Bactris caudata

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Bactris (BAHK-triss)
caudata (kaw-DAH-tah)
Bactris caudata 2010 1 copy.jpg
Scientific Classification
Genus: Bactris (BAHK-triss)
caudata (kaw-DAH-tah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary, often caespitose.
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Bactris caudata
Costa Rica. Photo by: O. Vargas.
is found in Nicaragua (Río San Juan, Zelaya), Costa Rica (Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia), and Panama (Bocas del Toro); lowland rain forest at 5-700 m elevation. Bactris caudata is a rare species found in the understory in forests of the Pacific, at an altitude of 0-800 meters. Flowering occurs in February. (Henderson, A.J. 2000)/Palmweb.


Its stems are solitary often caespitose, reaching 1-5 m tall and 2-2.4 cm in diameter. Leaves 5-8 per crown; pinnae 19-26 on each side, linear to ovate, irregularly arranged in fascicles and patents in different planes, half (21 -) 40-50 cm long and 2.5-5 cm wide, with spinules 0.1 -0.3 cm long at the margins, rachis up to 100 cm long sheath, petiole and rachis with a few spines up to 8 cm long, black. Peduncular bract inflorescence with sparse to densely covered with spines up to 1 cm long, black, rachillas 18-31, triads scattered among the flowers staminate in pairs or solitary. Fruits obovoid, 0.9-1.3 cm long and 1.1-1.2 cm in diameter, red-anaranjados. (From the Spanish), Editing by edric.

Understory to medium size, clonal or solitary, pinnate leaves with sparselty distributed leaflets, tapered tips of leaflets droop, some spines on petiole, fruits orange and tightly clustered, uncommon. Bactris caudata has pinnate leaves with sparsely distributed leaflets that droop at their tips.

Bactris caudata is diagnosed by its glaucous, linear to ovate, concave pinnae with spinules 1-3 mm long on the margins, 1.5-2 cm long inflorescence rachis, 5-10 cm long rachillae, and orange fruits without endocarp fibers. Synonymy was established by de Nevers et al. (1996). A few specimens, (Costa Rica. Heredia: Finca La Selva, RIO Puerto Viejo just E of its jct. with Rio Sarapiquí, ca.100 m, 30 Aug 1980, Hammel 9632 (DUKE); 29 June 1995, Mowbray & Wilbur 1583 (DUKE); 15 Jul 1995, Mowbray & Wilbur 1702 (DUKE); Zona Protectora, between Rio Guacimo and Rio Peje, about 250-400 m, 23 Jul 1984, Jacobs & Grayum 2959 (DUKE) resemble Bactris caudata but have larger fruits (1.5-2 cm diameter) and these have endocarp fibers with juice sacs attached. These specimens have been annotated as hybrids between B. caudata and B. coloradonis. (Henderson, A.J. 2000)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a.

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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