| Copernicia (koh-pehr-nee-SEE-ah) |
Habitat and DistributionCopernicia fallaensis is endemic species of the central part of Cuba. Though Cuba's most
Copernicia fallaensis produces a massive, smooth, light gray trunk that is thickest near the middle and can reach up to 20 m (67 ft.) tall. The huge, rounded crown consists of many enormous, oval leafblades that are very evenly divided into about 120 very stiff segments. Seen against the bright sky, these form a mesmerizing pattern. The color of the leafblade is a waxy blue green and the broad, flat leaf stalks can be almost white. In Cuba, the fruits are eaten by fruit bats. While there has been some discussion in recent years on this palm being merely a robust form of Copernicia baileyana, anyone who has ever seen the two "in the flesh" agrees that that would not be justified. While Copernicia baileyana is a fantastic palm in its own right, C. fallaensis tops it with ease. It is doubtlessly the best of the Copernicia and surely one of the most stately of all palms. Mature plants are a truly awe-inspiring sight that is not easily forgotten. Editing by edric.
In cultivation, the Giant Yarey Palm is exceedingly rare. It is very easy to germinate and even though it is rather slow growing, especially as a seedling, it adapts well to a wide range of conditions in the tropics and warm subtropics.
Comments and Curiosities
Today there is only a tiny community of less than 100 mature trees remaining in secondary savanna near the town of Falla (Ciego de Ávila province), after which the palm is named. It is considered critically endangered of extinction but unfortunately measures to better preserve its last remaining population have been rather halfhearted, most likely due to a lack of funding. While felling is no longer a problem, overexploitation of the leaves for thatch and weaving is the main threat at the moment.
Duanny Suárez provides scale for this Copernicia fallaensis, a remnant of a once more extensive grove near the type locality in Ranchuelo, Falla, Ciego de Ávila, Cuba. This species typically has a large, straight trunk to 20 m tall topped with leaves nearly four m long and a canopy that can spread for more than eight m across (D. R. Hodel).
At this large population of Copernicia fallaensis 84 adult trees and 187 juveniles exist in a highly disturbed, secondary forest with a few scattered plants nearby in savanna and cleared pasture. Note that some individuals have had leaves harvested. Near or at the type locality in Ranchuelo, Falla, Ciego de Ávila, Cuba (D. R. Hodel).
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
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).
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.