| Syagrus (see-AHG-ruhs) |
Habitat and DistributionBrazil Southeast, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo. Endemic to Atlantic forest,
Forested areas and pastures. Found at elevations down to sea level in the south of its range, but only at higher elevations up to 900 metres where it is found nearer the Equator.
Solitary, very tall in the wild, to greater than 50 feet, somewhat thin trunk that has a green color when it is younger. Plumose, long green leaves come clustering of these multi-ranked leaflets. The fruits are quite large. Editing by edric.
Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a strict
Comments and Curiosities
Previously known as Barbosa pseudococos, named after a famous botanist.
"Though I have to say this looks a bit like an ordinary Queen palm, but also a bit like a coconut palm (though with a perfectly straight pole of a trunk which is not very coconut like). Tall, smooth trunked palm with smallish head (relative to size of palm) of arching plumose leaves (leaves a bit less plumose than a Queen Palm). This is one of the least cold tolerant of the Sygrus. I have had several of these die of frost and have since given up trying to grow this one in zone 9b... pretty marginal even in 10a in southern California, but in the rare zone 10b in So Cal, seems to do rather well. One grower has one in So Cal that is about 50' tall and perfect (zone 10a bordering on 10b, though)." (Geoff Stein)
Syagrus pseudococos is a single-stemmed, evergreen palm growing from 10 - 15 metres tall. The unbranched stem can be up to 25cm in diameter; it is swollen at the base; and topped by a crown of 18 - 20 leaves that can each be up to 2.2 metres long.
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a source of food and medicine.
Endemic to the Atlantic forest of Brazil, this palm tree is found at sea level in the south but only in the mountains at elevations up to 900 metres in the north. Stands are found on good-quality soils and also rock outcrops on steep slopes with less agricultural value.
Edible Uses: Leaves - cooked. A bitter flavour. The apical bud, often known as a 'palm heart', is eaten as a vegetable. Eating this bud leads to the death of the tree because it is unable to make side shoots.
Medicinal: The apical bud is used medicinally. The bitter-tasting bud is soaked in water and then used in the treatment or prevention of indigestion. (Medicinal Plants of Brazil. Author Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A.)
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Syagrus, and one of the prettiest brazilian palms, this species grows a tall, smooth, slender trunk and a dense crown of plumose, elegantly arching fronds, not unlike the famed foxtail palm. The large seeds look very much like miniature coconuts. Because of their distinctive construction it used to be classified as a separate genus, Barbosa. Native to the atlantic coastal forest around Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, it is well adapted to warm temperate and tropical climates. It is still extremely rare in cultivation but has enormous potential as an ornamental. (RPS.com)
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.