Attalea Kunth, Nov. Gen. Sp. 1: 309 (1816)

Primary tabs

http://media.e-taxonomy.eu/palmae/photos/palm_tc_17840_1.jpg

Distribution

Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted_sites/tdwg/geogrphy.html)
Belizepresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Boliviapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Brazil Northpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Brazil Northeastpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Brazil Southpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Brazil Southeastpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Brazil West-Centralpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Colombiapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Costa Ricapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Ecuadorpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
El Salvadorpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
French Guianapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Guatemalapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Guyanapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Haitipresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Honduraspresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Gulfpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Southeastpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Southwestpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Nicaraguapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Panamápresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Paraguaypresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Perupresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Surinamepresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Trinidad-Tobagopresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Venezuelapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
About 69 species occurring from Mexico southwards to Bolivia and Peru. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Discussion

  • Opinion is divided as to both the number of genera and species. Glassman (1999) recognises four genera, Attalea, Scheelea, Orbignya and Maximiliana. These four genera were also recognised in the first edition of Genera Palmarum. As the palms have become better known in the field and more herbarium material has accumulated, the characters of the staminate flowers used to differentiate the genera seem increasingly unreliable. Intermediate conditions occur (which Glassman [1999] attributes to intergeneric hybridisation) and the form of the staminate flower seems not be correlated with any other varying characters. Henderson (1995) and Henderson et al. (1995) included all genera in Attalea, arguing convincingly that the previously recognised genera are untenable. This broad generic approach is followed here. At the species level, Glassman (1999) recognises 66 species whereas Henderson et al. (1995) recognise 29. There is clearly scope for more detailed revisionary taxonomic work before a clear understanding of the species limits is reached. Attalea crassispatha from Haiti was used by O.F. Cook as the basis of his invalidly published genus Bornoa (Cook 1939a). He also published the invalid names Temenia (Cook 1939a) and Ethnora (Cook 1940), both for Attalea maripa, and Heptantra, for Attalea speciosa (Cook 1939a). Three intergeneric hybrid names have been published: Markleya Bondar (Arch. Jard. Bot. Rio de Janeiro 15: 50 [1957]) for a hybrid between Orbignya phalerata and Maximiliana maripa; Maximbignya Glassman (Illinois Biol. Monogr. 59: 199 [1999]) as an explicit hybrid name (Maximbignya dahlgreniana [Bondar] Glassman); and Attabignya Balick (A.B. Anderson and Med.-Costa, Brittonia 39: 27 [1987]) for a hybrid between Attalea compta and Orbignya oleifera (namely Attabignya minarum Balick et al.). With the subsuming of all genera in Attalea, new combinations for these hybrids in Attalea were published by Zona (2002b). Blue-throated Macaws (Ara glaucogularis) feed on the mesocarp of Attalea phalerata fruit (Yamashita and de Barros 1997). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Diagnosis

  • Solitary, small to massive pinnate-leaved palms native to Central to South America and the Caribbean, with fibrous leaf sheaths, often huge leaves, and with inflorescences that are either staminate or pistillate or carry flowers of both sexes, all on the same plant; fruit is generally large with very thick endocarp, 1–3 or more seeded. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Biology And Ecology

  • Occurring in a wide range of habitats from tropical rain forest to dry 'campo rupestre' and 'cerrado'. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Common Name

  • For common names see Glassman (1999). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Etymology

  • Commemorates Attalus III Philometor, King of Pergamum in Asia Minor, 138–133 BC, who in his later life was interested in medicinal plants. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Uses

  • These are palms with a multiplicity of uses, the most important being as a source of oil. For medicinal uses, see Plotkin and Balick (1984). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Description

