Bactris guineensis

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Bactris (BAK-triss)
guineensis (gwee-neh-EN-sis)
ACG-PI-p-dig-4426 g.jpg
Guanacaste Conservation Area, Costa Rica. Photo by Adrian Guadamuz.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Bactris (BAK-triss)
guineensis (gwee-neh-EN-sis)
Bactris oraria, (1943)
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Colombia: lata, lata de corozo. Costa Rica: viscoyol. Nicaragua: coyolillo, coyolito. Panama: caña brava, caña brava blanca, corocillo, uvita de monte, uvito. Venezuela: jubita, pinkicho, piritu.

Habitat and Distribution

Bactris guineensis is found in Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panamá, Venezuela.
Guanacaste Conservation Area, Costa Rica. Photo by Adrian Guadamuz.
Pacific slope of Central America in Nicaragua (Chontales, Granada), Costa Rica (Guanacaste, Puntarenas), Panama (Coclé, Los Santos, Panamá), northern Colombia (Atlántico, Bolívar, Córdoba, La Guajira, Magdalena, Sucre), and Venezuela (Bolívar, Cojedes, Guárico, Monagas, Portuguesa, Zulia). Open, often disturbed places, and deciduous forest, often near the coast, in areas that experience prolonged dry seasons; alt. I0-400 m elevation. (Henderson, A.J. 2000)/Palmweb.


Stems caespitose (growing in tufts or clumps), clustering, spreading by rhizomes, sometimes forming large clumps, 0.8-3 m tall, 2-3 cm in diam., often covered with persistent, decaying leaf bases. Leaves 5-11 in the crown; leaf spines yellowish, black at base and apex, terete or slightly flattened, to 9 (-15) cm long, dense and short on sheath, scattered and longer on petiole and rachis; sheath 15-60 cm long, fibrous on margins, sheath, petiole, and rachis whitish brown-tomentose; ocrea to 5 cm long; petiole to 5 cm long; rachis 20-40 cm long; pinnae 20-42 per side, regularly or slightly irregularly arranged (often with gaps), spreading more or less in the same plane or in different planes, linear or lanceolate, asymmetrically and briefly bifid subapically, pale gray-green, readily falling from dried specimens; middle pinnae 15-30 x 0.9-2 cm. Inflorescences interfoliar; peduncle 10-20 cm long, straight, spiny; prophyll to 20 cm long; peduncular bract 25-35 cm long, whitish tomentose, moderately covered with spreading, yellowish spines to 1 cm long; rachis 2-5 cm long; rachillae 11-30,8-11 cm long, at anthesis densely covered with moniliform trichomes; triads irregularly arranged among paired or solitary staminate flowers; staminate flowers 3-4 mm long; sepal lobes 1.5-2 mm long; petals 3-4 mm long; stamens 6; pistillode small; pistillate flowers 2.5-4 mm long; calyx cupular, 0.7-1 mm long; corolla tubular, 2.5-4 mm long; staminodes minute or absent; fruits 1.5-2 cm in diam., depressed-globose, briefly rostrate, purple-black; mesocarp juicy; endocarp depressed-oblong, the sterile pores markedly displaced longitudinally to one end; endocarp fibers numerous, with juice sacs attached; fruiting perianth with entire, 3-lobed calyx and truncate corolla, without staminodial ring. (Henderson, A.J. 2000)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Baetris guineensis is diagnosed by its linear, pale gray-green pinnae that are asymmetrically and briefly bifid at the apex and readily fall from dried specimens. Synonymy was established by de Nevers et al. (1996). Glassman (1972) and Henderson et al. (1995) included Aiphanes minima (Gaertner) Burret in synonymy here but it does not belong. (Henderson, A.J. 2000)/Palmweb.


Warm, sheltered and moist. Found in dry lowlands, and usually below 100 meters high, often growing in marine beaches. Grows well in moist areas, but plants are also found in tropical dry forest in high and dry parts. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

Uses: Ripe fruits are used to make a rich drink Cosinan and trunks are used in residential construcion. In Venezuela, they produce an alcoholic beverage (rum Piritu) prepared from the maceration of the fruit then the wine is used to make rum. The maceration is 2 or more months. It is a very popular drink in Venezuela. In Colombia trunks after being slightly burnt are used to manufacture an instrument called guacharaca which is typical of vallenato sets. It is used for processing vio-combustibles, is used the soil conservation, wood is used as in the constructions of walls and roofs. The fruit and the bud tender, fresh, edible. (From the Spanish), edric.

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

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

Special thanks to, 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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