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Family Arecaceae
Caryota mitis Lour.

Jiu ye zi

Scientific names Common names
Caryota furfuracea Blume Bato (Tag.)
Caryota griffithii Becc. Pugahan (Tag.)
Caryota griffithii var. selebica Becc. Clustering fishtail palm (Engl.)
Caryota javanica Zipp. ex Miq. Many-stemmed fishtail palm (Engl.)
Caryota mitis Lour. Tufted fishtail palm (Engl.)
Caryota nana Linden Wine palm (Engl.)
Caryota plumosa Linden  
Caryota propinqua Blume  
Caryota purpuracea G.Nicholson  
Caryota sabolifera Wall. ex. Mart.  
Caryota speciosa Linden  
Drymophloeus zippellii Hassk.  
Thuessinkia zippellii Korth.  
Caryota mitis Lour. is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
ARABIC: Nakhlat câryôtâ.
CAMBODIA: Tunsae töch.
CHINESE: Duan sui yu wei kui, Cong li kong que ye zi, Tuan sui yi wei k'uei, Chiu yeh tzu, Jiu ye zi.
FRENCH: Caryote doux.
GERMAN: Fischschwanzpalme.
ITALIAN: Palma cariota.
KOREAN: K'ae ri oh t'a ya cha.
MALAY: Dudar, Nudok, Dudok, Leseh, Leuteu. Mudor.
MALAYSIA: Tukas, Rabok.
MYANMAR: Minbow, Minbaw, Tamibaw.
SPANISH: Palma cola de pescado (El Salvador).
THAILAND: Taou-rung-dang.
VIETNAMESE: Dung dinh.

Gen info
- Caryota is a genus of palm trees, often known as fistail palms because of the shape of the leaves.
- Caryota mitis,
known as clustering fishtail palm, is a species of palm native to Tropical Asia from India to Java to southern China, now sparingly naturalized in southern Florida and parts of Africa and Latin America. (21)

- The species was originally described from Vietnam in 1790. (21)
- Etymology: The genus name Caryota derives from Greek 'caryon', meaning 'a nut'. The species epithet mitis means 'unarmed', referring to the physical presence of an unarmed palm.

• Pugahan is a palm, differing from other Caryota species in having many suckers and producing clusters of small-sized palms, up to 7 meters tall. Stems are solitary or clustered, slender to massive, with conspicuous nodal rings. Petioles, leaf-sheaths and spathes are scurfily villous. Leaves are 1.2 to 3 meters long; leaflets are obliquely cuneiform, erose and toothed; the upper margin acute. Spadix is scurfy, axillary and pendulous. Male buds are cylindric; male flowers are small, about 5 millimeters long. Fruit is 10 to 13 millimeters in diameter, bluish-black when ripe, containing a single globose seed.

• A clumping, medium-sized palm with closely-placed, slender stems that support a crowded mass of attractive, feathery fronds with their unusual fishtail leaflets. Trunk: Stem slender, green, 5 to 15 cm in diameter, with distinct rings at wide intervals; crownshaft absent. Foliage: Fronds bipinnate, ascending to spreading, 1.3 to 3 m long, 5 to 12 per stem; leaflets flat, about 10 to 18 cm long, triangular, with a jagged leaf tip and a fan-like terminal leaflet. Flower: Inflorescences spirally-arranged (initiating at top and moving down stem), cream, densely massed, 30 to 60 cm long; flowers in groups of 3 (2 males and 1 female). Fruit: Fruits globular, up to 1.2 cm in diameter, ripening from green to red.

Makes an excellent garden palm with its beautiful, unusual leaflets that give a different texture to its surrounding. Commonly used as hedging or planted along borders due to its low, dense crown. Suitable to be planted in big parks and gardens with vast spaces for its maximum landscaping potential. Can be grown a potted plant or placed indoors.

- Native to the Philippines.
- In forests, near streams, at low altitudes in Palawan.
- Cultivated for ornamental pot plants in the Philippines.
- Also native to
Andaman Is., Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, China Southeast, Hainan, Jawa, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Myanmar, Nicobar Is., Sulawesi, Sumatera, Thailand, Vietnam. (8)

