Bactris campestris Poepp., Hist. Nat. Palm. 2: 146 (1837)

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Northeastern South America in eastern Colombia (Caqueta, Vichada), Venezuela (Amazonas, Delta Amacuro), the Guianas, Trinidad and Tobago, and Brazil (Amapa, Amazonas, Maranhao, Pará, Roraima); (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A


  • Open areas, white-sand savannas or in low forest on white sand, generally in poorly drained places, at 10-420(-800) m elevation. (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A


  • Bactris campestris is diagnosed by its grayish brown (darker at base and apex), strongly flattened leaf spines, reddish brown tomentum of the inflorescence, and small, globose, red or orange-red fruits. It is further distinguished by its open, savanna habitat. It varies considerably in the size of all its parts, and plants from forest margins are usually much larger than those from open areas. Synonymy was established by Wessels Boer (1965, 1988). (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A

Common Name

  • Brazil: mumbaca branca. Suriname: kiskismaka. Venezuela: cubarro, ibasabasa (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A


  • The palm heart is mixed with water and placed on the tongue to treat rattlesnake bites (Strudwick et al. 4667). (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A


  • Stems cespitose, in small clumps, 1-5 m tall, 3-4 cm diam., often covered with persistent, decaying leaf bases.
    Leaves 2-5; leaf spines somewhat clustered, grayish brown, darker at base and apex, strongly flattened, occasionally spinulose and tomentose, 2(-4) cm long, dense on sheath and petiole, fewer on abaxial surface of rachis, rarely few and then only on sheath; sheath 24-50 cm long, sheath, petiole, and rachis often gray-tomentose, with reddish brown or black scales; ocrea to 10 cm long; petiole 15-90 cm long; rachis 0.6-1.1 m long; pinnae 17-32, irregularly arranged in clusters of 2-5, spreading in different planes, linear, Iinear-lanceolate, or oblanceolate, unequally bifid at apex; middle pinnae 26-52 x 1.5-5 cm.
    Inflorescences interfoliar; peduncle 13-20 cm long, recurved, spiny or not spiny; prophyll 11-20 cm long; peduncular bract 26-40 cm long, densely gray-or brown-tomentose, covered with gray or brown spines to 1.5 cm long; rachis 1-6 cm long; rachillae 8-39, 5-15 cm long, at anthesis covered with dense, reddish brown moniliform trichomes and flexuous trichomes; triads irregularly arranged among paired or solitary staminate flowers; staminate flowers 3-4 mm long, deciduous; sepal lobes 0.5 mm long; petals 3-3.5 mm long; stamens 6; pistillode absent; pistillate flowers 3-3.5 mm long; calyx annular, 0.3-0.5 mm long; corolla tubular, 2.5-3 rum long, sometimes covered with trichomes; staminodes absent; fruits 0.5-1 cm diam., depressed-globose, red or orange-red; mesocarp starchy; endocarp turbinate, the sterile pores slightly displaced longitudinally; endocarp fibers few, free; fruiting perianth with small calyx and broadly 3-lobed corolla, without staminodial ring. (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)A


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