A seventeenth-century English traveller in southern India reported
with astonishment that this palm had a single leaf so broad that it
will cover some 15 to 20 men and keep them dry when it rains. One of
the most massive of all palms, it has a stout trunk up to 80 ft (24
m) tall supporting a crown of fronds with thick stalks about 12 ft
(3.5 m) long from which radiate fan-like blades 15 ft (4.5 m) or
more in length.
The terminal panicle of flowers rises about 20 ft (6 m) above the
leaves, with crowded masses of white flowers on drooping lateral
It is common in southern India and Sri Lanka where it has many
Flowering colors: White
Cultivation: These are strictly tropical palms, growing normally in
full sun in alluvial soil near rivers and swamps.
They are usually seen in cultivation only in large parks and
Seed is easily germinated but even under the best growing conditions
it will take 10 years at least before a trunk starts to elongate.