- Fruits, leaves and stems contain various alkaloids.
- Pulp of fruit contains calcium oxalate crystals.
- Phytochemical screening of seed oil yielded phytosterols, triterpenes, alkaloids, flavonoids, and saponins. (10)
- Proximate analysis of seed oil yielded moisture content 42%, crude fiber 34.30, carbohydrate 11.92%, crude fat 5.30%, crude protein 4.64% and ash content 1.84% on dry matter basis. Mineral content yielded iron (3.10 ± 0.02 mg/kg) manganese (0.11 ±0.01 mg/kg), sodium (154.15 ±1.98 mg/kg) and potassium (127.04 ± 1.21 mg/kg). (10)
- Phytochemical screening of leaves yielded steroids, triterpenoids, flavonoids, saponins, and alkaloids. LC-MS/MS study detected eight piperidine and pyridine alkaloids in the genus C. mitis for the first time: nicotine (1), methyl N-methylpiperidine-3-carboxylate (2), propyl N-methylpiperidine-3-carboxylate (3), ethyl N-methyl piperidine-3-carboxylate (4), guvacoline (5), ethyl N-methyl-1,2,5,6-tetrahydropyridine-3-carboxylate (6), arecoline (7), and ethyl nicotinate (8). (see study below) (13)
- Phytochemical analysis and chromatographic fractionation of total ethanolic extract of C. mitis leaves yielded ten compounds viz. β-amyrin (1), β-sitosterol (2), β-sitosterol-3-O-β-D glucoside (3), kaempferol (4), quercetin (5), kaempferol-3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (6), quercetin-3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (7), kaempferol-3-O-rutinoside (8), quercetin-3-O-rutinoside (9), and chlorogenic acid methyl ester (10), (see study below) (14)
The methanol extract yielded several secondary plant metabolites viz. alkaloid, glycoside, protein, flavonoid, reducing sugar, saponins, and phenolic compounds. (see study below) (20)

Caution !
• Pericarp contains stinging crystals (raphides, needle-shaped crystals of calcium oxalate). The seeds inside the poisonous fruit are edible after cooking.
• Crystalline needles from the juice of the ripe fruit can cause intense itching within seconds.
• Fibrous hairs of the leaf stalk can cause skin irritation.
• Handling of the berries may cause burning and swelling of the lips, buccal cavity and throat. May cause redness and swelling of the eyes and skin irritation. Effects are not long lasting.

Parts utilized
Roots, leaves.

- Kernels of the fruit and terminal bud are edible, but only after processing.
- Seeds inside the poisonous fruit are edible, as is the cabbage, after cooking.
- Stems yield a little starch which the people of Malacca and Borneo use as sago.
- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- In Kelantan, juice of the fruit, mixed with bamboo hairs and extract of toad is considered a potent poison.
- In Cambodia, soft fibers at the base of the leaf-sheath use for the cauterization of wounds. (•) Traditional healers burn heaps of felted hair from leaf axils to treat ill limbs of patients.
- In Thailand, for itches, the fruits are boiled in water and the water used for a bath.
- Negrito tribes of Andaman Islands use the young shoots for vomiting and stomachache.
- In Bangladesh, Roots and fruits used for hemorrhoids, loss of virility, rheumatoid arthritis, and as laxative.
- In Vietnam, fruits used to treat joint pains.
- In Papua New Guinea, used for shortness of breath. (16)
- In Indo-China, fibers from axils of leaves applied as moxa for cauterization of bits of poisonous animals or insect stings. (18)
- Toddy: Inflorescence can yield sap which can be consumed fresh (nira) or fermented into toddy, then distilled into an arrack.
- Sugar: Sap can be refined to produce a sugar (jiggery).
- Poison: In the Malay Peninsula, fruits are put in juice, mixed with bamboo hairs and toad-extract, and used to poison food. (18)
- Ornamental: In Cochinchine, Vietnam, the plant was used as a wedding gate before 2000s. (21)

