Itaya amicorum

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Itaya (ih-TAH-yah)
amicorum (ahm-ih-KOR-uhm)
4342787145 2ef4649786 b.jpg
Botanic Gardens, Townsville, Queensland, Australia.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Itaya (ih-TAH-yah)
amicorum (ahm-ih-KOR-uhm)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Palmate
Survivability index
Common names
Xila, Miraña.

Habitat and Distribution

Brazil North, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
South Florida. Conservatory of Dr. Jeff Block, Ron Kiefert giving scale. Photo by Ryan Gallivan, of Searle brothers Nursery, FL.



Comments and Curiosities

This is a monotypic genus.

Etymology: The genus name, Named after a Peruvian river where the palm was discovered. The specific epithet, is from the Latin, and means 'of friends' referring to the the spirit of the program under which it was discovered by Harold E. Moore and his associates in Peru.

Uses: Construction - The leaves are used in construction of roofs for dwellings. Tools and utensils. Hats are made from the leaves. After burning the trunk, cooking salt and filtering plant extract, used for the preparation of ambil (snuff concentrated paste).

Native to lowland rainforest in the western Amazon basin in Colombia, Peru and Brazil, this extraordinary palm sports a slender, solitary trunk that can grow to about 3 m (10 ft.) tall and holds a broad crown of very large, remarkable leaves, to 2 m (7 ft.) in diameter, that are silvery white below and divided into only 10 to 16 very broad segments. It is closely related to Chelyocarpus, with which it shares some botanically rather unspecialized features. It is best suited for the tropical garden, where it demands a sheltered spot, well protected from stronger winds. In cultivation it is rather rarely seen. (

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos, edric.

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos, edric.

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).

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

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