean it of the stinging outer flesh that contains oxalic acid crystals. Wear gloves when retrieving the seed or removing fallen fruit to prevent skin irritation. To sprout a seed, keep it warm and moist in a pot for 6-8 months. Once a tree produces fruit, the trunk that produced the flower will die. If it’s from a species of tree with only one trunk, the whole tree will die. If the tree comes from a species of tree with multiple trunks (thanks to stems, or suckers, that emerge near the mother trunk’s base, these multiple trunks will continue until they, too, flower and die.