Butia capitata (True)

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Butia (boo-TEE-ah)
capitata (True) (kahp-ee-TAH-tah)
The only real Butia capitata grows wild in the states of Bahia and Minas Gerais, thousands of kilometers from the Butia odorata and B.catarinensis (in South Brazil). Tobias Spanner of Rare Palm Seeds.com for scale. Cadeia do Espinhaço. Photo by Nigel Kembrey, edric.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Butia (boo-TEE-ah)
capitata (True) (kahp-ee-TAH-tah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Butia capitata (True) is found in Bahia, Goias, and Minas Gerais.

The only real Butia capitata grows wild in the states of Bahia and Minas Gerais, thousands of kilometers from the Butia odorata and B.catarinensis (in South Brazil). Cadeia do Espinhaço. Photo by Nigel Kembrey, edric.

Butia capitata was growing both in Minas gerais, and over 1000 km to the south in Rio Grande do Sul and Uruguay. These populations were very different. To further complicate , what was butia odorata was never officially given species status , it was listed as Butia capitata var odorata which grew along the litoral from Snata catarina down to uruguay. This was even further complicated by the fact that the odorata in uruguay was much different to the small odorata in Santa catarina. (Nigel Kembrey)


Noblick and Lorenzi have reviewed those populations. The original Butia capitata was the one growing in Minas gerais so this remains capitata. The original name Butia odorata was given to the coastal Butias in uruguay, so these BIG butias with big round seeds and fruits retained the name odorata. These were the capitata most commonly cultivated, round seeds and grey leaves. This left the Butias of the coastline of Santa catarina and north Rio grande do Sul, which formerly known as odorata are now officially catarinensis, a new species. Elongated seeds and small trunks.

Therefore if you have a Butia `capitata` with round seeds its an odorata now. If you have a `capitata` with elongated seeds it could be a catarinensis or a real capitata.

Butia paraguayensis was a name given to a hotchpotch of vastly different Butias growing in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and paraguay. Lorenzi and Noblick were also reviewing this species, and this is even more complicated..... (Nigel Kembrey)

See external links Palmtalk for full story, edric.

Butia capitata of Minas gerais

Solitary; max 4-5m of height. Trunk occasionally subteranean. Diameter; 20-30cm. Leaves pinnate and arched, 11-20 leaves of 80 to 170 cm length in the crown, 49-53 leaflets each side arranged in a V. Peduncular bract 50-100 cm long and glaucous. Flower rachis of 33 -55cm length with 100 flowering branches of 8-30 cm length. Fruits oblong, yellow, with dense pulpous fibre ,seed with 1 -3 compartments. Palmeiras do Brasil (Lorenzi/Noblick) Editing by edric.


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 Palmweb.org, 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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