Astrocaryum standleyanum

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Astrocaryum (ahs-tro-kahr-EE-uhm)
standleyanum (stand-lee-AHN-uhm)
Colombia. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Astrocaryum (ahs-tro-kahr-EE-uhm)
standleyanum (stand-lee-AHN-uhm)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Mocora Palm, Chunga, Palma Negra, Panama Star-Nut Palm, Panama Black Oil Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panamá.
Central America to Ecuador W of the Andes, to 900 m elevation, but usually at lower altitudes, in non-inundated areas. Distribution in Ecuador. Common in somewhat seasonal, tropical moist forest in W Ecuador. (Borchsenius, F. 1998)/Palmweb.


Habit: solitary, petiole armed. In Ecuador fruits are consumed locally and fibers from young leaves are used commercially for hats, hammocks, mats and furniture. Harvest, manufacture and trade are centered around Calceta in the province of Manabi. Leaves are harvested in a non-destructive way, using chisels mounted on long bamboo poles. This harvest technique may replace present destructive harvest of leaves from other palm species.the fibers are braided into bands, from which hats, mats and furniture are made. Astrocaryum standleyanum is commonly maintained as a shade tree in agroforestry systems. Spontaneous regeneration occurs in these systems, but actual cultivation is near absent.

Subcanopy palm. Stem solitary, to 15 m tall and 30 cm in diameter, armed with long black spines, often with one or more dead leaves hanging from the crown. Leaves forming a funnel or umbrella shaped crown, erect and arching, to 5 m long; pinnae ca. 100 on each side, arranged in groups of 2-5 and spreading in different planes, the central ones to 110 cm long and 3.5 cm wide. Inflorescences erect to arching, cream coloured, to 150 cm long; branches to 200, each with 3-5 female flowers on the basal part. Male flowers ca. 4 mm long. Female flowers 6-8 mm long including stigmas. Fruits obovoid, greyish green, turning orange at maturity, 5-6 cm long. (Borchsenius, F. 1998)/Palmweb.


Comments and Curiosities

Believed to have originated in the Honduras.

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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