Bactris corossilla H.Karst., Linnaea 28: 407 (1857)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Brazil Northpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)C
Colombiapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)C
Ecuadorpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)C
Venezuelapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)C
Coastal range, Andes, and adjacent regions of Venezuela (Apure, Carabobo, Mérida, Táchira) and Colombia (Norte de Santander), south to the western Amazon region in Colombia (Amazonas, Meta, Vaupes), Venezuela (Amazonas, Bolívar), Ecuador (Marana-Santiago, Napa, Pastaza,Sucumbros), Peru (Amazonas, Loreto, Ucayali), and Brazil (Acre, Amazonas); lowland to montane rain forest on well-drained slopes, at 100-1400 m elevation. (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)B

Coastal mountains in Venezuela and south along the Andes and in the W Amazon region to S Peru.
Distribution in Ecuador. In Ecuador it is frequent in moist tropical and premontane forest east of the Andes, sometimes forming very large groups in swampy areas, whereas it tends to form smaller groups or even single-stemmed individuals on well drained soil. (Borchsenius F., Borgtoft-Pedersen H. and Baslev H. 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)A


  • A polymorphic and poorly understood species, defined by having the combination of a green, nearly glabrous leaf axis; a petiole with numerous spines on its adaxial side (i.e., the side facing the stem); and black, more or less smooth fruits without a staminodial ring. Small palms from terra firme forest with large fruits, to 3 cm long, and few, strongly grouped sigmoid pinnae pointing in different directions may represent an undescribed species. (Borchsenius F., Borgtoft-Pedersen H. and Baslev H. 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)A
  • Bactris corossilla is diagnosed by its entire and persistent oerea to 20 cm long, depressed-globose to obovoid, prominently rostrate fruits 2-2.5 x 1.7-2 cm that mature green, yellow, and then purple-black, andendocarp fibers without juice sacs attached. Synonymy was established by Wessels Boer (1988) and Henderson (1995). The holotype is destroyed, and I have therefore designated a neotype.
    This is an extremely heterogeneous species as here conceived, with an unlikely distribution, and it may eventually be split into several taxa. Specimens from the Venezuelan Andes are medium-sized plants with simple or pinnate leaves. When the leaves are pinnate, the apical pinna is much wider than the others. Plants from the Venezuelan Amazon region are smaller and usually have simple leaves and those from the Colombian Amazon are smaller still. Some specimens from Peru and adjacent Ecuador are much larger than the normal, with pinnate leaves and larger fruits. In some respects these approach Bactris fissifrons; other specimens from the Brazilian Amazon seem to approach B. macroacantha. A specimen from Peru, Moore et al. 8515 (cited above) appears to be B. corossilla, but the fruits resemble those of B. macroacantha. These three species (B. corossilia, B. fissifrons, B. macroacanlha) may be more closely related than previously thought, although they were placed in three different clades by Sanders (1991). Some specimens cited above (Balsley et al. 60515, Balsley et al. 62039, Vasquez & Jaramillo 12762, Henderson et al. 820) were included by Henderson (1995) under Bactris maraja var. juruensis. These, plus a few others (Balslev et al. 60737, Balslev 62470, Bergmann et al. 97810), are smaller palms with pinnate leaves, and may also represent a distinct taxon. One specimen, notcited above (Colombia. Meta: Mun. Vista Hermosa, Rio Sardinatas, Serrania de la Macarena, 600 m, 2 Feb 1985, Henderson et al. 114 (COL, NY)) may be a hybrid with some other species (possibly B. maraja). (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)B

