Siona: “Be-to”. Spanish: “Coco”, “Chambira”. A solitary tree growing along Ro Cuyabeno 1/2 hour downstream from Laguna Grande in a place which is sometimes flooded (mixed white and black water). The base on a mound 130 cm wide and 35 cm high of roots and litter. Trunk somewhat bulbous, 50 cm in diam at the base, 32 cm in diam 1 m up and 31 cm in diam below the crown at 8 m above the ground; internodes 15-20 cm long at the base, with black dorsiventrally flattened spines that point downwards, and are dorsiventrally flattened; leaf scars to 15 cm wide, without spines. Crown of ca 10 somewhat erect leaves; petiole 350 cm long, sheating the trunk for about 10 cm, evenlytapering towards the blade where it is 6 cm wide, abaxially green with large spines, adaxially brown, smooth, spineless; blade 510 x 280 cm with 146 pinnae on each side, these leaving the rachis at different angles so the blade has a “fussy” look. Inflorescence 4, intrafoliar, all in different fruiting stages; peduncle oval in cross section, ca 180 cm long, 10 cm wide, green, spiny; prophyll not observed, hidden among leafbases, spathe fallen off, leaving only a scar on the peduncle; fruiting part 140 x 40 cm with many sidebranches carrying 1-3 fruits each. Uses: The young leaves (before they expand) are collected and a fiber is extracted from the adaxial side just below the epidermis (apparently), the fibers are left to dry? for about a day and are then twined? (rolling them on the leg). The fibers are used to make hamocks, fishing net baskets (chigras or turu-b in Siona). The midvein of the pinnae from which the fiber was made is used to make a brown. The fruits are cut open and the liquid inside is drunk and the “meat” (firm part of endosperm) is eaten.
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