  • Small to massive, solitary, acaulescent or erect, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stem subterranean to tall, usually becoming bare, obliquely marked with leaf scars. Leaves massive, pinnate, marcescent; sheath thick, finely or coarsely fibrous (in Attalea funifera producing piassava); petiole lacking or short to elongate, adaxially channelled, abaxially rounded, variously tomentose, rachis adaxially channelled near the base, distally angled, abaxially rounded or flattened, abaxially variously tomentose; leaflets inserted on the lateral faces or in shallow grooves; leaflets numerous, linear-lanceolate, single-fold, regularly arranged or in clusters of 2–5, irregularly lobed at the tips, caducous scales abundant along the leaflet margins exposed in the sword leaf, midrib prominent, other longitudinal veins rather indistinct, transverse veinlets abundant, conspicuous. Inflorescences solitary, interfoliar, ± erect or becoming pendulous, entirely staminate, entirely pistillate, or with flowers of both sexes, branched to 1 order or branches short and flowers appearing ± sessile on the main axis; peduncle short to long; prophyll obscured by leaf sheaths and not known, peduncular bract tubular, entirely enclosing the inflorescence in bud with a short to long solid beak, splitting abaxially, expanding and usually becoming cowl-like, thick and woody, abaxially deeply grooved, adaxially glabrous, abaxially densely tomentose, long persistent, subsequent peduncular bracts small, incomplete, triangular, ± coriaceous; rachis shorter or longer than the peduncle, bearing spirally or unilaterally arranged rachillae, each subtended by a short triangular bract; staminate rachillae with a short to long basal bare portion, above which bearing paired or solitary flowers, spirally arranged (rarely) or in 2 rows on one side, glabrous or floccose-tomentose, bisexual rachillae of two types, either similar to the staminate but bearing a few basal pistillate flowers or bearing 1 to several triads with a short slender apical portion bearing fertile or sterile staminate flowers, in the putative pistillate rachillae lacking all trace of staminate flowers at maturity. Staminate flowers asymmetrical; sepals 3, distinct, triangular, very small, sometimes slightly imbricate basally; petals 3, distinct, much longer than the sepals, ovate-triangular, acute, valvate, or terete and scarcely valvate, or terete basally and distally expanded into a triangular ± valvate limb; stamens 3–75, usually much shorter, rarely much longer than the petals, filaments slender, short to long, anthers ± straight to twisted and coiled, dorsifixed or rarely medifixed, sometimes sagittate basally, introrse or latrose; pistillode minute or absent. Pollen ellipsoidal, usually with either slight or obvious asymmetry, occasionally pyriform, trichotomosulcate pollen also present; aperture a distal sulcus or trichotomosulcus; ectexine tectate, finely to coarsely perforate, finely to coarsely perforate and micro-channelled, or perforate-rugulate or, unusually, tectate gemmate, aperture margin slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis 32–85 µm [17/71]. Pistillate flowers very much larger than the staminate, generally ovoid; sepals 3, distinct, ± triangular, broadly imbricate, leathery; petals 3, distinct, rounded or ± triangular with triangular tips, glabrous or tomentose; staminodal ring large, coriaceous, tomentose; gynoecium of 3–several connate carpels, ovoid or obpyriform, style tapering, stigmatic lobes equal in number to the carpels, linear, reflexed at anthesis, ovules 1 per carpel, basal, form unknown. Fruit ± ovoid, sometimes asymmetrical, 1–several seeded, with a short to moderate beak and apical stigmatic remains, perianth and staminodal ring persistent and enlarging; epicarp minutely grooved, bearing scales, mesocarp usually fleshy and fibrous, endocarp very thick, stony, smooth without or closely grooved, often with included fibres, the pores subbasal, deeply impressed, ?always. Seed ellipsoidal or laterally somewhat flattened, basally attached with fine anastomosing raphe bundles, endosperm homogeneous, solid (?always); embryo basal. Germination remote-tubular; eophyll entire, lanceolate. Cytology: 2n = 32. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Anatomy

  • Leaf (Tomlinson 1961, Glassman 1999), root (Seubert 1998a, 1998b), gynoecium (Uhl and Moore 1971). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Fossil record

