Geonoma macrostachys

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Geonoma (geo-NO-mah)
Geonoma macrostachys var. macrostachys; large specimen, Yasuni National Park, Orellana, Ecuador. Photo by Dr. William J. Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Geonoma (geo-NO-mah)
Geonoma atrovirens, also Geonoma sp. chocolata was considered a var.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary & clustering.
Leaf type: Undivided & irregularly pinnate.
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Brazil North, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.
Geonoma macrostachys var. macrostachys; large specimen, Yasuni National Park, 50ha plot, Orellana, Ecuador. Photo by Dr. William J. Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
From 2°45'N-17°50'S and 55°00-78°30'W in the western Amazon region in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil at 443 (75-1800) m elevation in lowland or montane rainforest.


Small palm 1.3 (0.3-3.5) m tall; stems 0.3 (0.1-1.0) m tall, 1.9 (1.1-2.8) cm in diameter, solitary or clustering, not cane-like; internodes 0.2 (0.1-0.4) cm long, not scaly. Leaves 9 (3-15) per stem, undivided or irregularly pinnate, not plicate, bases of blades running diagonally into the rachis; sheaths 13.2(2.3-28.0) cm long; petioles 35.5(0.0-137.5) cm long, drying green or yellowish; rachis 46.1(9.3-193.0) cm long, 3.7(1.3-9.8) mm in diameter; veins raised and rectangular in cross-section adaxially or not raised or slightly raised and triangular in cross-section adaxially; pinnae 3(1-16) per side of rachis; basal pinna 24.5 (11.0-70.0) cm long, 4.4 (0.3-32.0) cm wide, forming an angle of 39 (3-100)° with the rachis; apical pinna 20.8 (7.2-44.5) cm long, 8.8 (1.4-28.0) cm wide, forming an angle of 31 (8-77)° with the rachis. Inflorescences unbranched; prophylls and peduncular bracts ribbed with elongate, unbranched fibers, both bracts tubular, narrow, elongate, closely sheathing the peduncle, more or less persistent; prophylls 13.0 (5.0-33.0) cm long, not short and asymmetrically apiculate, the surfaces not ridged, without unequally wide ridges; peduncular bracts 23.2 (10.7-34.5) cm long, well-developed, inserted 1.1 (0.1-22.6) cm above the prophyll; peduncles 59.2 (19.2-128.5) cm long, 2.9 (0.7-6.8) mm in diameter; rachillae 1, 14.1 (4.2-31.0) cm long, 5.87 (1.7-12.3) mm in diameter, the surfaces without spiky, fibrous projections or ridges, drying brown or yellow-brown, without short, transverse ridges, not filiform and not narrowed between the flower pits; flower pits spirally arranged, glabrous internally; proximal lips with a central notch before anthesis, often the two sides of the notch overlapping, not recurved after anthesis, not hood-shaped; 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 lipmargins; distal lips well-developed; staminate and pistillate petals emergent, valvate throughout or not emergent, not valvate throughout; staminate flowers deciduous after anthesis; stamens 6; thecae diverging or not diverging at anthesis, inserted onto poorly to well-developed, non-split, jointed connectives, connectives when well-developed alternately long and short; anthers short at anthesis, remaining straight and parallel; non-fertilized pistillate flowers deciduous after anthesis; staminodial tubes lobed at the apex, the lobes spreading at anthesis, acuminate, those of non-fertilized pistillate flowers not projecting and persistent after anthesis; fruits 8.9 (6.2-13.7) mm long, 6.5 (4.7-9.8) 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 with operculum, smooth or sculpted and then usually also with a raised, meridional ridge, without pores. Editing by edric. (Henderson, A.J. 2011)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


They grow like weeds along with Geonoma deversa in the cloudforest of the Andes, at lower elevations. Cool and wet all year.

Comments and Curiosities

Uses: Leaves used for thatch, Utensils and Tools. Edible fruits. The leaves are used to construct the roofs of traditional houses. According to indigenous palm is stronger and can last seven to ten years. Their preparation and construction is laborious. The Indigenous use the Leaves to cover freshly hunted meat. The palm heart is used to kill witches: to make the poison, the palm heart is boiled along with other plants and hair and nails from the person killed by the witch. (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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