Manicaria saccifera

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Manicaria (mahn-ih-kah-REE-ah}
saccifera (sahk-sih-FEHR-ah)
Manicaria saccifera2.jpg
SURINAME: Groningen. 1979. Photo-L.H. Bailey Hortorium.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Manicaria (mahn-ih-kah-REE-ah}
saccifera (sahk-sih-FEHR-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Entire
Height: 33 ft/10 m
Trunk diameter: 15-20 cm
Watering: Very moist.
Survivability index
Common names
comfre, confra (Guat.) Yolillo palm, Troolie Palm, Bussu Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Belize, Brazil North, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala,
Hawaii. Bill Austin's place. Paul giving scale. Photo by Paul Latzias.
Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad-Tobago, and Venezuela. As the genus. Recorded only once in Ecuador, near the confluence of Rio Santiago and Rio Cayapas in the NW part of the country. (Borchsenius, F. 1998)/Palmweb.

It occurs naturally in the Atlantic regions of Central America. Also it grows in some parts of South America. Usually grows in low land places near water, but also in inundated places inland. In Costa Rica it is easily seen along the Tortuguero canals in Limón.


Subcanopy palm. Stem solitary, to 10 m tall, 15-35 cm in diameter. Leaves 3-6 m long. Inflorescence borne among the leaves, to 60 cm long. Fruits 35 cm in diameter. (Borchsenius, F. 1998)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

A very atractive palm in cultivation, and gets up to 33 ft/10 meters. It has enormous entire leaves (up to 20 ft/6 meters) and the inflorescence can reach 3.2 ft/1 meter long. The fruits can contain from 1 to 3 seeds; they have a rough surface full of tubercles. The seeds can float in the water for a long time until they reach an appropriate place to germinate. The endosperm is homogeneous.

Trunk solitary, up to 10 m. tall, about 35 cm. in diameter, in the upper part covered with dead leaf-bases, at base with prominent leaf-scars. About 10 contemporaneous suberect leaves; dead leaves persistent for some time and hanging down on the trunk; sheath with fibrous ventral part enclosing young leaves about 7 m. long; petiole stout, about 12 cm. long and 8 cm. in diameter, grooved, leaf-blades very large, Leaf rachis length (330–)470–740(–800) cm., simple or irregularly pinnatisect through the action of the wind, also in leaves of juvenile plants, 2 m. long and 23 cm. wide, bifid at apex, margin serrate; about 120 primary veins, 3-4 cm. distant at the middle of the blade, secondary veins inconspicuous; petiole, costa, and the lower surface of the blade at first more or less brown-tomentose, soon glabrescent. Spadices almost erect, about 17 cm. long, with 2 spathes; outer spathe about 7 cm, long, flattened, invisible between leaf -sheaths, inner spathe about 11 cm. long, fusiform, mueronate, consisting of densely interwoven fibers without any suture, enclosing the inflorescence completely till long after anthesis; peduncle about 10 cm. long, rachis about 6 cm. long with up to 45 simple rachillas or rarely a few rachillas bifurcate, several large bracts along the peduncle within the inner spathe, smaller bracts at the base of the rachillas. Male flowers densely crowded in the upper part of the rachillas (and 2 laterally adjacent to each female flower), sunken in small pits and subtended by bracts 7 12 mm. long; sepals ovate, imbricate, 3-4 mm. long, petals lanceolate, valvate, ligneous-incrassate, 6-7 mm. long; stamens many (20-34), densely congested, filaments about l1 mm. long, anthers 3 mm. long, the central ones usually misshapen. Female flowers few, near the base of the rachillas between 2 male flowers, subtended by bracts; sepals ovate, imbricate, 7 mm. long, 8 mm. wide, petals ovate, valvate, acute at apex, ligneous-incrassate, 10 mm. long, 6 mm. wide; pistil globose, -1 mm. in diameter, stigma 3-fid, sessile, erect, 3-4 mm. long, strongly papillose. Fruit depressed-globose, 3-seeded or bv abortion 1- or 2 -seeded; exocarp corky, angulate-eehinate, tubercles rather hard and not easily nibbed off; seed globose, about 4 cm. in diameter; embryo basal. (Wessels Boer 1965a: 21) Editing by edric.


These palms tend to grow in swampy areas. Warm, sheltered and moist. Very cold sensitive. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b

Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: Genus name from the Latin for 'with a sleeve' referring to the tough fibrous primary bracts of the inflorescence. The specific epithet from the Latin for 'sack bearing' referring to the peduncular bract being sack-like.

Manicaria saccifera which has leaves with a length of 10 m, considered the largest of all vegetables.

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.

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

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