Chelyocarpus chuco (Mart.) H.E.Moore, Principes 16: 73 (1972)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Boliviapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Brazil Northpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Bolivia and Brazil along banks of rivers, larger in forests than along the banks (fide d'Orbigny), flowering November (Prance et al.) to January (d'Orbigny), fruiting April (d'Orbigny) to July (Prance et al.). (H.E. Moore, Chelyocarpus and its Allies Cryosophila and Itaya (Palmae). 1972)A


  • Chelyocarpus chuco stands somewhat by itself in the genus as noted earlier The presence of a prophyll on som~ primary branches is unusual in the alliance, for such have not been observed in Cryosophila nor in Itaya. The less deeply lobed leaf with its green under. surface further sets the species apart from others in Chelyocarpus, from Itaya, and from most in Cryosophila. (H.E. Moore, Chelyocarpus and its Allies Cryosophila and Itaya (Palmae). 1972)A

Common Name

  • Carnaubinha fide Prance et al.; chuco in Itonama, huechichaho in Baures, iriai in Cayuvava, sava in Itenes, choinan in Pacaguara, fide d'Orbigny. (H.E. Moore, Chelyocarpus and its Allies Cryosophila and Itaya (Palmae). 1972)A


  • Leaves 10-22 in a crown; sheath more than 3 dm. long, pale (golden?) appressed- villous; petiole elongate, to ca. 1.8 m. long (teste Martius), ca. 2 cm. 3_ Fruits of Chelyocarplls Chuco. Photo by S. Kiem. wide basally, 1 cm. wide apically, with brown furfuraceous scales at first, becoming glabrate; hastula deltoid or truncate-deltoid, 1.5-2.5 cm. long, 2-3 cm. wide at base; blade thin, green, to 1.05 m. long at center, 1.8 m. across, divided centrally to within 1.5-2 cm. of the base, divided laterally one-fourth to nearly three•fourths to the base into 15-24 lanceolate l-ribbed segments on each side, these mostly grouped in pairs toward the margins or irregularly toward the center, the ultimate segments to 50 cm. long, 2.5-6 cm. wide, each with a midrib, 2-3 lateral secondary and several finer tertiary nerves on each side more prominent below than above, flexuous cross-veinlets prominent on both surfaces when dry, proximal segments often conspicuously narrowed and "shouldered" toward the acute or very briefly bifid apex, lower surface of blade green but paler than upper surface, very densely beset with minute, shining, translucent dots. Inflorescences 3-4 (teste Martius), to more than 5.5 dm. long; sterile bracts 2 (or more?), densely light brown floccose-lepidote outside, glabrous within, ca. 21 cm. long; branches 5-7, each subtended by a fertile bract similar to the peduncular bracts but progressively smaller, the lowermost branches bearing a membranous prophyll to 12 cm. long, upper branches with incomplete prophylls or prophyll lacking, main axis and branches more or less flattened, branches mostly curved with flattened base to ca. 18 cm. long, 1.3 cm. wide in fruit, fertile portion to ca. 20 cm. long; rachillae to 8 cm. long, subtended by narrowly triangular, membranous, tomentum. tipped bracts to 15-17 mm. long on lowermost branches, shorter above, shortly adnate above the bract and with a short sterile base. Flowers sessile or briefly pedicellate, borne singly in a spiral on the rachillae, bracts short; perianth 2-2.5 mm. long, creamy white, erect at anthesis; sepals 3, connate for ca. 0.5 mm., 2.0-2.5 mm. long, lobes deltoid; petals 3, about as long as the sepals, distinct, imbricate; stamens 6, filaments broad and thick basally, subulate above, anthers exserted and spreading from the narrow mouth of the perianth; carpels 3. Fruit globose or depressed.globose, with persistent thickened perianth, 1.62.0 cm. wide, 1.6-1.8 cm. high; epicarp not tessellate; mesocarp rather thin; endocarp membranous; seed brown, depressed-globose, ca. 1.6 m. wide, 1.4 cm. high; embryo above the middle. (H.E. Moore, Chelyocarpus and its Allies Cryosophila and Itaya (Palmae). 1972)A

