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Origin and Habitat: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panamá. Central America to Ecuador W of the Andes.
Altitude: 0-1000 m asl (most often in the Caribbean lowlands, below 500 m).
Habitat: It grows in undergrowth tropical wet and pluvial forests from near the Atlantic to the bases of the Andes. It is a common species.
- Bactris hondurensis Standl.
Bactris hondurensis Standl.
Publ. Field Columb. Mus., Bot. Ser. 8: 4 (1930)
- Bactris hondurensis Standl.
- Bactris paula L.H.Bailey
- Yuyba paula (L.H.Bailey) L.H.Bailey
- Bactris pubescens Burret
- Bactris standleyana Burret
- Bactris villosa H.Wendl. ex Hemsl.
- Bactris wendlandiana Burret
- Bactris obovata H.Wendl.
ENGLISH: Tapir Palm
SPANISH (Español): Pacaya de danta, Biscoyol
Description: Bactris hondurensis (biscoyol) is a small spiny understory but stunning palm, rather a shrub than a tree, with canelike stems and broad, entire leaves that are softly hairy below and have only a few spines.
Stem Slender, solitary or clustering, but usually caespitose (growing in tufts or clumps), (1-)2.5-3(-4) m tall and 0,5-2 cm in diameter most parts very spiny, spines mostly black, sometimes pale, to 16 cm long.
Leaves: 5-9 per stem, alternate, sheet very spiny, generally simple (undivided) with forked tip, petiole16-27 cm long, blade (35-)40-60(-70) cm long and (25-)30-40(-40) cm wide, occasionally irregularly pinnate and then with 1-9 pinnae on each side, 18-23 cm long, 2-4 cm wide, the apical pinnae wider, generally softly white-hairy on the underside, rachis 15-50 cm long, sheath, petiole and rachis with few spines up to 1 cm long, black, interspersed with spines 2-7 cm long, yellow or black, margins with sparce minute spines near apex otherwise spineless.
Flowers: Offwhite. Female flowers scattered along the branches, fruiting perianth with a very small, inconspicuous calyx, and a large, disc-shaped corolla; staminodial ring absent.
Inflorescence: about 10-20 cm long, with spiny prophyll and peduncular bract; 7 cm wide, with (3-)4-6(-7) branches to 3 cm long, bract hairy-spiny, elliptic;
Blooming sesin: Flowering occurs mainly in September-April in Central America and northern South America, but blooms and fruits may appears all year.
Fruit: Fleshy, red orange when ripe, to 1.5 cm wideor more, round.
Remarks: In its habitat it is a very variable plant. Spines: these vary from almost spineless to excessively spiny. Leaf pubescence: these vary from heavy pubescence to almost glabrous. Leaves: although mostly with bifid leaves some has pinnate leaves.
Bibliography: Major references
1) Don Ellison, Anthony Ellison Cultivated Palms Of The World. UNSW Press, 01/mag/2001. Page 35
2) Margaret Gargiullo, Barbara Magnuson, Larry Kimball. A Field Guide to Plants of Costa Rica. Oxford University Press, 07/mar/2008 Page 5
Cultivation and Propagation: This is an excellent understory palm adapt to warm temperate to tropical climates in humid regions, specially along with rainforests and, once established, will grow quite fast and does well in cultivation.
Soil requirements: It has a fibrous root system and benefits from deep organic, acidic, soils that are fertile and well drained but thrives on wide range of tropical soils, like coastal marine alluvial clays, soils of volcanic origin, acid sands and other coastal alluviums and even in seasonally flooded areas. Waterlogged, highly lateritic, extremely sandy, stony or peaty soils should be avoided.
Watering: In cultivation they appreciates abundant waterings. During the summer or warmer months, water frequently to keep the soil from drying out.
Light: Will grow better sheltered, but tolerates morning sun. Seedlings like a more sheltered area.
Fertilization: Need a perfect fertilizer diet including all micro nutrients and trace elements.
Aerosol salt tolerance: It is moderately salt tolerant, but does a lot better inland then it does on the coast.
Hardiness: It needs high temperatures and is suited for tropical or subtropical climate and seedling growth arrested below 15°C. They do not bear temperatures even if just close to 0 °C. Mean maximum temperature of 30-32°C and mean minimum of 21-24°C (USDA Zones 11-12).
Wind hardiness: Will grow better with slow wind.
Garden uses: It is rarely cultivated, but is an excellent understory palm if you can water it a lot.
Warning: Do not plant this palm where children play as the sharp spines are easily capable of breaking the skin, and protection should be worn when working around a Bactris hondurensis.
Propagation: Seeds or division of larger cluster. Seeds germinate in 2 to 4 months and benefit from soaking.
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