  • A palm endocarp from the Upper Eocene of southeast North America (Florida), Attalea gunteri, is reported by Berry (1929). A fruit, Attaleinites gen. nov., is reported from the Oligocene of Hungary (Tuzson 1913). Attalea-like pollen (Graham 1976) is also reported from the Upper Miocene of Mexico (Paraje Solo flora, Veracruz). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Relationships

  • Attalea is monophyletic with high support (Hahn 2002b, Gunn 2004). The genus is resolved as sister to a clade of Lytocaryum and a subclade of Syagrus with moderate support (Gunn 2004) or as sister to Lytocaryum with low support (Baker et al. in review). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Taxonomic accounts

  • Glassman (1999) and Zona (2002b). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Use Record

  • Attalea Kunth: Alimento. Fruto. Mojojoí. Artesanias. Semilla. Construcción. Hoja. (Forero, M.C., Aspectos etnobotánicos de uso y manejo de la familia Arecaceae (palmas) en la comunidad indígena Ticuna de Santa Clara de Tarapoto, del resguardo Ticoya del municipio de Puerto Nariño, Amazonas, Colombia.. 2005)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    Human FoodFoodFruitsIndigenousTikunaColombia
    OtherN/AStemIndigenousTikunaColombia
    ConstructionThatchEntire leafIndigenousTikunaColombia
    CulturalPersonal adornmentSeedsIndigenousTikunaColombia
  • Attalea Kunth: Construcción de viviendas. (Huertas, B., Nuestro territorio Kampu Piyawi (Shawi). 2007)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    ConstructionHousesNot specifiedIndigenousShawiPeru
    Human FoodFoodNot specifiedIndigenousShawiPeru
  • Attalea Kunth: Edible fruit. (Orejuela, J.E., Traditional productive systems of the Awa (Cuaiquer) indians of soutwestern Colombia and neighboring Ecuador. 1992)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    ConstructionThatchEntire leafIndigenousAwáColombia
    Human FoodFoodFruitsIndigenousAwáColombia
  • Attalea Kunth: Granos: frescos o secos, el aceite extraido por compresión, friccionando sobre el cuero cabelludo, embellece la cabellera e impide la caída prematura de los cabellos. (...). Savia del tronco: fresca, como vermífugo. (Girault, L., Kallawaya: Curanderos itinerantes de los Andes. 1987)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    Medicinal and VeterinaryDigestive systemStemMestizoN/ABolivia
    CulturalCosmeticsFruitsMestizoN/ABolivia
    CulturalRitualFruitsMestizoN/ABolivia
  • Attalea Kunth: Grubs are extracted from the seed and used as a fish bait. The leaves are used for thatch. (Vickers, W.T., and T. Plowman, Useful plants of the Siona and Secoya indians of Eastern Ecuador. 1984)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    OtherN/ASeedsIndigenousSiona-SecoyaEcuador
    ConstructionThatchEntire leafIndigenousSiona-SecoyaEcuador
  • Attalea Kunth: La hoja se utiliza para fabricar los techos de las viviendas. El fruto es comestible sin previa preparación. (Alarcón, R., Etnobotánica de los Quichuas de la Amazonia ecuatoriana. 1988)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    ConstructionThatchEntire leafIndigenousQuichuaEcuador
    Human FoodFoodFruitsIndigenousQuichuaEcuador
  • Attalea Kunth: Oil extraction from fruits ( Elaeis guineensis, Jessenia bataua, Oenocarpus mapora, Attalea sp.) (Balslev, H., and A. Barfod, Ecuadorean palms- an overview. 1987)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    OtherN/AStemIndigenousNot specifiedEcuador
    ConstructionThatchEntire leafIndigenousNot specifiedEcuador
    Human FoodOilsFruitsNot identifiedN/AEcuador
  • Attalea Kunth: Sus frutos son apetecidos por su alto contenido energético. (Cárdenas, D., and Politis, G.G., Territorio, movilidad, etnobotánica y manejo del bosque de los Nukak Orientales. 2000)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    Human FoodBeveragesFruitsIndigenousNukakColombia
