Bactris acanthocarpa

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Bactris (BAHK-triss)
Brazil: Mato Grosso. Bactris acanthocarpa var. exscapa. Photo by Dr. W. Milliken, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Bactris (BAHK-triss)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Marajazeiro, Espinho De Curupira (Brazil), Kumapiza (Colombia), Nejilla (Peru).

Habitat and Distribution

Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil Southeast, Northern South America, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Western South America, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Tropical Dry Forest.
Brazil. Bactris acanthocarpa.
Widespread in the Amazon region and Atlantic coastal forest, in lowland rain forest on terra firme, usually below 300 m elevation but occasionally to 1000 m.


Stems solitary or less often cespitose and then with 2-5 or more stems per clump, 0.1- 1.5 m tall (rarely taller on old plants), 3-6 cm in diam., sometimes procumbent, seldom spiny on internodes, usually covered with persistent, decaying leaf bases. Leaves 5-15 in the ceown; leaf spines mostly solitary and scattered, black, sometimes somewhat flattened, to 8 (- 15) cm long, on sheath and lateral surfaces of petiole, denser on proximal part of petiole, usually absent from rachis; sheath 10-50 cm long; ocrea to 10 cm long; petiole 0.4-1.7 m long; petiole and rachis reddish brown-tomentose abaxially; rachis 0.6-3.1 m long; pinnae (3-) 12-33 per side, irregularly arranged in clusters of 2-4, spreading inslightly different planes, linear-lanceolate or sigmoid, long-acuminate, usually with prominent cross-veins; middle pinnae 20-60 x 3-10 cm; apical pinna usually wider than others. Inflorescences interfoliar, often hidden among persistent leaf bases and debris; peduncle 10-20 cm long, straight or slightly curved, usually not spinulose, sometimes scarcely to densely spinulose; prophyll 6-14 cm long; peduncular bract 20-40 cm long, moderately to densely covered with black spines to 1 cm long, sometimes more or less glabrous, persistent over infructescence and rotting at base as fruits develop; rachis 2-5 cm long; rachillae 10-46, 4-12 cm long, filamentous, at anthesis covered with brown, moniliform trichomes; triads more or less regularly arranged (but often with solitary staminate flowers interspersed) on proximal about half or more of rachillae, and there tending to be absent from adaxial side of rachillae (paired or solitary staminate flowers only on distal about half of rachillae); staminate flowers to 3 mm long, deciduous; sepal lobes 0.5-1 mm long; petals 2.5-3 mm long; stamens 6; pistillode absent; pistillate flowers 2-3 mrn long; calyx urceolate, 1-3 mm long, glabrous or with small,brown scales; corolla urceolate, 2-4 mm long, glabrous, or with a few small, brown scales, or occasionally with spinules, glabrescent; staminodes absent; fruits 1-2.3 cm diam., broadly obovoid, shortly rostrate, orange or red, with deciduous, flexuous spinules; mesocarp starchy; endocarp obovoid, the sterile pores slightly displaced longitudinally; endocarp fibers few or absent; fruiting perianth with short, 3-lobed, glabrous calyx and longer, 3-lobed, glabrous corolla,without staminodial ring. . (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Warm, sheltered and moist. 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., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000

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

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