Bactris mexicana

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Bactris (BAHK-triss)
mexicana (meks-ih-KAHN-ah)
Bacmex0001z.jpg
In habitat. Photo-Rare Palm Seeds.com
Scientific Classification
Genus: Bactris (BAHK-triss)
Species:
mexicana (meks-ih-KAHN-ah)
Synonyms
None set.
Native Continent
America
America.gif
Morphology
Habit: Solitary & clustering.
Leaf type: Pinnate
Culture
Survivability index
Common names
None.

Habitat and Distribution

Bactris mexicana is found in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, and Nicaragua.
H.P. Leu Gardens, Orlando, FL. photo by Geoff Stein
Mexico to Nicaragua, lowland rain forest below 600 m elevation. Southern Mexico, Central America, and just into South America.

Description

This is a typical Bactris, only grows to about 3 m. Somewhat unevenly opposed Pinnae, which gives it a feathery appearance. This, together with its orange fruit, is a beautiful, but thorny palm, good growth in the tropical or subtropics.

Stems solitary or clustering, but usually caespitose (growing in tufts or clumps), 2-3 (-5) m tall, 2-3.5 cm in diam., usually spiny on internodes. Leaves 5-7 per crown; leaf spines scattered, or occasionally somewhat clustered, black, terete, to 7 cm long, moderate on sheath, fewer on lateral surfaces of petiole and abaxial surface of rachis, or absent from petiole and rachis; sheath 20-37 cm long; ocrea to 10 cm long; petiole 35-100 cm long; rachis 0.8-1.5 m long; pinnae 8-29 per side, irregularly arranged in clusters, spreading in different planes, or regularly arranged (but with gaps) and spreading in the same plane, linear to sigmoid, narrowed at base, aristate, glabrous or sparsely to densely pubescent abaxially, the margins often spinulose with 3 mm long, straight spinules; middle pinnae (30-) 45-60 x 2-5 cm. Inflorescences interfoliar; peduncle 6-15 cm long, recurved, spiny; prophyll 9-14 cm long, 2-4 cm wide; peduncular bract 19-25 (-30) cm long, 3-5 cm wide, densely covered with short black spines to 1 cm long; rachis 1.2-6.5 cm long; rachillae 12-36, 8-16 cm long, at anthesis densely covered with brown or white, moniliform trichomes; triads irregularly arranged among paired or solitary staminate flowers; staminate flowers 2-4.5 mm long; sepal lobes 1 mm long; petals 3-4 mm long; stamens 6; pistillode absent; pistillate flowers 3-5 mm long; calyx cupular, to 1 mm long; corolla tubular, 3-4 mm long; staminodes 6, minute, or absent?, fruits 0.8-1.2 x 0.9-1.2 cm, obovoid, bluntly rostrate, orange; mesocarp mealy; endocarp turbinate, pitted on top, the sterile endocarp pores slightly displaced longitudinally; endocarp fibers few; fruiting perianth with minutely 3-lobed calyx and truncate to crenate corolla, without staminodial ring. (Henderson, A.J. 2000)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Bactris mexicana is diagnosed by its 12-36 rachillae 8-16 cm long, obovoid, bluntly rostrate orange fruits 0.8-1.2 x 0.9-1.2 cm, and turbinate endocarp that is pitted distally. Synonymy was established by de Nevers et al. (1996). Two more or less distinct forms are recognizable among the specimens examined, Bactris mexicana var. trichophylla and Bactris mexicana var. mexicana, and each has a more or less discrete range. There is, however, some overlap in characters in specimens from Guatemala, and so 1 recognize these two forms as varieties following de Nevers et al. (1996). (Henderson, A.J. 2000)/Palmweb.

Culture

Comments and Curiosities

There are two subspecies; 1.) Bactris mexicana var. mexicana, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest. Mexico (Chiapas, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Veracruz), lowland rain forest, at 100-700 m elevation. Leaf spines few on lateral surfaces of petiole and abaxial surface of rachis; pinnae sigmoid, irregularly arranged in clusters, spreading in different planes, glabrous abaxially. Common Name: Mexico: chischi, jahuate, junco. (Henderson, A.J. 2000)/Palmweb.

2.) Bactris mexicana var. trichophylla, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Belize (Belize, Cayo, Stann Creek, Toledo), Guatemala (Alta Verapaz, Izabal, Petén), Honduras (Atlántida, Colón, Comayagua), and Nicaragua (Zelaya), lowland rain forest, at 30-1000 m elevation. Leaf spines usually absent from petiole and rachis; pinnae linear, regularly arranged (but with gaps) and spreading in the same plane, pubescent abaxially. Common Name: Belize: hone. Guatemala: huiscoyol. (Henderson, A.J. 2000)/Palmweb.


External Links

References

Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Henderson, A.J.2000. Bactris (Palmae). New York Botanical Garden.


Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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