| Parajubaea (pahr-ah-joo-BEH-ah) |
Old Town, Ecuador. Photo by Dr. William J. Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Habitat and DistributionParajubaea cocoides is found in Colombia, Ecuador. Planted as an ornamental
Ornamental palm. Stem solitary, to 16 m tall, 20-30 cm in diameter, usually thickest in the middle, smooth and grey. Leaves 20-30, spreading, the lower ones pendulous, 3-4 m long; pinnae 60-70 on each side, narrow, dark green, regularly inserted and spreading in one plane, the central ones 60-70 cm long and about 3 cm wide. Inflorescence 1-2 m long, with 50-70 short branches, 10-30 cm long. Infructescence pendulous, overhung by a large, woody, peduncular bract, the fruits forming a compact, cylindrical mass from which the branch tips are sticking out. Fruits green, smooth, beaked, 4-5.5 cm long, 3-4 cm wide.
Not known in the wild. Its assumed closest relative, Parajubaea torallyi var. microcarpa Moraes is native to Bolivia. (Borchsenius, F. 1998)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.
Full sun, well drained position. Prefers a frost free, temperate climate but will take frost, but dislikes high temperatures. Much slower growing than its brother, P. torallyi. Good for getting a tropical feel in cooler areas. Grows well in California, up to San Francisco.
P. cocoides is grown in Colombia and Ecuador between 2500 and 3000 m. elevation. It is only known from cultivated sources and is possibly a cultivated form of P. torallyi. The cool Andean climate sees little seasonal variation in temperature throughout the year with day temperatures barely into the low 20's c., and frosts occur at night. In Britain it has been grown to a 3 ft seedling which succumbed to -5 c (24 f) in a London garden. However, it has survived -8 c (18 f) in both Italy and northern California but was completely defoliated so perhaps its lowest endurance is somewhere between these two levels. (palmsociety.org)
Comments and Curiosities
Uses: The endosperm is edible, and sold on markets; buttons are occasionally carved from the hard endocarp.
Parajubaea cocoides is a palm that originates in Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia where it is found at altitudes from 2000 to 3000 metres. It grows to 15 m at a medium rate. It is a very hardy and wind tolerant palm but is frost tender. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, and both sexes can be found on the same plant). Parajubaea cocoides is written up in the book “Lost Crops of the Incas” as a food crop species for the mini-coconuts that it produces. In New Zealand’s climate they will eventually produce the walnut sized edible nuts.
Apparently, this particular species of Parajubaea has only been found in cultivation except when in 2010 it was discovered growing wild in Peru in the Peruvian Andean region in the district of Tabacons (1900 m above sea level. Some speculate that Parajubaea cocoides is just another form of Parajubaea torallyi, but so far, the two are considered distinct species. (terrain.net.nz)
"This palm originates in Quito Ecuador and is written up in the book Lost Crops of the Incas as a new food crop species for the superior mini-coconuts that it produces. Apparently, this particular species of parajubaea has only been found in cultivation, none have ever been found in the wild. Some speculate that this is just another form of parajubaea torallyi, but so far, the two are considered distinct species". (Dr. Axel Kratel.)
"Parajubaea cocoides is a unique Central and Northern California coastal belt palm that is ideally adapted to Sunset zone 17, but doing well all the way to Sunset zone 14. While mature specimens of this palm have survived freezes down to 15 F (Dick Douglas in Walnut Creek in 1990) fronds will already burn on fully exposed fronds at around 27-28F. In places where the temperature routinely drops to those levels every year, this palm will never look good. Frond hardiness appears to vary amongst seedlings. Fully sun exposed fronds harden off better and will have a better chance of making it through the Winter". (Dr. Axel Kratel.)
"P. cocoides apparently hates the heat in inland Southern California but will still do well in right next to the coast but away from salt exposure in Sunset zone 24". (Dr. Axel Kratel.)
"The way to tell p. cocoides apart from other parajubaea species is the fronds, which don't go pinnate until the palm is much larger. In general, cocoides fronds have more curvature, but there is so much variation in form with this genus that this is not a reliable way to tell them apart". (Dr. Axel Kratel.)
This much talked about palm is erratic to germinate; it does best if seeds are dried for several months before sowing and then placed on the soil surface, not buried more than halfway. Once sprouted, it is fast growing, very adaptable, and resembles nothing so much as a coconut palm, or a huge Lytocaryum weddellianum. BUT, it's cold hardy! For a wonderful account of this stunning palm see PRINCIPES Vol. 31, pages172-176. An absolute must for all cool temperate and mild subtropical areas! (RPS.com)
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
- Parajubaea cocoides, a New Record for Peru by Dr. FERNANDO ROCA Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.
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).
Borchsenius, F. 1998. Manual to the palms of Ecuador. AAU Reports 37. Department of Systematic Botany, University of Aarhus, Denmark in collaboration with Pontificia Universidad Catalica del Ecuador.
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.