Ruiz & Pav.


Fl. Peruv. Prodr. 149 (1794)

Giant, monoecious palms. Stem solitary, tall, smooth, thickened in the middle. Base with a tall, dense cone of black stil troots. Leaves pinnate, regularly divided; leaf sheaths closed, forming a conspicuous crownshaft; pinnae jagged at the apex, in mature palms longitudinally divided into a number of relatively broad segments that point in all directions; apical leaf segment entire. Inflorescence buds one per node, curved, covered by several peduncular bracts. Inflorescence once branched, with a short curved axis, and numerous long, pendulous, cream coloured branches. Flowers unisexual, borne in groups of one female and two males, or distally on the inflorescence branches as paired or solitary male flowers. Male flowers large, to 1 cm across, with 3 free sepals, 3 free or basally united petals, 9-20 stamens, and a small pistillode. Female flowers much smaller than the males, with a similar perianth, up to 12 staminodes, and 3 united carpels. Fruit small to medium sized, globose, bluish black, ca. 3 cm in diameter, with apical stigmatic residue; seed dark, globose, with flattened fibres.

and diversity:
A single, widespread species distributed throughout the humid lowland Neotropics.