Oenocarpus Mart., Hist. Nat. Palm. 2: 21 (1823)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted_sites/tdwg/geogrphy.html)
Boliviapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae )B
Brazil Northpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae )B
Brazil Northeastpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae )B
Brazil West-Centralpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae )B
Colombiapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae )B
Costa Ricapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae )B
Ecuadorpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae )B
French Guianapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae )B
Guyanapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae )B
Panamápresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae )B
Perupresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae )B
Surinamepresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae )B
Trinidad-Tobagopresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae )B
Venezuelapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae )B
Nine species ranging from Costa Rica and Panama to the Amazon and Orinoco Valleys in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana, Brazil, Peru and Bolivia. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A



Biology And Ecology




  • Moderate to massive, solitary or clustered, unarmed (except for sharp fibres of leaf sheaths), pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stem erect, densely covered in fibrous leaf sheaths, when mature becoming bare except rarely (Oenocarpus circumtextus) fibrous network persistent, leaf scars smooth, flush with stem basally, swollen and prominent distally, a small mass of slender roots sometimes present basally. Leaves pinnate or entire-bifid, spirally arranged or distichous, suberect when young, becoming spreading; sheath tightly clasping but not forming a distinct crownshaft, splitting at least partially opposite the petiole, thick, leathery, lightly furrowed adaxially, glabrous or scaly abaxially, disintegrating marginally into masses of hair-like black or brown fibres and sometimes also fewer stout, sharp, knitting-needle-like fibres; petiole short, rarely elongate, channelled adaxially, rounded abaxially; leaflets regularly arranged in one plane or irregularly clustered, broadly lanceolate, acute to tapering, single-fold, blade adaxially glabrous, sparsely to densely abaxially glabrous or covered with persistent, shining, pale, straw-coloured or brownish, membranous, orbicular to transversely elliptical or sickle-shaped or needle-like medifixed scales, or with scattered, whitish, waxy, sickle-shaped hairs, midrib largest but other intermediate veins also large, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences interfoliar in bud, becoming infrafoliar, hippuriform (shaped like a horse’s tail), protandrous, branched to 1 order laterally and abaxially, adaxial branches absent; peduncle short to elongate, flattened, tomentose; prophyll short, wide, adaxially flattened, 2-keeled, splitting abaxially, margins broadly toothed; peduncular bract much longer than the prophyll, terete, beaked, scaly; rachis longer than the peduncle but short, tapering, bearing spirally arranged, very small, slightly sunken, pointed to scalloped, thin bracts, adaxial ones abortive and evident only in young stages, lateral and abaxial bracts subtending rachillae; rachillae ± flexuous, pendulous, short to elongate, straight to slightly undulate, slender, tapering, bearing triads of flowers basally and pairs to single staminate flowers distally, rarely completely staminate, flowers borne in shallow depressions; rachilla bracts low, rounded with a short point, slightly sunken; floral bracteoles similar to rachilla bracts. Staminate flowers asymmetrical, pointed in bud; sepals 3, distinct, valvate, imbricate or briefly connate basally; petals 3, distinct, ovate, somewhat asymmetrical, valvate; stamens 6 or (7–8) 9–20, filaments terete, slender, straight or variously curved and bent, distinctly inflexed at the apex, anthers elongate, basally free and sagittate, rounded or blunt apically, dorsifixed, versatile, connective not extending above locules, latrorse; pistillode bifid or trifid. Pollen ellipsoidal, occasionally oblate triangular, with slight or obvious asymmetry; aperture a distal sulcus, occasionally, a trichotomosulcus; ectexine tectate, finely or coarsely perforate-rugulate, aperture margin finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis 38–56 µm [6/9]. Pistillate flowers shorter than the staminate; sepals 3, distinct, suborbicular, imbricate, hooded; petals 3, distinct, imbricate except for valvate apices when young, otherwise like the sepals; staminodes tooth-like or lacking; gynoecium ovoid, briefly stalked, unilocular, uniovulate, style short, cylindrical, bearing 3 fleshy stigmas, reflexed at anthesis, papillose adaxially. Fruit ellipsoidal to globose, dark purple when ripe, perianth persistent, stigmatic remains apical to slightly eccentric; epicarp smooth or minutely pebbled, waxy, mesocarp fleshy, oily, with internal fibres adnate to and covering the seed, endocarp apparently lacking. Seed ovoid-ellipsoidal to globose, hilum basal, raphe lateral, branches parallel, indistinct, endosperm homogeneous and striate, or ruminate, with central cavity; embryo basal, very large, extending through the endosperm into central cavity. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid. Cytology: 2n = 36. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A



  • Al regresar a su casa introducen los frutos en una olla con agua, poniéndola al fuego hasta que esté tibia. (…). Algunos acostumbran a comer la pepa, raspando la carnosidad con los dientes, inmediatamente después de "madurar" el fruto. (…). Las alternativas de consumo son : 1) tomar el líquido resultante del proceso descrito, (…), 2) mezclar el líquido con fariña; 3) mezclarlo con almidón de yuca (cahuana de milpeso). (…). Esta bebida es ofrecida en la celebración de bailes de pescado (Wera y Waha). (…). A partir del milpeso se puede extraer también aceite. (…). Si bien en las correrías por el monte efectuadas en compañía de la pareja indígena con quien se estuvo trabajando, fueron identificados varios tipos de insectos como fuente de alimento, (…), la atención estuvo centrada en la obtención, consumo e intercambio de una especie particular: las larvas del escarabajo (Fam. Curculionidae) denominadas en español "mojojoi". (…). El de tamaño grande crece en la palma de milpeso seca; (…). (…). Ir la monte un día cualquier en busca de "mojojoi" es darle continuidad, a una situación creada intencionalmente. Se sebe exactamente a donde ir, ya que una palma de canangucho (Mauritia flexuosa) o del milpeso (Jessenia sp.) ha sido tumbada cuatro meses antes.
  • Alimentación.
  • Crop in garden of household.
  • Edible fruit.
  • El bacabón es tan frecuente como la bacaba y se utiliza de la misma forma. Sus frutos son algo mayores, por lo que proporcionan mayores cantidades de leche. (…). La bacaba y el bacabón se usan también para construir paredes. (…). El bacabón es la palma preferida para la construcción de bancos, debido al grosor de su tronco y a la consecuente anchura de los bancos resultantes.
  • Other fruit recorded in Puerto Méndez included ja´ru (Jessenia sp.), (...).
  • Palma con frutos comestibles, se prepara "leche de pusuy" con el procedimiento ya descrito. El estipe es utilizado para sacar madera de mesones o "yaripa" para las casas.
  • Planta comestible recolectada. Parte comestible, corazón.
  • Planta semi-cultivadas (protegidas). Parte comestible, hojas, frutos.
  • The dead trunks of all palm trees, including Ireartea, Euterpe, Mauritia, and Jessenia, all attract palm weevils.
  • The mature fruits are used to prepare a sweet drink. After the fruits have been softened by soaking in water, the seeds are removed and discarded. Water is mixed with the pulp, and the mass is passed through a sieve. Sugar is added to the remaining liquid to complete the drink. The trunk of this palm is split and used for platforms, floors, and walls of houses.
  • Uso alimenticio. Frutos.
  • Uso artesanal. Wuashimas y changuinas.
  • While the trunks of several palms, notably Astrocaryum (jaja-sie) and Oenocarpus (bajowi) were most commonly used "by the ancestors" for posts,(...).

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