Dictyocaryum fuscum (H.Karst.) H.Wendl., Bot. Zeitung (Berlin) 21: 131 (1863)

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Coastal range of Venezuela (Aragua, Carabobo, Distrito Federal, Miranda, Yaracuy) in cloud forest between 1000 and 1800 m. Dictyocaryum fuscum actually has a much wider distribution than suggested by herbarium specimens. It occurs from Yaracuy at the western end of the Coastal Cordillera eastwards to Guatopo in the Serrania Interior, a distance of some 300 km. (Henderson, A. 1990: Introduction and the Iriarteinae. – Flora Neotropica Monographs 53)A


  • The type consists of four sheets, containing a mixture of Socratea exorrhiza and Dictyocaryum. Two sheets contain only Socratea. Of the other two, one is designated lectotype. Karsten's illustration and description are also a mixture of the two genera (Henderson, 1986b).

    Dictyocaryum fuscum is very similar morphologically to D. ptariense, only differing in its longer staminate flowers.? (Henderson, A. 1990: Introduction and the Iriarteinae. – Flora Neotropica Monographs 53)A

Common Name

  • Palma de cacho (Jahn, 1908), palma araque (Ernst, 1976). (Henderson, A. 1990: Introduction and the Iriarteinae. – Flora Neotropica Monographs 53)A


    • The wood is used for cabinet making (Ernst, 1976). (Henderson, A. 1990: Introduction and the Iriarteinae. – Flora Neotropica Monographs 53)A


    • Stem cylindrical, 10-22 m tall, to 20 cm in diam., gray, smooth, with nodes obscure and in-ternodes to 30 cm long; stilt roots diagonal, closely spaced, branched near or below ground level, 1-2 m x 8-10 cm, with blunt spines. Leaves 4-6, spreading; sheaths forming a compact crown-shaft, 1.2-1.5 m long, glaucous, gray-green, outer surface covered with small apiculate brown scales or densely brown-tomentose; petiole 2-20 cm long (including apical part of sheath), ca. 5 cm in diam., proximally rounded abaxially and shallowly grooved adaxially, terete from middle upwards, glabrescent; rachis 2.4-2.5 m long, ridged and densely-brown-tomentose adaxially, rounded abaxially; pinnae 31-37 per side, subopposite, cuneate with entire margins and blunt praemorse apices, green glabrous adaxially, gray-white waxy abaxially with minute regularly arranged brown scales, these sometimes elongated into hairs, and with lines 3 mm wide of dense white or brown tomentum running parallel to veins, split to the base into 2-9 stiff segments inserted at different angles and radiating in different planes; veins prominent abaxially, yellow, several on proximal segment of each pinna, one on distal segment, with similar scales to pinnae; proximal pinna split into 1-3 segments, proximal segment to 50 cm long and 1 cm wide at mid-point; middle pinna split into nine segments, proximal segment 90-108 cm long, 4 cm wide at mid-point, distal segment to 80 cm long, 2 cm wide at mid-point; apical pinna entire, deeply bifid, to 30 cm long, 8 cm wide at mid-point. Inflorescence pendulous in bud and at anthesis, to 1.5 m long; peduncle terete, curved, 45-50 x 3 cm, densely brown-tomentose, glabrescent; prophyll inserted near base of peduncle, caducous, ancipitous, coriaceous, to 6 cm long, splitting apically; peduncular bracts ten, inserted ca. 3 cm apart, brown-tomentose, glabrescent, proximal ca. 3 to 16 cm long and similar to prophyll, distal remainder to 150 cm long, woody, with non-splitting apex; rachis 40-45 cm long, rachillae to 50, glabrous, spirally arranged, cream-colored at anthesis, with a flattened sterile proximal section to 14 cm long, proximal ones branched into seven rachillae to 75 cm long, distal ones simple to 70 cm long, triads spirally arranged, to 5 mm apart, ebracteolate; flowers proximally in triads, distally staminate in pairs or solitary, yellow; staminate flowers 6-8 mm long; sepals depressed-ovate, 1.5 x 1.5 mm, very shortly connate proximally, imbricate, strongly gibbous; petals ovate-lanceolate, 6-7 x 2 mm, valvate; stamens six; filaments linear, 1 mm long; anthers 6 mm long, sub-basifixed; pistillode 0.5 mm, blunt, 3-lobed; pollen with clavate or clavate-rugulate exine; pistillate flowers 2-3 mm long; sepals depressed-ovate, 2 x 2 mm, gibbous, imbricate; petals ovate, 2 x 2 mm, imbricate proximally, valvate distally; staminodes six, dentiform; stigmas sessile, triangular, 0.5 mm long; ovary glabrous, 3-locular; ovules apically attached; fruit more or less globose, 3-3.5 x 2.5-3 cm, stigmatic scar basal; epicarp glabrous, thin, greenish-yellow at maturity and splitting irregularly; mesocarp 3-4 mm thick, white; endocarp papery; seeds more or less globose, 2-2.5 x 1.5-2 cm, basally attached; raphe branches reticulate, spreading from base; hilum rounded; embryo basal; eophyll bifid. (Henderson, A. 1990: Introduction and the Iriarteinae. – Flora Neotropica Monographs 53)A

    Materials Examined

    • VENEZUELA. ARAGUA: Par-que Nacional Henri Pittier, Rancho Grande, Paso de Portachuelo, Periquito trail, 1136-1525 m, 27 Aug 1970 (fl), Moore et al. 9846 (BH, VEN). DISTRITO FEDERAL: Rd. between Hacienda El Limon and Junquito-Colonia Tovar rd., 8 km below junction, 1750 m, 7 Jun 1963 (fl), Steyermark 91502 (BH, VEN). YARACUY: Cerro La Chapa, N of Nirgua, 1200-1400 m, 9-10 Nov 1967 (fr), Steyermark et al. 100312 (BH); 10 Nov 1967 (fl & fr), Wessels Boer 2037 (NY, U); El Amparo towards Candelaria, 7-10 km N of Salom, 1200-1300 m, 27-30 Dec 1972 (fl), Steyermark et al. 106730 (BH, NY, VEN). (Henderson, A. 1990: Introduction and the Iriarteinae. – Flora Neotropica Monographs 53)A


      A. Henderson, A. 1990: Introduction and the Iriarteinae. – Flora Neotropica Monographs 53