Select. Stirp. Amer. Hist. 280 (1763)
Medium sized to large, dioecious palms. Stem solitary, short and creeping, or tall, rough-ringed or covered with persistent leaf bases. Leaves pinnate, regularly divided; petiole with fibre-spines along the margin; pinnae regularly inserted regularly or grouped, spreading in one or several planes. Inflorescences interfoliar, barely emerging from the sheath of the supporting leaf, once branched, with a short peduncle; branches numerous, crowded on a relatively short rachis. Male flowers with 3 free sepals, 3 free petals, 6 stamens with united filaments, and a small pistillode. Female flowers with 3 free, overlapping sepals and 3 similar petals, 6 staminodes united into a low ring, and 3 united carpels. Infructescence compact, borne on a short peduncle; fruits medium sized, orange, red, or black, with a bony endocarp with three apical germination pores. Seedling leaves narrow and entire.
and diversity: Two species, one native to W Africa but introduced and cultivated in plantations in most parts of the tropics, the other native to tropical America.
The genus forms a rather isolated and probably old group within the tribe Cocoeae
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