Butia eriospatha

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Butia (boo-TEE-ah)
eriospatha (er-ee-oh-SPAH-thah)
Cleared habitat. Photo by Nigel Kembrey
Scientific Classification
Genus: Butia (boo-TEE-ah)
eriospatha (er-ee-oh-SPAH-thah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Butia, macuma, Butiá-da-serra.

Habitat and Distribution

Butia eriospatha is found in Argentina Northeast, and Brazil South in the states of
Cleared habitat. Photo by Nigel Kembrey
Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, in woodlands and campos. Occurs at elevations, of up to 1200m. Native to, Rio Grand do Sul, Santa Caterina and Parana, Brazil. (S.F. Glassman. 1979)/Palmweb.


Trunk type: Solitary, the trunk can grow to 20 feet, but normally reaches 12-15 ft (3.7-4.6 m) with a diameter of 1-1.5 ft (0.3-0.5 m). Leaf detail: Recurving, green leaves, typical of Butia's. The leaf stems range from about 2-4 ft (0.6-1.2 m), and the petiole is armed, leaf base remains on base, for a very long time, which is typical of Butia's. Flower: Both flower, and fruit, range in colors from yellow to red, spathe has brown tomentum, fruit is round, and edible. Temps. in habitat, often get below freezing.

Palm 3-6 m tall, 45-50 cm in diam.; sheathing leaf base partially covered with a dense brownish tomentum, petiole 90-100 cm long, margins of petiole armed with short teeth or spines 1-3 cm long; rachis of leaf 2.0-2.5 m long; pinnae 50-55 on each side, regularly arranged, middle ones 70-80 cm long, 2.0-2.3 cm wide, with acute asymmet_ rical tips; expanded part of spathe 120-135 cm long, 14-16 cm wide, smooth or striate, covered with a dense brownish tomentum; branched part of spadix 90-100 cm long, rachillae numerous, each 35--42 cm long; pistillate flowers rounded, 3-5 mm long, 3.5-5 mm in diam.; staminate flowers 6-8 mm long below, those above 4-5 mm long; fruit mostly globose, 1.8-2.0 cm long, 1.42.2 cm in diam., with short beak, persistent perianth 0.2-0.4 cm high, locules 1-3, seed globose, 1.4-1.6 cm in diam. or oblong, 1.5 cm long, 1 cm in diam. (S.F. Glassman. 1979)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

This taxon has a more restricted geographical range than Butia capitata, but can be readily differentiated from it by the densely tomentose rather than the more or less glabrous spathes. (S.F. Glassman. 1979)/Palmweb.


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Comments and Curiosities

The fastest growing and hardiest Butia, next to odorata, this palm is native to areas of Southern Brazil at elevations of 1000 m above sea level where it is much colder and wetter in winter than the rest of Brazil, and even in summer temperatures can often be similar to those seen in Northern Europe. It is very frost resistant, and established good sized plants have been known to survive -12C, or even to recover from lower temperatures when damaged, although protection during such spells of cold is highly recommended. The tree is named because of the brown fuzzy tomentum covering the flower spathe. Trees can reach 6m high in the wild, and almost certainly more in cultivation. The tree can be found growing both in the wild and in cultivation throughout all of the mountainous area of South Brazil where it is cultivated for its sweet and delicious fruits. (butia.nl)

1. Female flowers with up to 9 mm long, cored fruit or slightly rounded oval, Bract stalk covered with dense tomentum lanuginous brown coloration ............ Butia eriospatha. (K. Soares & S. Longhi) (From the portuguese)

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).

Glassman, S.F.1979. Re-evaluation of the Genus Butia With a Description of a New Species. Principes 23: 65-79.

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

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