  • Attalea Kunth: Women build barriers with the leaves of Orbygnia, Attalea or some other large palm, trapping the fish on one end of the swamp. (...). Common bait includes earthworms and several larvae, including Curculionid palm weevils from the seeds of Attalea. (Alexiades, M.N., Ethnobotany of the Ese Ejja: plants, health, and change in an amazonian society. 1999)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    Utensils and ToolsHunting and fishingEntire leafIndigenousEse EjjaBolivia
    Utensils and ToolsHunting and fishingEntire leafIndigenousEse EjjaBolivia
    OtherN/AStemIndigenousEse EjjaBolivia
    OtherN/AStemIndigenousEse EjjaPeru
    Utensils and ToolsHunting and fishingEntire leafIndigenousEse EjjaPeru
    Utensils and ToolsHunting and fishingEntire leafIndigenousEse EjjaPeru
    Utensils and ToolsDomesticEntire leafIndigenousEse EjjaPeru
    Utensils and ToolsDomesticEntire leafIndigenousEse EjjaBolivia
  • Maximiliana Mart.: Burned leaves yield salt. Present in young fallows. (Denevan, W., and J.M. Treacy, Young managed Fallows at Brillo Nuevo. 1987 (as Maximiliana Mart.))
  • Maximiliana Mart.: Conocida en quichua como inayu, el tronco es utilizado para hacer camilla de acompañante. (...). Se sacan de las hojas flechas para cerbatana. (Ponce, M., Etnobotánica de palmas de Jatun Sacha. 1992 (as Maximiliana Mart.))
  • Orbignya Mart. ex Endl.: Construction. (...). The roof is thatched with fronds of different palms, among them Orbignya, Euterpe, Jessenia, Prestoea and Chalar (Geonoma). (Orejuela, J.E., Traditional productive systems of the Awa (Cuaiquer) indians of soutwestern Colombia and neighboring Ecuador. 1992 (as Orbignya Mart. ex Endl.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: Construction. Food. Present in young fallows. (Denevan, W., and J.M. Treacy, Young managed Fallows at Brillo Nuevo. 1987 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: Crop in garden of household. (Salick, J., Ecological basis of Amuesha agriculture, Peruvian upper Amazon. 1989 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: Cultivated for its edible fruits. (Bodley, J.H., and F.C. Benson, Cultural ecology of Amazonian palms. 1979 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Maximiliana Mart.: Del raquis de las grandes hojas sé sacan virotes para las cerbatanas y se hacen estarillas para los lechos y para la pesca. La semilla cortada por la base se emplea: como colgante en los collares femeninos. Su chonta es comestible. Su "wancuji" o espata seca se usa como recogedor de basura. (Guallart, J.M., Nomenclatura Jibaro-Aguaruna de Palmeras en el Distrito de Cenepa.. 1968 (as Maximiliana Mart.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: En los territorios amazónicos se utilizan las hojas de esta palmera para cubrir alimentos y para elaborar canastos de emergencia. (Díaz Piedrahita, S., Las hojas de las plantas como envoltura de alimentos. 1981 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: En quichua es conocida como lucata, las hojas son utilizadas para tejer el techo de las casas, el cual puede durar hasta diez años. (Ponce, M., Etnobotánica de palmas de Jatun Sacha. 1992 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: Food. Construction. (…). Other construction materials include roof thatch produced from Phytelephas macrocarpa and Scheelea sp. (Palmae) and flooring from Iriartea deltoidea and Socratea exorrhiza (Palmae). (Pinedo-Vasquez, M., D. Zarin, P. Jipp, et al., Use-Values of Tree Species in a Communal Forest Reserve in Northeast Peru. 1990 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Orbignya Mart. ex Endl.: Fruto seco: cosido dentro de una bolsita de tela, se lleva en el pecho como escapulario preventivo contra enfermedades - entra en la preparación de mesas. (Girault, L., Kallawaya: Curanderos itinerantes de los Andes. 