Oenocarpus Mart.

Kingdom: Plantae Rank: Genus Parent: Arecaceae Status: Valid

Vegetative Morphology

Habit: Palms to 20 m tall. Solitary or clustered.

Main axis: Numerous small, slender aerial roots at the base of the trunk.

Leaves: Leaves pinnate with many pairs of pinnae, shorter at the apex, in one plane, erect, often glaucous below. The rachis to 7 m long. Petiole with black fibers that are abundant along the margin.

Reproductive Morphology

Inflorescence: Inflorescence bract (spathe) to 1.6 m.

Fruit: Fruit round, sessile, black. Mesocarp thin.

Infructescence: Infructescence to 100 cm. Calyx persistent.

Seeds: Seed one per fruit.


Uses: The fruits are used to prepare beverages and in some species they produce one of the finest vegetable oils in the world. The roots are reportedly medicinal. The leaves are used as thatch in rural construction.

Distribution: Costa Rica to Peru and Bolivia, to 1400 m in elevation.