Bactris fissifrons Mart., Hist. Nat. Palm. 2: 103 (1826)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Brazil North present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Colombia present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Ecuador present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Peru present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Western Amazon region in Colombia (Amazonas, Putumayo, Vaupes), Ecuador (Napo, Sucumbfos), Peru (Loreto) and Brazil (western Amazonas) (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A


  • Lowland forest in well-drained areas, especially on river terraces, at 100-265 m elevation. (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A


  • Bactris fissifrons is diagnosed by its 2-5(-7), 13-15 cm long, to 5 mm diameter rachillae, and obovoid, elongate-rostrate, yellowish fruits that become purpleblack. On most specimens, the basal and apical pinnae are usually much wider than the others, and widely separated from them. As noted by Burret (19331934), both Trail (1877) and Drude (1881) reported that B. aristata (here treated as a synonym of B. fissifrons) had a staminodial ring. However, Trail based this on a specimen (Trail 855/LXVII) that is actually a variant of B. major. Drude followed Trail?s mistake. The type of B. aristata at M has no fruits, but the locality, leaves, and description match B. gissifrons. For similarities with B. corossilla see discussion under that species.
    Two specimens, (Peru. Pasco: Prov. Oxapampa, Palcazu Valley, between Iscozacín and Villa America, 10°12'S, 75°13'W, 300 m, D. Smith 3860 (MO); Prov. Oxapampa, Palcazu Valley, Iscozacín, 10°12'S, 75°15?' 380 m, 10 Jan 1984, R. Foster et al. 7859 (MO, NY) were previously identified as Bactris maraja var. juruensis by Henderson (1995). These somewhat resemble B. fissifrons, but are from outside the geographic range of that species, and are somewhat different in their leaves and fruits. More collections are needed to determine the species to which these belong. (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A

Common Name

  • Colombia: chontilla, cubarro, sitanó (Andoke), yachoro. Ecuador: chontilla del selva, huati-wí (Siona). Peru: ca-újico (Bora). (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A


  • Stems cespitose, forming small clumps of up to 10 or more stems, 1.7-3 m tall, 1-3 cm diam.
    Leaves 4-12; leaf spines somewhat clustered, black or dark brown, terete, to 4 cm long, moderate on lateral surfaces of sheath, dense on adaxial surfaces of petiole, usually absent from rachis; sheath 22-50 cm long; ocrea to 15 cm long, entire and persistent; petiole 28-44 cm long; rachis 0.4-1.1 m long; pinnae 2-3(-24) per side, irregularly arranged in clusters or almost regularly arranged, spreading in the same or slightly different planes, Iinear-lanceolate, with long, filamentous apex, the basal and apical pinnae usually much wider than the others and widely separated, with small spines on margins, with prominent veins adaxially; middle pinnae 33-58 x 2.5-10 cm.
    Inflorescences interfoliar; peduncle 10-25 cm long, recurved, not spiny; prophyll 14-23 cm long; peduncular bract 22-35 cm long, striate abaxially, sparsely to moderately covered with black spines to 1.5 cm long; rachis 0-3.5 cm long; rachillae 2-5(-7),12-17 cm long, to 5 mm diam. in fruit; triads irregularly arranged among paired or solitary staminate flowers, the bracteoles prominent; staminate flowers 5.5-7.5 mm long, deciduous; sepal lobes 1.5-3 mm long; petals 5.5-6.5 mm long; stamens 6; pistillode absent; pistillate flowers to 7.5 mm long; calyx tubular, 3-5 mm long; corolla tubular, 3-5.5 mm long, minutely spinulose; fruits 2-3 x 1.5-2 cm, obovoid or pyriform, elongaterostrate, yellowish, becoming purple-black, glabrous or minutely spinulose at apex; mesocarp juicy; endocarp obovoid, the sterile pores displaced longitudinally, the fertile pore displaced latitudinally; endocarp fibers free, numerous, with juice sacs attached; fruiting perianth with irregularly lobed calyx and irregularly lobed, glabrous or minutely spinulose corolla, without staminodial ring. (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A

Use Record

  • Bactris fissifrons Mart.: Objetos para actividades agrícolas, caza y pesca. Objetos para almacenar, transportar y procesar alimentos. Atuendos y accesorios corporales. Construcciones. (Cadena-Vargas, C., M. Diazgranados-Cadelo, and H. Bernal-Malagón 2007: Plantas útiles para la elaboración de artesanías de la comunidad indígena Monifue Amena (Amazonas, Colombia))
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    Utensils and ToolsHunting and fishingNot specifiedIndigenousNot specifiedColombia
    Utensils and ToolsDomesticNot specifiedIndigenousNot specifiedColombia
    CulturalPersonal adornmentNot specifiedIndigenousNot specifiedColombia
    ConstructionOtherNot specifiedIndigenousNot specifiedColombia


    A. Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000
    B. World Checklist of Arecaceae