Raphides / Fruit:
Raphides in the mature fruit of the fishtail palm Caryota mitis were shown to be calcium oxalate monohydrate. On contact with intact human skin, an aqueous suspension of the raphides caused an immediate severe itch sensation, probably a mechanic action of the calcium oxalate needles rather than by penetrating toxin or enzyme action of the raphides. (1)
Antioxidant / Fruits: Among 56 tested wild fruits, Caryota mitis was one of eight that showed the highest total phenolic contents and highest antioxidant activities, and suggested a potential for development of natural antioxidants and functional foods or drugs.
Prolifin-Loaded PLGA Nanoparticles / Immunotherapy / Allergic Asthma: A mouse model of allergenic asthma established for specific immunotherapy using rCmP-loaded PLGA nanoparticles as adjuvant was evaluated by measuring hyper-responsiveness and levels of serum-specific antibodies. Results showed the PLGA nanoparticles functions more appropriately as specific immunotherapy adjuvant for allergen vaccines than conventional Al(OH)3 due to superior efficacy, longer potency and markedly fewer side effects. (9)
• Antioxidant / Leaves:
Study isolated two pure flavonoids from the air-dried powdered leaves of Caryota mitis. In antioxidant activity assay using DPPH model, the ethyl acetate fraction exhibited the strongest free radical scavenging activity, which was attributed to a high proportion of flavonoids and phenolic acids. Quercetin-3-O-glucoside and rutin (flavonols glycosides) exhibited promising antioxidant activity. (12)
• Volatile Alkaloids / Antimicrobial / Leaves:
Study of dried leaves isolated eight pyridine/piperidine alkaloids for the first time in the genus Caryota. The alkaloid fractions and other plant extract fractions showed antibacterial and antifungal activities against selected strains i.e., E. coli, S. aureus, and C. albicans. (see constituents above) (13)
• Antimicrobial / Leaves:
Phytochemical analysis and fractionation of total ethanolic extract of leaves isolated ten compounds. Antimicrobial assay of different extracts and fractions revealed strong antibacterial activities on S. aureus more than E. coli, while n-butanol and aqueous fractions showed activity against C. albicans. (see constituents above) (14)
• Cerebroside and Chondrocyte Proliferation Activity / Fruits:
Study investigated the phytochemicals and chondrocyte proliferation activity of C. mitis fruits on young human chondrocyte. All extracts and fractions stimulated the growth of chondrocyte. n-Hexane and methanol fractions significantly increased proliferation of chondrocyte by 30.75 and 23.42% at concentrations of 0.01 µg/ml, respectively. A methanol fraction yielded a new cerebroside and eight known ones. (15)
Chemopreventive / Leaves: Study compared the leaf and fruit metabolites of Caryota imitis and Caryota urens. A total of 142 metabolites were detected. Screening of leaf crude extracts via invitro DCPIP kinetic assay revealed induction of phase II cytoprotective enzyme NQO1 by 4.5- to -fold versus control, suggest of chemopreventive activity. Two novels sulfated flavonols viz. quercetin-3-O-sulfate-4'-O-rhamnosyl (1→6)-β-d-glucoside (F1) and kaempferol-3-O-sulfate-4'-O-rhamnosyl(1→6)-β-d-glucoside (F3), along with five other known flavonoids were isolated from the ethanol extract of M. mitis. F1 and F3 showed highest docking score as KEAP-1 inhibitors and Nrf2 activators posing as potential chemopreventive drug leads. (19)
Anti-Inflammatory / Thrombolytic / Cytotoxicity / Leaves: Study evaluated methanol extract of leaves for qualitative phyto-constituents and anti-inflammatory activity using protein denaturation assay, thrombolytic activity using human blood clot lysis, and cytotoxicity using brine shrimp lethality bioassay. The extract exhibited extremely significant inhibition of protein denaturation (p<0.0001) 6.06-45/45% compared to diclofenac at 43.11 -85.48%, significant 24.29% (p<0.0001) protection against blood clotting compared to streptokinase 75.35%, and weak cytotoxicity with LC50 550.57 compared to vincristine sulfate at 1.63 µg/mL. (20)

- Ornamental cultivation.
- Seeds in the cybermarket.

Updated February 2024 / November 2018 / February 2017
October 2015

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Leaf of fistal palm / Ping an Chang / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Click on image or link to go to source page / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Examination of the itch response from the raphides of the fishtail palm Caryota mitis / Diane Snyder et al / Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology • / Volume 48, Issue 2, April 1979, Pages 287-292 / doi:10.1016/0041-008X(79)90035-8

