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Origin and Habitat: Atlantic coast of Costa Rica (Limon) (and probably adjacent Nicaragua and Panama) and less commonly Pacific coast of Costa Rica (Puntarenas.
Habitat: This species grows in marshlands and low-lying swampy areas adjacent to the coast, rarely in wet lowland forests to 400 m elevation.
- Bactris militaris H.E.Moore
Bactris militaris H.E.Moore
Gentes Herb. 8: 229 (1951)
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Bactris militaris subs. neomilitaris (de Nevers & A.J.Hend.) Grayum
Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 92: 223 (2003)
- Bactris militaris subs. neomilitaris (de Nevers & A.J.Hend.) Grayum
- Bactris neomilitaris de Nevers & A.J.Hend.
Description: Bactris militaris is a very striking multiple stemmed small palm with short spiny stems and very characteristic undivided leaves also spiny. Extremely rare, and thought to be extinct until recently rediscovered.
Stems: Solitary or clustered, but usually caespitose (growing in tufts or clumps), in tight clumps of 5-20 cane-like stem 3-5 m tall and 2.5-4 cm diameter, and armed with very long, black, needlelike spines.
Leaves (fronds): 6 to 8 per crown, upright, slightly arching, blade simple (completely undivided), a very unusual condition in this genus, dark grey/green, leathery and narrow, stiffly erect, elongate cuneate-oblanceolate in outline, strongly plicate, gradually expanded from a narrowly cuneate base to the bifid apex, without cross-veins; blade to 3 m long, to 25 cm wide at apex of rachis, lateral surfaces of petiole, rachis, and margins of blade sparsely covered with black, terete, spines to 8,5 (or more) cm long, sheath to 37 cm long; ocrea not seen; petiole to 20 cm long; rachis to 2.8 m long;
Inflorescences: Interfoliar erect in flower and fruit with 14-23 flowering branches, not spiny; prophyll; peduncle 20-39 cm long, 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;
Flowers: Inflorescences i 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: Globose to broadly abovoid, indistinct lyrostrate, 1,5-l,7 cm in diameter, 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.
Blooming season: The small white flowers are produced from late April until early July and the attractive red fruits mature from about mid-August until November.
Notes: In Bactris militaris, Bactris wendlandiana, and Hyospathe concinna the leaves are always simple, unlike the pinnate adult leaves of the remaining species in this genera. Normally this persistent juvenile leaves are small, although in Bactris militaris the individual leaves may be 3 metres long.
Bibliography: Major references
1) Andrew Henderson, Gloria Galeano, Rodrigo Bernal. Field Guide to the Palms of the Americas. Princeton University Press, 01/giu/1997. Page 193
2) Don Ellison, Anthony Ellison. Cultivated Palms Of The World. UNSW Press, 01/mag/2001 Page 36.
3) Paul H. Allen. The Rain Forest of Golfo Dulce. Stanford University Press, 1977. Page 133
4) Journal of the Arnold Arboretum - Arnold Arboretum – Vol. 41-42 1960 - Page 423
5) Web: Palmpedia. http://www.palmpedia.net/wiki/Bactris_militaris [accessed on 04-January-2013]
Cultivation and Propagation: This is an excellent understory palm very highly sought after by palm collectors, but scarcely known in cultivation.. It is adapt to warm temperate to tropical climates in humid regions, especially 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 and swamps. 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 10b-12) as
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 militaris.
Propagation: Seeds or division of larger cluster. Seeds germinate in 2 to 4 months and benefit from soaking.
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