Attalea phalerata

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Attalea (at-tahl-EH-ah)
phalerata (fall-ehr-AH-tah)
Attalea phalerata01.jpg
Scientific Classification
Genus: Attalea (at-tahl-EH-ah)
phalerata (fall-ehr-AH-tah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Scheelea Palm, Urucuri palm, Shapaja palm, Motacu, Bacuri.

Habitat and Distribution

Attalea phalerata is found in Bolivia, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil
Fairchild Botanicl Garden, Miami, FL. Photo by Kyle Wicomb
Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Colombia, and Peru.


A lovely Attalea from Brazil, Peru and Paraguay that was formerly included in the genus Scheelea. It has up to 30 huge leaves with a full and plumose appearance, held erect in a shuttlecock-like crown. Its stout trunk is rarely taller than 4m (13ft) and often covered with old leaf bases. The bright yellow fruits are up to 11cm (4.5") long. In the wild it grows in both savannah and forest. (

Solitary, feather-leafed palm. Trunk to 3+ feet thick and sometimes plumose leaves a medium green. Overall height to 35 feet with up to 30 foot spread.


An attractive palm for parks and large gardens, suitable for both tropical and subtropical regions. Grows well in alkaline to slightly acidic soils. Growth rate medium. Tolerates an occasional short cold snap to very high 20s.

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Comments and Curiosities

Uses: It's leaves are used for roofing, the trunks for poles, to build rustic houses in the country. the immature endosperm, young leaves, and fruits are edible (the fibrous seed coating is chewed and sucked when ripe), The oily seeds (kernels) are a popular treat. The fruit, and oil from the seeds are used in lamps for lighting, medicinal purposes: adventitious roots as vermifuge, the oil for muscular sickness, roots are used for the reproductive system and sexual health, seeds for infections and infestations, metabolic system and nutrition, and the respiratory system, and the root and seed is used to treat the digestive system. The oils are also used in the manufacture of cosmetics, and to fry food. Lye. The fruits are often scattered on the ground or buried in order to breed larvae (“suri”) in them for eating or use as fish bait.

"A stout, solitary palm whose trunk rarely gets taller than 4m and which is often covered with old leaf bases. It has a plumose head of up to 30 large leaves that are held erect in a shuttlecock-like crown. It has large bunches of bright yellow, oily fruits that are up to 11cm long." (palmtodd)

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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