Bactris grayumii

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Bactris (BAHK-triss)
grayumii (grah-YOOM-ee)
Habitat. Photo by Rolf Kyburz.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Bactris (BAHK-triss)
grayumii (grah-YOOM-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering, rarely solitary.
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Bactris grayumii is found in Nicaragua (Chontales, Zelaya) and Costa Rica (Limón).
Lowland rain forest at 1-280 m elevation. Rainforest in Nicaragua, Eastern Honduras - Cost Rica, Caribbean coastal.


An attractive, small, spiny palm with either sparsely pinnate or undivided leaves. Similar to Bactris militaris, but has smaller leaves, and purportedly, there is a solitary trunk form.

Stems solitary? Or clustering, caespitose (growing in tufts or clumps), 1.5-3.5 m tall, 2.2-3 cm in diam., usually spiny on internodes. Leaves 4-9 per crown; leaf spines scattered, black, terete, to 6 cm long, few on sheath, petiole, and abaxial surface of rachis; sheath 20-29 cm long; ocrea not seen; petiole 40-45 cm long; rachis 29-70 cm long; blade usually simple and deeply bifid, concave, thick and leathery, strongly plicate, with prominent veins adaxially, occasionally irregularly pinnate; blade to 1 m long, 36-38 cm wide at apex of rachis, when regular pinnate the pinnae 55-90 x 2.5-10 cm (the apical one much wider). Inflorescences interfoliar; peduncle 10-11 cm long, strongly recurved, glabrous or spiny; prophyll 11-12 cm long; peduncular bract 23-27 cm long, sparsely covered with short black spines to 0.5 cm long, occasionally almost glabrous; rachis 1.8-3 cm long; rachillae 18-25, 5-6 cm long; triads irregularly arranged among paired or solitary staminate flowers; staminate flowers not seen; pistillate flowers to 3.5 mm long; calyx annular, to 1 mm long; corolla urceolate, to 3 mm long; staminodes absent; fruits 1.1-1.3 x 0.9-1.1 cm, obovoid, bluntly rostrate, orange; mesocarp mealy; endocarp turbinate, the sterile pores displaced longitudinally; endocarp fibers few, free, terete; fruiting perianth with a minutely 3-lobed calyx and truncate corolla, without staminodial ring. (Henderson, A.J. 2000)/Palmweb.

Bactris grayumii is diagnosed by its leathery pinnae, with prominent veins adaxially, and ovoid, orange fruits. It is a member of a group of species confined to Central America and the Pacific coast of Colombia and Ecuador. It may occur sympatrically with Bactris neomilitaris, which it resembles in its usually simple leaves, but these are ovate, shorter and wider, and do not have parallel margins. Bactris grayumii is also distinguished by its recurved inflorescences. The fruits of B. grayumii resemble those of B. mexicana, and the inflorescences those of B. caudata. (Henderson, A.J. 2000)/Palmweb.


Warm, sheltered and moist. Rarely seen in cultivation. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b.

Comments and Curiosities

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).

Henderson, A.J.2000. Bactris (Palmae). New York Botanical Garden.

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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