Bactris militaris H.E.Moore, Gentes Herb. 8: 229 (1951)

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Pacific slope of Costa Rica (Puntarenas). (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A


  • Low, wet, swampy sites near the sea. (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A


  • Bactris militaris is diagnosed by its simple, elongate cuneate-oblanceolate leaf blade gradually expanded from the narrowly cuneate base to the bifid apex, orange fruits, and pitted endocarps. The above description is mostly taken from Moore (1951) because there are few new collections since then. In fact, this species appears to be rare in the wild (Hodel &Binder, 1996). De Nevers et al. (1996) included specimens from the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica under B.militaris. These are here recognized as B. neomilitaris, following de Nevers & Henderson (1999). The two species can be separated by their endocarps. Those of B. militaris, from the Pacific coast, have pitted endocarp swith few endocarp fibers without juice sacs attached; those of B. neomilitaris, from the Atlantic coast, have smooth endocarps with terete fibers that have juice sacs attached. Bactris militaris is a member of a group of similar species confined to Central America and the Pacific coast of Colombia and Ecuador characterized by their obovoid, orange or red fruits. (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A


  • Stems cespitose, in tight clumps of 5-20 stems, 3-5 m tall, 2.5-4 cm diam.
    Leaves 6-8, erect; leaf spines widely scattered, black, terete, to 9 cm long, few on sheath, lateral surfaces of petiole, abaxial surface of rachis, and margins of blade; sheath to 37 cm long; ocrea not seen; petiole to 20 cm long; rachis to 2.8 m long; blade simple, elongate cuneate-oblanceolate in outline, gradually expanded from a narrowly cuneate base to the bifid apex, without cross-veins; blade to 3.1 m long, to 25.5 cm wide at apex of rachis.
    Inflorescences interfoliar; peduncle 20-38.5 cm long, straight, not spiny; prophyll 13-19 cm long; peduncular bract 30-49 cm long, densely tomentose, sparsely covered with slender brown spines to 4 mm long; rachis to 10 cm long; rachillae 14-23, to 6 cm long, at anthesis densely covered with brown, moniliform trichomes; triads irregularly arranged among paired or solitary staminate flowers; staminate flowers 3-4 mm long; sepal lobes 1-1.5 mm long; petals3-4 mm long; stamens 6; pistillode absent; pistillate flowers 3-4 mm long; calyx annular, 0.5- 1 mm long; corolla urceolate, 3- 3.5 mm long; staminodes minute;fruits 1.5- 1.7 cm diam., broadly abovoid, indistinct lyrostrate, red ; mesocarp mealy; endocarp turbinate, pitted, the sterile pores displaced longitudinally; endocarp fibers few; fruiting perianth with minute calyx and longer corolla, without staminodial ring. (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A

Materials Examined

  • COSTA RICA. PUNTARENAS: Near Tinoco Station, sea level, 13 Jul 1951 .Allen 6264 (BH), 28 Aug 1951, Allen 6296 (BH), 3 Jan 1986, Hammer 67 (FTG), 17 Nov 1994, Hodel et al. 1353 (MO, NY); 9 km S of Palmar Sur, 8°55'N, 83°25'W, 4 Jan 1986, Hammer 70 (FTG). (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A


    A. Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000