Common Name


  • Understorey palm. Stems clustered, often forming large colonies, 1.5-6 m tall and 1.5-4 cm in diameter.
    Leaves with central axis green, becoming glabrous, armed with scattered black spines to 5 cm long; blade 70-175 cm long, simple, or more often pinnate, usually with a large top segment; pinnae 5-26 on each side, inserted in groups and spreading in one plane, the central ones 30-75 cm long, 3.5-10 cm wide, usually with asymetrical apex ending in a long tail, lined with small spines along the margins.
    Inflorescence 20-40 cm long; branches 10-20, 5-20 cm long. Female flowers scattered along the branches, with tubular calyx, glabrous or minutely bristly corolla, and no staminodial ring.
    Fruit black, smooth, obovoid, flattened at top, usually strongly rostrate, 2-2.5 cm in diameter, fruiting perianth with a short calyx, and a much longer, usually three-parted corolla. (Borchsenius F., Borgtoft-Pedersen H. and Baslev H. 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)A
  • Stems usually cespitose and sometimes forming dense clumps, occasionally solitary, (1-)2-4(-6) m tall , 1-3(-4) cm diam., spiny on internodes.
    Leaves 5-12; leaf spines clustered, black or dark brown, terete, to 5 cm long, usually dense on sheath and adaxial surfaces of petiole, occasionally absent; sheath 20-70 cm long, sheath, petiole, and rachis green, not or scarcely tomentose; ocrea to 20 cm long, entire and persistent; petiole 20-80 cm long; rachis 0.4-1.1 m long; blade simple and bifid, or pinnate with 3-18 pinnae per side, the apical one usually broad, irregularly arranged in clusters, spreading in different planes, linear to sigmoid aristate, with prominent veins; blade 0.6-2 m long, 23-34 cm wide at apex of rachis, middle pinnae of pinnate leaves 40-50 x 3-5 cm.
    Inflorescences interfoliar; peduncle 11-25 cm long, recurved, spiny; prophyll 10-20 cm long; peduncular bract 18-40 cm long, sulcate abaxially, densely spiny with more or less spreading, flexuous, soft ,brown spines; rachis 1-5 cm long; rachillae 4-14, 7-13 cm long, with prominent staminate flower bracteoles, at anthesis densely covered with flexuous, brown trichomes; Triads irregularly arranged among paired or solitary staminate flowers, the bracteoles prominent; staminate flowers 5-6 mm long; sepal lobes 1.5-2 mm long; petals 5-6 mm long; stamens 6; pistillode small; pistillate flowers 5-6 mm long; calyx tubular, 5-6 mm long; corolla tubular, 3-4 mm long, glabrous or occasionally minutely spiulose; staminodes absent;
    Fruits 2-2.5 x 1.7-2 cm, depressed globose to obovoid, prominently rostrate, green becoming yellow and then purple-black; mesocarp thin; endocarp turbinate, the sterile pores slightly displaced longitudinally; endocarp fibers free, numerous, without juice sacs attached; fruiting perianth with small, 3-lobed calyx and longer, 3-lobed corolla, without staminodial ring. (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)B

