Bactris concinna

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Bactris (BAHK-triss)
concinna (KOHN-seen-nah)
Rio Takana, Colombia. Photo by Dr. Andrew J. Henderson, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Bactris (BAHK-triss)
concinna (KOHN-seen-nah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Bolivia: marajau. Brazil: maraja. Colombia: reed, paipigu (Puinave) .Ecuador: ansepara (Quichua), chontilla, nu-que (Siona). Peru: ñejilla. niejilla.

Habitat and Distribution

Colombia (Amazonas), Ecuador (Napo. Sucumbíos).
Yasuni National Park, Rio Tiputini, Orellana, Ecuador. Photo by Dr. William J. Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Peru (Loreto. Madre de Dios. Ucayali). Brazil (Acre, Amazonas), and Bolivia (Beni. La Paz, Pando. Santa Cruz); lowland rain forest, especially along streams and rivers and in other seasonally inundated areas, at 100-260m elevation.


Stems cespitose, forming small clumps, 1-4 m tall, 1.5-2 cm in diam., erect or often leaning, spiny on internodes. Leaves 3-10 in a crown; leaf spines scattered, black or brownish, terete, to 2 cm long, inter spersed with fewer spines to 10 cm long, dense on lateral margins of sheath and petiole, few or absent on rachis; sheath 18-50 cm long, fibrous on margins; ocrea to 15 cm long; petiole 12-74 cm long; rachis 0.9-2 m long; pinnae 16-52 per side. regularly arranged, spreading in the same plane, linear, with spinules on margins, with a metallic sheen on drying; middle pinnae 15-52 x 1-2 cm. Inflorescences interfoliar; peduncle 14-30 cm long, recurved, not spiny; prophyll 1-22 cm long; peduncular bract 20-40 cm long, moderately covered with black spines to 1.5 cm long ; rachis absent; rachillae 1-2 (-3),5-12 cm long, at anthesis glabrous; triads regularly arranged; staminate flowers 6-10 mm long. persistent; sepal lobes 2-4 mm long; petals 6-10 mm long; stamens 6-10; pistillode small or absent; pistillate flowers to 6 mm long; calyx tubular, 3-4 mm long; corolla tubular, to 5 mm long, spinulose; staminodial ring free from the corolla, to 3.5 mm long; fruits 2-3 x 1-1.5 cm. congested on rachillae, irregularly and narrowly obovoid, purple-black, tomentose, sometimes minutely spinulose; mesocarp juicy; endocarpe ellipsoid, the sterile pores displaced longitudinally, the fertile pore displaced latitudinally; endocarp fibers free, numerous, with juice sacs attached; fruiting perianth with small, lobed calyx and much longer, scarcely lobed corolla, with prominent staminodial ring. (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Bactris concinna is diagnosed by its 16-52, regularly arranged, linear pinnae per side, middle pinnae 15-52 x 1-2 cm, staminodial ring, and 2-3 cm long purple-black fruits. Synonymy was established by Henderson (1995), who recognized three varieties. These are given specific rank here, because there appear to be consistent differences among the three, and few, if any, intermediates. Henderson (1995) called the present taxon B. concinna var. inundata. The correct name, however, should have been B. concinna var. concinna. (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)/Palmweb.


Comments and Curiosities

Uses: Fruits are edible, and used as a sweet. The outer layer of the stem is used as a wading in the compression of gunpowder into muzzle loading rifles. Edible fruit; borne in cluster 25 cm long, weighing about 2.3 kg. The dark purple brown fruits of Bactris concinna, are gathered along the banks of blackwater rivers and streams as well as in swamps. Before the fruits ripen, kids sometimes gather them to eat the embryo, which is still soft when the fruits are green. The fruits occasionally turn up in regional markets and are fed to livestock. Small bows are made ​​to hunt mice. Medicinal: A decoction of adventitous roots is drunk to cure colds and bad cough.

Bactris concinna var. concinna: This medium-sized Bactris from lowland rainforests in the western Amazon basin forms large clusters of thin trunks that can reach 8 m (27 ft.) tall but usually stay smaller. Each carries a sparse crown of flat, pinnate leaves. The edible, dark purple fruits are the size of large olives and are held densely clustered on a short infructescence with few branches. They are occasionally seen in local markets. In cultivation it is best suited to the humid tropics. (

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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