Phoenix pusilla

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Ceylon date palm
Phoenix pusilla Guindy NP AJT Johnsingh..JPG
Phoenix pusilla from Guindy National Park, Chennai
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Genus: Phoenix
Species: P. pusilla
Binomial name
Phoenix pusilla

Phoenix pusilla (pusilla, Latin, tiny or weak) or Ceylon date palm is a species of flowering plant in the palm family, endemic to southern India and Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), they are found in lowlands, ridges and hills. No taller than 5 m, this species is usually single-stemmed but clumps do occur naturally. At 25 cm in diameter, the trunks are covered with distinct leaf-base scars, forming a 'wicker' pattern. Their distinguishable trunks have made them popular in cultivation. They are drought tolerant and slow-growing.

In Sri Lanka, the plant is known as Indi-gaha, (ඉංදි ගහ). The name is most likely derived from "indo", meaning "of Indian origin". Its Malayalam, Telegu and Tamil names however also contain an intu or ita ending. In Hindi it is known as Palavat, and in Malayalam as Chiteental.

Medicinal properties[edit]

Plant pacifies vitiated vata, pitta, burning sensation, fever, cardiac debility, peptic ulcer and general weakness.


  • Riffle, Robert L. and Craft, Paul (2003) An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms. Portland: Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-558-6 / ISBN 978-0-88192-558-6 (page 403)
  • Nucleated succession by an endemic palm Phoenix pusilla enhances diversity of woody species in the arid Coromandel Coast of India [1]