Attalea cohune

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Attalea (at-tahl-EH-ah)
cohune (koh-hoon'-eh)
In habitat, Mexico. Photo by Bob Lauri
Scientific Classification
Genus: Attalea (at-tahl-EH-ah)
cohune (koh-hoon'-eh)
Old names; Orbignya cohune, Orbignya dammeriana, Orbignya guacuyule, Cocos guacuyule, Cocos cocoyule.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Cohune Palm, manaca palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Attalea cohune is found in Belize, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico Southeast, and Nicaragua.
Jan 2003.
The Cohune palm occurs naturally in Central American tropical rainforests.


Height: Up to 25 m (80 ft). Spread: Up to 12 m (40 ft) Growth Habit: Solitary, Growth Rate: Slow, Trunk Type: No Crownshaft Light Brown/Grey, Smooth With Age, Trunk Diameter: Up to 600 mm (24") Leaf Type: Pinnate Leaf Size: Up to 10 m (32 ft) Leaf Color: Dark Green, Self Cleaning: No, Inflorescence Color: Cream. Reproduction: Monoecious, Fruit Description: Up to 75 mm (3") Ovoid, Fruit Color: Yellow/Brown. Editing by edric.


The cohune palm grows best in a sheltered warm spot in a subtropical setting, or in hot and humid tropical environments. Cohune palm is a slow grower until its trunk emerges above ground, and then more rapid growth occurs. Established cohune palms are considered gross feeders and respond very well to the use of palm and nitrogenous fertilizer. The growth rate of the cohune palm can be increased significantly with regular fertilizer applications. Cohune palm is considered very disease and pest resistant. Light: The cohune palm grows well in full sun. Even small, young cohune palms can tolerate full sun. Cohune palm is considered an outdoor palm. Moisture: The cohune palm grows well in moist, sandy soils with good drainage. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 12. The cohune palm is believed to be the hardiest palm in the genus Attalea. Juvenile palms are uniquely protected from frosts, because the trunk remains underground for many years. Mature and established plants have been reported to tolerate temperatures down to 23ºF (-5 ºC), losing 10%-100% of their foliage but recovering during warmer months. Cohune palms have not recovered after being subjected to temperatures of 22 ºF (-5.6 ºC) for extended time periods. Propagation: The cohune palm propagates by seeds. Each cohune fruit may contain 1-3 seeds. Light: Full Sun, Soil: Consistently Moist, Fast Draining Soil, Watering: Frequent, Min. Temp: -5°C (23°F) Tolerances: Full Sun, Wind, High Humidity, Germination: 1-6 Months, 25-30°C (77-86°F).

PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

Native Uses: Food Source, Palm Wine, Thatching, Commercial Uses: Cultivated To Produce An Oil Lubricant, Usage: This giant palm is perfect for tropical or subtropical climates, in a large yard, Mediterranean style mansion, or along boulevards or driveways. It is very well suited for plantings on campuses, parks and public gardens. Even young trees may be planted in areas receiving full sun and cohunes are very resistant to wind damage. This palm should not be considered an understory to small structures or powerlines with low clearances. The cohune palm can grow to 90 feet tall. Features: The adult cohune palm is considered one of nature's most majestic and dramatic palms and thus is quite popular with collectors. Cohune palms make a dramatic statement in areas containing large open space. Use the giant cohune palm for that dramatic accent in a large landscape. The cohune palm is a valuable source of oil and was one of the most important trees in the Mayan culture. The seeds of the cohune palm yield cohune oil which is used extensively as a lubricant, for cooking, soap making and lamp oil. The heart of the cohune palm, located in the last four feet of the trunk before the base of the leaf stems, is considered a delicacy. The fruits of the cohune palm are made into sweet meats and are also used as livestock feed. Cohune leaves are used as thatching material for roofs. Palm wine is produced from the sap of the heart of the cohune.

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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