Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Oenocarpus bataua
Mart., Arecaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  no

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  Evaluate, score: 2 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Jessenia bataua (Mart.) Burret; Jessenia oligocarpa Griseb. & H. Wendl.; Jessenia polycarpa H. Karst.; Oenocarpus oligocarpus (Griseb. & H. Wendl.) Wess. Boer

Common name(s): [more details]

English: bataua palm, kumbu, pataua palm

Spanish: patabá, seje, ungurahui

Habit:  tree

Description:  "Only in age the columnar stems smooth when 20 meters high or higher, 2 dm. in diameter, in youth more or less marked by or enclosed in the spiniform remnants of the leaf-sheaths; leaves 8-10, crowded, erect-spreading, 10 meters long or longer, the equally distant segments linear-lanceolate, mostly about 2 meters long, 1 dm. wide; spadices few, 1-2 meters long, the many branches fastigiate, strict, incrassate above; lower spathe half as long as upper, extended into a fuscous tomentose mucro; male petals ovate-oblong, subacute; fruit violet-purplish, cylindric-ellipsoid (stigmas nearly on the rounded apex), 3-3.5 cm. long, 2-2.25 cm. in diameter, the oblong seed acute at both ends"  (MacBride, 1960; 13(1/2):379-380).

"Canopy palm. Stem solitary, to 20 m tall and 20-40 cm in diameter, smooth. Leaves erect, forming a funnel shaped crown, to 10 m long; sheath open to base, with abundant black, stout fibres at the margins, intermixed with brown, wooly fibres; pinnae 100 or more on each side, one-ribbed, 1-1.5 m long, more or less pendulous. Inflorescence once branched, with numerous pendulous branches, to 1.2 m long, borne on a very short axis. Fruits elongate, purple when ripe, pointed at apex, 2.5-4 cm long"  (Borchsenius, 1998, in Palmweb).

Habitat/ecology:  "Moist forest areas below 1000 m elevation. Occasionally the palm is found up to 1350 m"  (Borchsenius, 1998, in Palmweb).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  Trinidad & Tobago, Panama, northern and western South America, Brazil (GRIN).


Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental) introduced
Randall, R. P. (2007) (p. 334)
Central America
Central America (Pacific rim)
Panama (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Colombia native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Ecuador (Republic of) (continental) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Perú (Republic of) native
Macbride, J. Francis (1936) (pp. 13(1/2):379-380)
As Jessenia bataua (Mart.) Burret

Control:  If you know of control methods for Oenocarpus bataua, please let us know.

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This page was created on 26 OCT 2012 and was last updated on 30 OCT 2012.