Geonoma interrupta

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Geonoma (geo-NO-mah)
interrupta (in-toor-RUHP-tah)
Geogeonoma interrupta inflorescence img 2715.jpg
Mount Pelée, Martinique., edric.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Geonoma (geo-NO-mah)
interrupta (in-toor-RUHP-tah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Entire
Height: 7m
Trunk diameter: 12cm
Sun exposure: Shade
Survivability index
Common names
Súrtuba, Koko makak, Aile à ravet. Chontilla, Cortadera, Surtuba, Chocho Blanco.

Habitat and Distribution

Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras,
Alexander's farm, Costa Rica. Photo by Jeff Anderson.
Mexico Gulf, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Nicaragua, Panamá, Peru, and Venezuela.


Understory palm 3.7 (1.0-8.0) m tall; stems 3.2 (0.3-8.0) m tall, 3.7 (2.6-5.0) cm in diameter, solitary, not clustering or cane-like; internodes 1.5 (0.8-2.8) cm long, yellowish and smooth. Leaves 13 (8-24) per stem, irregularly pinnate, not plicate, bases of blades running diagonally into the rachis; sheaths 28.7 (15.0-60.5) cm long; petioles 63.4(9.0-110.0) cm long, drying green or yellowish; rachis 129.6 (55.0-200.0) cm long, 8.7 (3.8-16.0) mm in diameter; veins raised and rectangular in cross-section adaxially; pinnae 18 (4-47) per side of rachis; basal pinna 47.4 (23.5-75.5) cm long, 5.7 (0.2-27.0) cm wide, forming an angle of 43 (24-60)° with the rachis; apical pinna 40.3 (23.0-65.5) cm long, 20.3 (0.4-39.0) cm wide, forming an angle of 29 (14-40)° with the rachis. Inflorescences branched 2-4 orders; prophylls and peduncular bracts not ribbed with elongate, unbranched fibers, flattened, deciduous or persistent; prophylls 20.1 (11.5-40.0) cm long, not short and asymmetrically apiculate, the surfaces ridged and densely tomentose with widely to closely spaced ridges, the ridges unequally wide, often dividing from and rejoining other ridges, the prophyll margins with irregular, spine-like projections, the prophylls usually splitting irregularly between the ridges; peduncular bracts 17.8 (10.5-25.5) cm long, well-developed, inserted 4.1 (1.0-8.0) cm above the prophyll; peduncle 22.7 (7.0-34.0) cm long, 13.6 (2.5-20.1) mm in diameter; rachillae 71 (22-120), 19.1 (9.2-29.7) cm long, 2.3 (1.3-3.4) mm in diameter, the surfaces without spiky, fibrous projections or ridges, drying brown, with faint to pronounced, short, transverse ridges, not filiform and not narrowed between the flower pits; flower pits spirally arranged, densely hairy internally distally only (rarely some hairs on lateral) margins of the pits; proximal lips without a central notch before anthesis, not recurved after anthesis, hood-shaped at anthesis, sometimes splitting post-anthesis; proximal and distal lips drying the same color as the rachillae, not joined to form a raised cupule, the proximal lip margins overlapping the distal lip margins; distal lips absent; staminate and pistillate petals not emergent, not valvate throughout; staminate flowers deciduous after anthesis; stamens 6; thecae diverging at anthesis, inserted almost directly onto the filament apices, the connectives bifid but scarcely developed; anthers short and curled over at anthesis; non-fertilized pistillate flowers persistent or deciduous after anthesis; staminodial tubes crenulate or shallowly lobed at the apex; staminodial tubes of nonfertilized pistillate flowers not projecting and persistent after anthesis; fruits 5.8 (4.4-7.5) mm long, 4.6 (3.6-6.3) mm in diameter, the bases without a prominent stipe, the apices not conical, the surfaces not splitting at maturity, without fibers emerging, bumpy from the numerous, subepidermal, tangential, short fibers present, these coming to a point at fruit apices; locular epidermis without operculum, sculpted, usually also with a raised, meridional ridge, without pores. (Henderson, A.J. 2011)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Easy germination and rapid growth. Magnificent as greenhouse potted specimen, or the tropical garden or shady subtropical, humid and warm, which grows beneath palms and other large trees.

"One of the most widespread of the genus, having solitary (usually) or clustering stems, and partially, irregularly split pinnate leaves. Also one of the largest Geonomas, up to 30' tall. Geonomas, in general, are touchy palms and like it just right... not too hot or too cold, and can be very difficult to grow in climates with extremes. This species will NOT grow in southern California outside of a greenhouse. Not one of the best looking species in my opinion. All over central and South America." (Geoff Stein).

Comments and Curiosities

May divide above soil elevation (aerial branching).

Uses: The Quichua of Ecuador make a beverage from the seeds, the Quichua, Huaorani, Shuar, Siona, Achuar and Huaorani of Ecuador, use it for thatch, as well as the Tacana of Bolivia, most of them use it for utensils & tools also. (Henderson, A.J. 2011)/Palmweb.

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. 2011. A revision of Geonoma. Magnolia Press.

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

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