1987 (as Orbignya Mart. ex Endl.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: La curumuta es una de las especies más utilizadas como oleaginosas entre las palmas. (...). Derribada la palma, los campesinos le hacen un pozuelo cerca del cogollo y de él sacan vino de palma, muchos días. (Pérez-Arbeláez, E., Plantas útiles de Colombia. 1956 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: Leaves used as thatch for roofs of Indian houses (Scheelea sp., Geonoma spp., Phytelephas microcarpa, Iriartea deltoidea, Socratea exorrhiza, Welfia georgii, Catoblastus aequalis). (…). Beetle larvae collected from stem or fruits (Bactris gasipaes, Scheelea sp.). (Balslev, H., and A. Barfod, Ecuadorean palms- an overview. 1987 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: Palma con cuyas hojas se construyen casas improvisadas de pesca en la playa. (...). Madera construcción. (...). Techado. Hojas. (Garzón, N.C., Aproximación etnobotánica en la comunidad Guayabero de Barrancion-Guaviare. 1985 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Orbignya Mart. ex Endl.: Palmera acaule de grandes hojas pinnadas de hasta 4 m. de longitud y que corrientemente, se utilizan para cubrir la parte más elevada del techo de las viviendas, tejiéndolas en "cumbreras". Sus frutos son pequeños y el endospermo inmaturo de las semillas es comestible, teniendo sabor parecido al de coco. Con sus hojas se tejen también "capillejos" o cestas improvisadas para transportar la caza cobrada o "mitayo". (Mejía, K.M., Palmeras y el selvícola amazónico. 1983 (as Orbignya Mart. ex Endl.))
  • Maximiliana Mart.: Planta comestible recolectada. Parte comestible, corazón. (Chirif, A., Salud y nutrición en sociedades nativas. 1978 (as Maximiliana Mart.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: Planta comestible recolectada. Parte comestible, corazón. (Chirif, A., Salud y nutrición en sociedades nativas. 1978 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: Producto empleado en la alimentación. Frutales y otros vegetales. (Huertas, B., Nuestro territorio Kampu Piyawi (Shawi). 2007 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: Se comen su fruto, chonta y zures. (Guallart, J.M., Nomenclatura Jibaro-Aguaruna de Palmeras en el Distrito de Cenepa.. 1968 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: Se consume el endosperma inmaturo oleoso. (Mejía, K., Las palmeras en los mercados de Iquitos. 1992 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: Su cogollo es comestible, su madera sirve para cercos de casas. Cría zures . (Guallart, J.M., Nomenclatura Jibaro-Aguaruna de Palmeras en el Distrito de Cenepa.. 1968 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: Techado de viviendas. (Román, F.J., Especies forestales utilizadas en la construcción de la vivienda tradicional asháninka en el ámbito del Río Perené (Junín, Perú). 2002 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Scheelea H.Karst.: Techado de viviendas. Uso alimenticio. Arbol de espera para la caza. (Román, F.J., Especies forestales utilizadas en la construcción de la vivienda tradicional asháninka en el ámbito del Río Perené (Junín, Perú). 2002 (as Scheelea H.Karst.))
  • Orbignya Mart. ex Endl.: The kernel of the seed is eaten raw. (Glenboski, L.L., The Ethnobotany Of The Tukuna Indians. 1983 (as Orbignya Mart. ex Endl.))
  • Orbignya Mart. ex Endl.: Women build barriers with the leaves of Orbygnia, Attalea or some other large palm, trapping the fish on one end of the swamp. (…). The leaflets of Orbygnia, Euterpe, and Astrocaryum are used to weave floor mats and fans, using a number of differen weave types. (Alexiades, M.N., Ethnobotany of the Ese Ejja: plants, health, and change in an amazonian society. 1999 (as Orbignya Mart. ex Endl.))

Bibliography

A. J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008
B. World Checklist of Arecaceae