Bactris Jacq. ex Scop.

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

Vegetative Morphology

Habit: Palms 1-20 m tall.

Main axis: Stems solitary or caespitose forming small or large colonies, armed with spines or unarmed. Sometimes the spines form black or yellow rings around the stem.

Leaves: Leaves very variable, pinnate, generally only entire in the apex or sometimes entire and bifid in the apex. Pinnae sometimes arranged in groups of 2-4, disorganized, with or without small spines in the margin. Some species with very acuminate pinnae. Rachis to 4 m, with or without spines.

Reproductive Morphology

Inflorescence: Bract generally covered with small black spines.

Fruit: Fruit sessile, elongate when clustered or round when in racemes, black, orange, yellow, or red, armed with short spines or unarmed. Mesocarp fleshy, juicy or dry. Calyx persistent.

Infructescence: Infructescence to 40 cm, sometimes emerging from the soil at the stem base, usually erect. Peduncle and bract armed with spines or unarmed.

Seeds: Seed 1 per fruit, with tree pores close to the middle.


Uses: Some species have edible fruits, and the wood is sometimes used to make bows.

Distribution: Mexico and Guianas to Bolivia and Paraguay, to 1800 m in elevation.