Materials Examined

  • BOLIVIA. STATE OF PANDO: west bank of Rio Madeira opposite Abunã in forest on terra firme, 9 July 1968, G. T. Prance E. Forero, L. F. Coelho, J. F. Ramos & L.G Farias 5708 (BH). BRAZIL. Region of Forte principe da Beira, Río Guaporé 1832 d' Orbigny 32 (Hb. Mart, BR, holotype). TERRITORY OF RONDÔNIA: basin of Río Madeira; east bank of Río Madeira between Abunã and Penha Colorado, varzea forest, 20 Nov. 1968, G. T. Prance, W. A. Rodrigues J. F. Ramos & L. G. Farias 8717 (BH). CULTIVATED. Botanical Garden Museu . Emilio Goeldi, Belém, Pani, Brazil: 8 Nov. 19: L. H. Bailey 324 (BH): photographs only 1961, Stanley Kiem s. n. (BH); 1 June 1963 Museu Goeldi 349. R-8 (BH); 1966, Cavalcante s. n. (BH); 20 Mar. 1967, H E Moore, Jr. 9549 (BH). (H.E. Moore, Chelyocarpus and its Allies Cryosophila and Itaya (Palmae). 1972)A

Use Record

  • Chelyocarpus chuco (Mart.) H.E.Moore: Hoja redonda. Chelyocarpus chuco. Forest palm. Food, construction, roofing, broom. (…). The constructors of houses choose the species based on the planned lifetime of the building, available labor time and the durability of the construction material. For making the roof, the leaves of palms such as jatata (Geonoma deversa) palla (Attalea butyracea), patujú, hoja redonda (Chelyocarpus chuco), asai and motacú are used. (Henkemans, A., Tranquilidad and Hardship in the Forest: Livelihoods and Perceptions of Camba Forest dwellers in the northern Bolivian Amazon. 2001)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    ConstructionHousesNot specifiedMestizoN/ABolivia
    Human FoodFoodNot specifiedMestizoN/ABolivia
    Utensils and ToolsDomesticNot specifiedMestizoN/ABolivia
    ConstructionThatchEntire leafMestizoN/ABolivia
  • Chelyocarpus chuco (Mart.) H.E.Moore: Las hojas se utilizan para la elaboración de techos y sombreros. Ocasionalmente, se las utiliza para cerrar las aperturas laterales de los techos de las casas en las zonas rurales. Por su tamaño relativamente pequeño y hojas redondeadas, esta palma tiene buen potencial para ser utilizada en la ornamentación de plazas y jardines. (Gutiérrez-Vásquez, C.A. and R. Peralta, Palmas comunes de Pando, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. 2001)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    CulturalCloth and accessoriesEntire leafNot identifiedN/ABolivia
    ConstructionThatchEntire leafNot identifiedN/ABolivia
  • Chelyocarpus chuco (Mart.) H.E.Moore: Las hojas son usadas para techos de viviendas y para tejer sombreros; los frutos son comestibles y tienen un sabor similar a durazno; las semillas son usadas para fines ceremoniales. (Moraes, M., Contribución al estudio del ciclo biológico de la palma Copernicia alba en un área ganadera (Espíritu, Beni, Bolivia). 1991)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    CulturalCloth and accessoriesEntire leafNot identifiedN/ABolivia
    Human FoodFoodFruitsNot identifiedN/ABolivia
    ConstructionThatchEntire leafNot identifiedN/ABolivia
    CulturalRitualSeedsNot identifiedN/ABolivia


A. H.E. Moore, Chelyocarpus and its Allies Cryosophila and Itaya (Palmae). 1972
B. World Checklist of Arecaceae