Mauritiella aculeata

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Mauritiella (maw-reet'-ee-ehl-lah)
aculeata (ah-koo-leh-AH-tah)
Mac32 n.jpg
Photo: Madidi National Park, Rurrenabaque, Bolivia.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Mauritiella (maw-reet'-ee-ehl-lah)
aculeata (ah-koo-leh-AH-tah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Rio Negro Palm, Morichito Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Native: Brazil North, Colombia, and Venezuela. Distribution: Brazil, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Venezuela,
Palmetum, Townsville, QLD, Australia. 20/10/14. Photo by Russell Cumming.
Bolivia, Colombia (South America).


A. aculeata tends to be smaller, with a diameter of 10 cm, M. armata and M. macroclada have trunks that can reach 25 to 30 cm in diameter. Each mature leaf is 1 m long, pinnate born of a long petiole, and divided into numerous segments deep, juvenile leaves are flattened and much less divided. They are glossy deep green and glaucous beneath. The inflorescence is usually solitary, interleaving, with male and female flowers on separate plants. The fruit is usually a seed covered with thick scales from red to brown, with mesocarp fleshy. The seed is spherical or elongated. (From the Spanish) Editing by edric.


Comments and Curiosities

This is a dioecious genus.

Uses: An oil boiled from the ripe fruits, is employed to relieve pain from sprains when rubbed warm on the affected muscle. It is probable that the oil from other species of Mauritiella, as well as those of Mauritia, are similarly used. Legend among the Makuna Indians says that localities where this palm is abundant, represent places where the "Spirit of the Sun" threw fishing nets from the sky over the land, to force the first makunas to settle and build their malocas. The fruits are edible, usually eaten cooked. cananguchillo (mesocarp or pulp), although never as CRAVED as the canangucha. The fruits are eaten by guantas, agoutis, saquiras and Mundas. The stem is used for flooring. Caguana: Drink starch-based thick cooked, you drink like soda. Mojojoy: Refers to the larvae of various beetles (Coleoptera) living in the fallen palm trunks. When you acquire a sufficient amount, they are extracted and consumed raw, cooked, roasted or smoked. They are rich in oil and its taste is defined by the palm where they live. (From the Spanish)

Unmistakable as a seedling, since all parts of the young plant are covered with a white or pale blue waxy bloom. It is a clumping palm with several tall trunks and the relationship to Mauritia is clearly seen. tropical conditions preferred, with an abundance of water, but also makes a superb conservatory palm. The smaller relative of Mauritia, Mauritiella is well named since it is similar in many respects, however clustering and of much more moderate size. It shares the same general leaf characteristics, and the same requirements as to care. Mauritiella aculeata, a characteristic species of the Rio Negro in Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil (and not to be confused with the larger Mauritiella armata) grows only 3-8m (10-26ft) tall and has very slender trunks to 10cm (4") in diam., frequently bent and twisted when older. The leaf segments are elegantly drooping as opposed to the stiff segments of its close relatives. It is very fast growing and best suited to tropical conditions. (

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).

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

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