Sorting Caryota names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.
Caryota mitis / Vernacular names and uses / GLOBinMED
Antioxidant Capacities and Total Phenolic Contents of 56 Wild Fruits from South China
/ Li Fu, Bo-Tao Xu , Xiang-Rong Xu , Xin-Sheng Qin, Ren-You Gan and Hua-Bin Li * / Molecules 2010, 15, 8602-8617; doi:10.3390/molecules15128602
Plants folk medicine of Negrito tribes of Bay Islands / M U Sharief / Indian Journ of Traditional Knowledge, Vol 6(3). July 2007, pp 468-476.
Herbs from Peat Swamp Forests in Narathivas, Thailand / Tasanee Kitirattrakarn and Choojit Anantachoke / Proc. WOCMAP III, Vol.6: Traditional Medicine & Nutraceuticals / Acta Hort. 680, ISHS 2005
A Survey of Medicinal Plant Usage by Folk Medicinal Practitioners in Two Villages by the Rupsha River in Bagerhat District, Bangladesh / Mohammed Rahmatullah et al / American-Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 4(3): 349-356, 2010
Caryota mitis Lour. / Synonyms / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Effects of Caryota mitis profilin-loaded PLGA nanoparticles in a murine model of allergic asthma.
/ Xiao X, Zeng X, Zhang X, Ma L, Liu X, Yu H, Mei L, Liu Z / Int J Nanomedicine. 2013;8:4553-62. / doi: 10.2147/IJN.S51633
Preliminary Studies on the Seed Oil of Caryota mitis: Proximate Composition, Phytochemical Screening and Evaluation of Antimicrobial Activity / Olayinka O. Ajani, Taiwo F. Owoeye, Grace I. Olasehinde, Oluwatosin Y. Audu, Fisayo E. Owolabi, Deborah K. Akinlabu and Abiola Edobor-Osoh /American Journal of Food Technology, 11: 253-263., 2016 / DOI: 10.3923/ajft.2016.253.263
Antioxidant Capacities and Total Phenolic Contents of 56 Wild Fruits from South China / Li Fu, Bo-Tao Xu, Xiang-Rong Xu, Xin-Sheng Qin, Ren-You Gan and Hua-Bin Li * / Molecules 2010, 15, 8602-8617; doi:10.3390/molecules15128602
In vitro evaluation of antioxidant activity of Caryota mitis Lour. Leaves extracts / Islam A. Abdelhakim, Afaf M. Abdel-baky and Dauod W. Bishay / Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, 2017; 6(5): pp 2559-2562
Rapid Detection of Eight Volatile Alkaloids from Caryota mitis Lour. by LC-MS/MS and Antimicrobial Effects of their Extracts / Ahmed M Zaher, Islam A Abdel-Hakim, Afaf M Abdel-Baky, and Bishay DW / Med Aromat Plants, 2018, Vol 7(3): 314  / DOI: 10.4172/2167-0412.1000314
Chemical constituents and antimicrobial activity of the leaves of Caryota mitis Lour. (Arecaceae) /  Islam A Abdelhakim, Mohamed Ahmed El-Mokhtar, Afaf M Abd El-Baky and Dauod W Bishay / Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies, 2017; 5(5) Part D: pp 250-255 / eISSN: 2320-3862 / pISSN: 2394-0530
New cerebroside and chondrocyte proliferation activity of Caryota mitis L. / Trinh PTN, Quynh NTT, Tri MD, Minh PN, Thuy NTL, Truong LH, Tuan NN, Dung LT / Nat Prod Res., 2018; 32(22): pp 1-7 /
DOI: 10.1080/14786419.2017.1375919.
An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used in the East Sepik province of Papua New Guinea
/ Michael Koch, Dickson Andrew Kehop et al /Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 2015; 11:79 / DOI 10.1186/s13002-015-0065-8
Purification of Crude Procyanidins Extract from Caryota Mitis Lour Fruit by Absorption Resin / ZHANG Jing; LIU Shao-na; HUANG Si-mei / Journal of Jiaying University, 2014-11
The medicinal plants of Myanmar/ Robert A. DeFilipp, Gary A. Krupnick / PhytoKeys, 2018; 102: 1–341 / DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.102.24380
Comparative metabolites profiling of Caryota mitis & Caryota urens via UPLC/MS and isolation of two novel in silico chemopreventive flavonoids / Radwa Hassan El-Akad, Aisha Hussein Abou Zeid, Hanaa Mohamed El-Rafie, Zeinab Abdel-Aziz Kandil, Mhamed Ali Farag / J Food Biochem, 2021; 45(4): e13648 / DOI: 10.1111/jfbc.13648
Phytochemical screening and in vitro pharmacological activities of methanolic leaves extract of Caryota mitis / Marzia Rahman Tona, Abu Montakim Tareq, Mohammed Aktar Sayeed, Md Hasan Mahmud et al /JABET: Journal of Advanced Biotechnology and Experimental Therapeutics, 2020; 3(2): pp 109-115 /
DOI: 10.5455/jabet.2020.d114 / eISSN: 2616-4760
Caryota mitis / Wikipedia
Caryota mitis / National Parks: FLORA & FAUNA WEB


DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants
                                          New plant names needed
The compilation now numbers over 1,300 medicinal plants. While I believe there are hundreds more that can be added to the collection, they are becoming more difficult to find. If you have a plant to suggest for inclusion, native or introduced, please email the info: scientific name (most helpful), local plant name (if known), any known folkloric medicinal use, and, if possible, a photo. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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