In A.D. d’Orbigny, Voy. Amér. Mér. 7(3) 10 (1842)
Canopy palm. Stems solitary, or rarely clustered and then few together, to 20 m tall, 15-30 cm in diameter. Leaves to 4 m long; crownshaft yellowish green; petiole green, glabrous; pinnae numerous, regularly inserted, narrow, strongly pendulous, the central ones 50-85 cm long and 2-3 cm wide. Inflorescence erect, with axis 40-100 cm long; branches to 200, usually confined to the lower (abaxial) side of the rachis, 30-80 cm long, 3-5 mm in diameter, densely covered with whitish hairs. Fruits black, globose, ca. 1.5 cm in diameter. Endosperm homogeneous. Seedling leaves pinnately divided, the first ones with 2 pinnae on each side, appearing palmate.
Central America to Bolivia, up to 2000 m elevation. In Ecuador it occurs on both sides of the Andes, on terra firme, or east of the Andes also on poorly drained soil.
Two varieties are recognised, both of which occur in Ecuador.
The hair is washed with a decoction of smashed roots – it makes it grow well and stay black and also prevent pregnant women from losing their hair
The palm heart is edible
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