Hist. nat. palm. 2: 92 (1826)
Understorey palm. Stems solitary or clustered, 0.1-1.5 m long, 3-6 cm in diameter. Leaf blade 60-310 cm long, simple or with (3-)12-33 pinnae on each side, grouped and spreading in slightly different planes, the central ones 20-60 cm long and 3-10 cm wide, with prominent, oblique cross veins. Inflorescence 12-30 cm long; branches 10-50, to 12 cm long, very slender, ca. 1 mm in diameter. Female flowers nearly regularly arranged along the branches. Fruit orange-red, globose, 1-2.5 cm in diameter, with scattered, thin spines; fruiting perianth with a short 3-lobed calyx and a longer, 3-lobed corolla; staminodial ring absent.
Widespread in the Amazon region.
Four varieties are recognised.
The Ecuadorian plants belong to var. exscapa characterised by having a 1-3 m long leaf blade usually divided into more than 20 lanceolate pinnae per side, each 45-60 cm long, and a non-spinulose peduncle.
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