Parajubaea cocoides

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Parajubaea (pahr-ah-joo-BEH-ah)
cocoides (koh-koh-EE-dehz)
Old Town, Ecuador. Photo by Dr. William J. Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Parajubaea (pahr-ah-joo-BEH-ah)
cocoides (koh-koh-EE-dehz)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Coco Cumbe, Quito Coconut, Mountain Coconut, Cocumbe Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Parajubaea cocoides is found in Colombia, Ecuador. Planted as an ornamental
Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Photo by Alberto Leonardo Barkema
street tree in Andean towns throughout the country, mostly at elevations between 2500 and 3000 m. elevation.


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. (

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Comments and Curiosities

Uses: The endosperm is edible, and sold on markets; buttons are occasionally carved from the hard endocarp.

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).

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.

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