Materials Examined

  • COLOMBIA.AMAZONAS: Río Caquetá, Isla Mariñame, 120-180 m, 26 Apr 1986, Galeano et al. 1162 (NY); Quebrada del Tigre, Rio Caqueta, ca. 200 m, 22 Sep 1988, Galeano & Miraña 1886 (NY); Río Caquetá. Chorro Córdoba, ca. 230 m, 13 Mar 1990, Galeano et al. 2067 (FTG, NY).
    META: La Macarena, Cano Guapayati, 15 Feb 1962, Idrobo & Schmidt 4747 (COL), 7 Dec 1949, Philipson et al. l718 (BM, COL), 19 Dec 1949, Philipson & Idrobo 1807 (BM, COL); Serranía Chamusa, 350 m, Mar 1994, P. Stevenson 1088(NY).
    NORTE DE SANTANDER: Sarare, 15 Jul 1941, Cuatrecasas 13208 (COL).
    VAUPES: San Martín, Río Ocoa, 23 Oct 1945, Allen 3357 (BH, MO); Rio Inridia, 23 Jan 1953, Fernandez 1921 (COL).
    VENEZUELA. AMAZONAS: La Esmeralda, 3°8'N, 65°38'W, 140 m, 28 Feb 1990, Aymard & Delgado 8335(NY); Salta Salas, 18 Aug 1951, Croizal 528 (NY); Alto Orinoco, 1951 , Croizal 995c (NY); Rio Orinoco, 2-3°N, 63-64°W, 370 m, 11 Jan 1952, Cruxent 298 (NY); Rio Paru, 4°30'N, 65°48'W, 100 m, Oct 1989, Delgado 775 (NY); Dept. Alabapo, Culebra, Rio Cunucunuma, 3°44'N, 65°44'W, 210m, 16 Feb 1985, Liesner 17559 (MO), 9 Oct 1988, Liesner 24556 (MO, NY); Dept. Atabapo, CerroHuachamacarí, 3°49'N, 65°42'W, 600-700 m, 2 Nov 1988, Liesner 25625 (MO, NY); Cerro Sipapo, 125 m, 10 Jan 1949, Maguire & Politi 28292 (NY); Sierra Parirna, Simarawochi, Río Matacuni, 3°49'N, 64°36'W, 795-830 m, 18 Apr-23 May 1973, Steyermark 107025 (BH, NY), 18 Apr- 23 May 1973. Steyermark 107000 (BH); Dept. Atabapo, Río Cunucunuma,between Cerro Duida and Huachamacarí, 3°40'N, 65°45'W, 180-210 m, 28-30 Jan and 6-8 Feb, Steyermark et al. 125785 (NY); Río Negro, Piedra de Cucuy, ca. 1°13'N, 66°51'W, 100-350 m, 2 Feb 1968, Wessels Boer 2384 (NY); Cuao River, 5°35'N, 66°50'W, 400-450 m, 25 Dec 1985. Zent 1285-05 (NY).
    APURE: San Camilo, El Nula, Río Sarare, 27 Mar 1968, Steyermark et al. 101415 (BH, NY, US);
    BOLIVAR: Between Río Paramichi and Saito de Chalimano, 4°52'N, 62°58'W, 525-650 m, Steyermark 90596 (NY).
    CARABOBO: S of Borburata, Rio San Gian, 2 Apr 1966. Steyermark 95455 (BH, NY).
    MÉRIDA: 31 km ESE of Santa Bárbara, 7°41'N, 71°28'W, 9 Mar 1980, Liesner & A.González. 9225 (BH, MO); Río Guaimaral, 7°45'N, 71°29'W, 15 Mar 1981, Liesner & A. González 10628 (MO, NY).
    TACHIRA: EI Morro, 7°57'N, 71°42'W, 1150-1250m, 23 Jun 1990, Dorr & Barnett 7153 (NY); La Honda, 7°52'N, 71°45'W, 1200-1400 m. 24 Jun 1990, Dorr & Barnett 7179(BH, NY); 10 km E of La Fundación, Represa Dorada, 10-13 Mar 1981, Liesner & A. González. 10229 (MO); between Río Negro and La Laguna, 7°35'N, 72°9'W, 30 Jul 1979, Steyermark & Liesner 119119 (MO); La Pabellana, 7°37'N, 71°47'W, 250-350 m, 6 Nov 1979, Steyermark et al. 119430 (NY); rd. from Santo Domingo to San Cristóbal, 7°38'N, 72°11'W, 550m, 19 Jun 1967, Wessels Boer 1867(NY); San Cristóbai, 7°40'N, 72°20'W, 900 m, 4 Mar 1968, Wessels Boer 2438 (NY).
    ECUADOR. MORONA-SANTIAGO: Taisha, 2°23'S, 77°30'W, 400 m, 24 Mar 1986, M. Baker 68270 (NY).
    NAPO: San José de Payamino, 0°30'S, 77°18'W, 300 m, 1-7 Dec 1983, Balslev & Irvine 4635 (NY); Rio Aguarico, 0°18'N, 76°20'W, 300 m, Feb 1984, Balslev 4870 (AAU, NY); Anangu, 0°32'S, 76°23'W, 265 m, 19 Jun 1985, Balslev et al. 60515 (AAU, CAY, NY), 28 Jul- 9 Aug 1985, Balslev et al. 60737 (AAU), 11-17 Apr 1986, Balslev et al.62038 (AAU, COL, NY, USM), 11-17 Apr 1986, Balslev et al. 62039 (AAU. NY); Laguna Pañacocha, 0°23'S, 76°10'W 200 m, 19 Apr 1987, Balslev et al. 62470 (AAU); Reserva Florístico El Chuncho, 0°28'S, 77°1'W, 300 m, 20 May 1991, Bergmann et al. 97810 (AAU).
    PASTAZA: Puyo, 1°25'S, 77°50'W, 1200 m, 28 Sep 1983. Balslev 4422 (NY).
    SUCUMBÍOS: Cuyabeno, Laguna Grande, 0°, 76°11'W, 300m, 20-26 Jan 1984, Balslev 4790 (NY).
    PERU, AMAZONAS: N of Río Cenepa, 9 Dec 1972, Berlin 498 (AAU, BH, F, MO, NY, U), 30 Dec 1972, Berlin 762 (BH, MO); La Poza, Río Santiago, 23 Aug 1979, Huashikat 161 (MO); Huampami, 4 Jul 1974, Kayap 1033 (MO), 29 Jul 1974, Kayap 1358 (MO); Río Santiago, Galilea, 16 Aug 1979, Leveau 221 (MO).
    LORETO: Prov. Requena, Jenaro Herrera, 4°55'S, 73°40'W, 27 Nov 1985, Kahn & K. Mejia 1824 (USM), K. Mejia 124 (USM), 10 Jan 1984, Vasquez & Jaramillo 4835 (MO); km 11 on Yurimaguas-Tarapoto rd., 26 May 1960, Moore et al. 8515 (BH); Andoas, 2°55'S, 76°25'W, 210 m, 5 Jun 1981 , Vasquez & Jaramillo 1926 (MO); Caballococha, 3°55'S, 70°30'W, 15 Aug 1989, Vasquez & Jaramillo 12762 (NY).
    UCAYALI: Boquerón dePadre Abad, Pucallapa-Ttngo María rd., Velo de Novia, 5 Dec 1978, C. Diaz. & Aronson 7370 (MO); Bosque Nacional Alexander von Humboldt, 8°40'S, 74°45'W, 270 m, 8 Aug 1980, Gentry & Homo 29486 (MO), 1 Apr 1981, Vasquez & Jaramillo 1601 (MO); Bosque Nacionai Alexander von Humboldt, 8°46'S, 75°2'W, 270 m, 14 Mar 1982, Gentry et al. 36367 (MO); 65 km NE of Pucallpa, 8°2'S, 73°55'W, ca. 250 m, 25 Jun 1987, Gentry & c. Diaz 58553 (F, NY).
    BRAZIL. ACRE: Mun. Mancio Lima, Rio Moa, 7°25'S, 73°38'W, 11 Oct 1989, Henderson et al. 1109 (lNPA, K, NY); Rio Moa, near jet. with Río Azul, 7°18'S, 73°10'W, 15 Feb 1992 , Henderson et al. 1692 (lNPA, NY).
    AMAZONAS: Mun. Benjamin Constant, Río Javari, Atalaia do Norte, 4°22'S, 70°11'W, 4 Jan 1989, Henderson et al.820 (NY). (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)B

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