Colpothrinax cookii

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Colpothrinax (kol-poh-TRIH-naks)
cookii (cook'-ee)
Scientific Classification
Genus: Colpothrinax (kol-poh-TRIH-naks)
cookii (cook'-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Guanu (Belize); xan ("Kekchi", Guatemala), shan (Guatemala); suyate, suyate colorado, caral, guano (Honduras).

Habitat and Distribution

Colpothrinax cookii is found in Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, 700-1,200
Ho'omaluhia, Hawaii.
(-1,600) m; typically in premontane, sometimes lower montane, wet forests on the Caribbean slope. Colpothrinax cookii, is restricted to the upper slopes and crests, of ridges of premontane wet forests, above 700 m elevation and, like C. aphanopetala, often occurs in association with Euterpe precatoria. Both staminate and pistillate anthesis in the strong-smelling, creamy yellow flowers of C. cookii, appear to occur while the reproductive parts, are still enclosed within the unopened corollas, suggesting beetle pollination. (R.J. Evans. 2001)/Palmweb.


Trunk (5+) 10-20 m tall, erect, 15-25 cm diam. breast high, columnar, usually in the open, sometimes, in closed forest, upper portion partially or completely enclosed in a mat of persistent leaf sheath fibers; trunks of juveniles less than about 6-8 m tall usually completely enclosed in this mat; when present, usually 20-30 cm thick. Leaves I5-30 per crown; petiole (1+) 1.5-2.5 (-3) m long, 2.3-3.4 cm wide at attachment to blade; sheath tomentose, the trichomes of two intermixed types: .1 soft, stellate trichomes, about 0.5 mm long, basally ferruginous, with free, white distal ends and .2 coarser, longer, wavy, twisted, compressed trichomes, these larger trichomes sparsest, shortest (about 1.5 mm long), and lightest in color (± tannish) on the basal portion of the sheath, becoming progressively denser, longer (to 9 mm long), and darker (rufous) distally; sheath disintegrating and fraying into fine, loosely woven, pendulous, filiform, typically ± terete fibers, 0.3-0.5 mm in diam.; hastula appressed to or slightly elevated above the blade, 2.3-3.4 x 2.4-3.9 cm, 0.7-1.4 times as wide as long, broadly to very broadly triangular, usually cuspidate apically; costa 16.5-38.5 cm long; blade 131-170 cm long centrally, 62-136 cm long laterally, divided into single-fold segments,


Shaded, moist, but well drained position. Quite slow growing.

Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: Named Colpothrinax cookii in honor of Orator Fuller Cook, who, along with R. F. Griggs, first collected this species, and also first recognized that it represented a new taxon.

Uses: The leaves of C. cookii, are sometimes used for thatching, and for making brooms. Local people in Honduras and Belize, have admitted to setting fire, to the mat of highly flammable leaf-sheath fibers, enclosing the trunks of some individuals, merely for the pyrotechnic display.

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).

Evans, R.J.2001. Monograph of Colpothrinax. Palms 45(4): 177-195.

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

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