Iriartea deltoidea

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Iriartea (ihr-ee-ahr-TEH-ah) deltoidea (del-toh-ee-DEH-ah)
Ecuador. Photo by: RuB (Ruddy BENEZET).
Scientific Classification
Genus: Iriartea (ihr-ee-ahr-TEH-ah)
Species: deltoidea (del-toh-ee-DEH-ah)
Deckeria corneto, Ceroxylon deltoideum, Iriartea gigantea, Iriartea megalocarpa.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Height: 98 ft/30 m
Trunk diameter: 12 in/30 cm
Sun exposure: Partial Shade.
Watering: Moist
Soil type: Well drained.
Survivability index
Common names
Huacrapona, Chonta, Maquenque, Palmito dulce, corneto in Panama.

Habitat and Distribution

This palm extends from Nicaragua to Panama, and in other places in South America
Reserva Ecológica Catarata Río Fortuna, Costa Rica. Photo by Christian Defferrard.
as Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Brazil.

Bolivia, Brazil North, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panamá, Peru, and Venezuela. Central America to Ecuador W of the Andes, and in the W part of the Amazon region from Venezuela to Bolivia. Perhaps the most common native tree species in Ecuador, occurring in all provinces that include moist lowland areas.


A slow growing palm up to 98 ft./30 m. The trunks are grey, smooth and sometimes are loaded with epiphytes (bromeliads, orchids, ferns). The infrafoliar inflorescence is yellow or cream colored and comes out from a big green spathe with horn-like structure. The fruits are globose and green colored. The black stilt roots can reach 1 meter or less.

Canopy palm. Stem to 20 m tall and 20-40 cm in diameter, often swollen in the middle. Base supported by a 1-2 m tall cone of black stilt roots, these 3-5 cm in diameter. Leaves 4-6, 3-5 m long, bushy; pinnae numerous, longitudinally split, spreading in different planes, green on both sides. Inflorescence buds 1-3 m long, downwards curved, resembling a bulls horn. Inflorescence cream coloured in flower, the numerous pendulous branches to 1.5 m long, borne on a short curved axis. Fruits dull bluish black, globose, about 3 cm in diameter. (Borchsenius, F. 1998)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Stem more or less ventricose, to 25 m tall, 10-30 cm in diam. at base, 12-70 cm in diam. at swelling, 11-23 cm in diam. at apex, gray, smooth, with nodes obscure and internodes to 30 cm long; stilt roots to 100, terete, nearly vertical, closely spaced and forming a dense cone, branched at or below ground level, to 2 m x 3.5 cm, black, with sharp spines. Leaves 4-7, stiffly spreading; sheath forming a crownshaft, 60-150 cm long, glaucous, green, outer surface with brown or white scales; petiole terete, 2-13 x 3 cm (to 40 cm long when including narrow, apical, petiolar part of sheath), green, densely brown-tomentose; rachis ridged adaxially, rounded abaxially, 2-4.3 m long, densely whitish-tomentose abaxially, densely whitish-brown-tomentose adaxially; pinnae 15-27 per side of rachis, alternate, stiff, coriaceous, deltate with praemorse distal margins, lustrous green glabrous above, green glabrous below except for dense brown villi at base and on veins or occasionally villous overall, occasionally below with lines about 3 mm wide of dense white or brown tomentum running parallel to veins, the middle pinnae split to the base


Iriartea deltoidea can tolerate close to freezing conditions. But low temperatures are best avoided. It naturally occurs in wet rainforest or seasonally wet forest in low montane locations. In this type of natural environment temperature fluctuations are slight, and this palm prefers a constantly cool or mild climate with little temperature difference between day & night, and Summer & Winter. Under extreme cold conditions we recommend you keep this palm as dry as possible, and well wrapped up. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

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, 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).

Borchsenius, F.1998. Manual to the palms of Ecuador. AAU Reports 37. Department of Systematic Botany, University of Aarhus, Denmark in collaboration with Pontificia Universidad Catalica del Ecuador.

Henderson, A. 1990. Introduction and the Iriarteinae.

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

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