Bactris rhaphidacantha

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Bactris (BAHK-triss)
In habitat. Photo by Pierre-Olivier Albano.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Bactris (BAHK-triss)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary & clustering.
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
French Guiana: koua 'hm ' (Oyampi) petit ouara (Creole), piritu (Trio), zagrinette, zagrinette forêt.

Habitat and Distribution

Bactris rhaphidacantha is found in Brazil North, French Guiana, Suriname,
French Guiana. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Eastern Amazon region in Suriname, French Guiana, and Brazil (Amapá); lowland rain forest on terra firme, at 100-550 m elevation.


Stems solitary or clustering, but usually cespitose (growing in tufts or clumps), 0.3-1.5 m long, 5-8 cm in diam., not spiny or with a few spines on internodes. Leaves 8-16 per crown, erect and forming a funnel; leaf spines black, terete or somewhat flattened, to 10 cm long, dense on sheath, fewer on lateral margins of petiole, mostly absent from rachis or scattered on abaxial surface; sheath 40-60 cm long; ocrea not seen; petiole 0.5-1.5 m long; rachis 1.4-3 m long; pinnae 25-40 per side, regularly arranged, spreading in the same plane, linear, long acuminate; middle pinnae 43-85 x 3-4 cm. Inflorescences interfoliar; peduncle 10-20 cm long, recurved, not spiny; prophyll 8-17 cm long; peduncular bract 15-35 cm long, densely covered with black or brown spines; rachis 5-7 cm long; rachillae 25-40, filamentous, to 8 cm long, at anthesis densely covered with brown, moniliform trichomes; triads more or less regularly arranged (but often with solitary staminate flowers interspersed) on proximal about half or more of rachillae, and there tending to be absent from adaxial side of rachillae (paired or solitary staminate flowers only on distal about half of rachillae); staminate flowers (immature) 2 mm long; sepal lobes 1.5 mm long; petals 2 mm long; stamens 4-7; pistillode absent; pistillate flowers to 3 mm long; calyx cupular, 1.5-3 mm long; corolla cupular, 2-3 mm long, tomentose; staminodes absent; fruits 1-1.2 cm in diam., obovoid, shortly rostrate, orange-red, with deciduous, short black spinules; mesocarp starchy; endocarp turbinate, the sterile pores more or less equally spaced; endocarp fibers few or absent; fruiting perianth with small, glabrous, lobed calyx and larger, glabrous, lobed corolla, without staminodial ring. (Henderson, A.J. 2000)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Bactris rhaphidacantha is diagnosed by its short stem; regularly arranged, spreading in the same plane, linear pinnae; and filamentous rachillae. In southern French Guiana some specimens (e.g., de Granville 7109) have pinnae clustered proximally on the rachis, and thus approach B. acanthocarpa var. exscapa (which occurs in adjacent areas). Because inflorescences, flowers, and fruits are similar, B. rhaphidacantha could possibly be included as a variety of B. acanthocarpa. (Henderson, A.J. 2000)/Palmweb.


Bactris rhaphidacantha is practically unknown in cultivation, but would make an attractive addition to the tropical garden. Germination is rather lengthy, and will take at least 6 months.

Comments and Curiosities

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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