Bactris mexicana Mart., Voy. Amér. Mér. 7(3): 65 (1844)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Belize present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)A
Guatemala present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)A
Honduras present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)A
Mexico Gulf present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)A
Mexico Southeast present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)A
Mexico Southwest present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)A
Nicaragua present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)A
Mexico to Nicaragua, lowland rain forest below 600 m elevation


  • Bactris mexicana is diagnosed by its 12-36 rachillae 8-16 cm long, obovoid, bluntly rostrate orange fruits 0.8-1.2 x 0.9-1.2 cm, and turbinate endocarp that is pitted distally. Synonymy was established by de Nevers et al. (1996). Two more or less distinct forms are recognizable among the specimens examined, and each has a more or less discrete range. There is, however, some overlap in characters in specimens from Guatemala, and so 1 recognize these two forms as varieties following de Nevers et al. (1996).


  • Stems cespitose, 2-3(-5) m tall, 2-3.5 cm diam., usually spiny on internodes. Leaves 5-7; leaf spines scattered, or occasionally somewhat clustered, black, terete, to 7 cm long, moderate on sheath, fewer on lateral surfaces of petiole and abaxial surface of rachis, or absent from petiole and rachis; sheath 20-37 cm long; ocrea to 10 cm long; petiole 35-100 cm long; rachis 0.8-1.5 m long; pinnae 8-29 per side, irregularly arranged in clusters, spreading in different planes, or regularly arranged (but with gaps) and spreading in the same plane, linear to sigmoid, narrowed at base, aristate, glabrous or sparsely to densely pubescent abaxially, the margins often spinulose with 3 mm long, straight spinules; middle pinnae (30-)45-60 x 2-5 cm. Inflorescences interfoliar; peduncle 6-15 cm long, recurved, spiny; prophyll 9-14 cm long, 2-4 cm wide; peduncular bract 19-25(-30) cm long, 3-5 cm wide, densely covered with short black spines to 1 cm long; rachis 1.2-6.5 cm long; rachillae 12-36, 8-16 cm long, at anthesis densely covered with brown or white, moniliform trichomes; triads irregularly arranged among paired or solitary staminate flowers; staminate flowers 2-4.5 mm long; sepal lobes 1 mm long; petals 3-4 mm long; stamens 6; pistillode absent; pistillate flowers 3-5 mm long; calyx cupular, to 1 mm long; corolla tubular, 3-4 mm long; staminodes 6, minute, or absent?, fruits 0.8-1.2 x 0.9-1.2 cm, obovoid, bluntly rostrate, orange; mesocarp mealy; endocarp turbinate, pitted on top, the sterile endocarp pores slightly displaced longitudinally; endocarp fibers few; fruiting perianth with minutely 3-lobed calyx and truncate to crenate corolla, without staminodial ring.


    A. World Checklist of Arecaceae