Attalea phalerata

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Attalea phalerata
Attalea phalerata population.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Subfamily: Arecoideae
Tribe: Cocoseae
Subtribe: Attaleinae[1]
Genus: Attalea
Species: A. phalerata
Binomial name
Attalea phalerata
Mart. ex Spreng.

Attalea excelsa
Attalea princeps
Scheelea martiana

Attalea phalerata is a species of palm tree known by the English common name urucuri palm, the Portuguese common name urucurizeiro, and the Spanish common name shapaja.[2] Other common names include motacu[3] and bacuri.[4] It is native to Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru,[2] where it grows along southern and western Amazonia.[5] It is the most common palm tree on the Pantanal.[6]

This palm grows up to 18 meters tall. It begins to reproduce at one meter tall, at an age of 7 to 10 years. It produces flowers throughout the year and fruits twice per year. It grows in many types of forests.[7]

This tree is of ecological importance. The seeds are dispersed by tapirs, which swallow the fruits whole,[8] and by rheas, agoutis, spiny rats of genus Clyomys, and caracaras. The hyacinth macaw consumes the seeds and may disperse them, as well.[4] The sheaths of the palm often accumulate the seeds of other plants, which are sometimes deposited there by Artibeus jamaicensis, a frugivorous bat. The seeds sometimes germinate there and grow as epiphytes on the palm tree.[6] This palm tree is commonly pollinated by sap beetles of genus Mystrops and weevils of tribe Madarini.[9] The weevil Pachymerus cardo is known to be a seed predator on this species.[8]

The tree has human uses. The leaves are used to thatch rooftops and the fruits are fed to pigs and other livestock.[3] It is a source of vegetable oil.[10] This is "economically the most important palm species in Bolivia".[7]

Rhodinus stali, an insect which is a vector of Chagas disease, may infest this tree.[3]


  1. ^ Dransfield, John; Natalie W. Uhl; Conny B. Asmussen; William J. Baker; Madeline M. Harley; Carl E. Lewis (2005). "A New Phylogenetic Classification of the Palm Family, Arecaceae". Kew Bulletin. 60 (4): 559–69. JSTOR 25070242. 
  2. ^ a b "Attalea phalerata". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c Justi, S. A., et al. (2010). Infestation of peridomestic Attalea phalerata palms by Rhodnius stali, a vector of Trypanosoma cruzi in the Alto Beni, Bolivia. Tropical Medicine and International Health 15(6) 727-32.
  4. ^ a b Galetti, M. and P. R. Guimarães Jr. (2004). Seed dispersal of Attalea phalerata (Palmae) by Crested caracaras (Caracara plancus) in the Pantanal and a review of frugivory by raptors. Ararajuba 12(2) 133-35.
  5. ^ Choo, J., et al. (2010). Characterization of 14 microsatellite loci in a tropical palm, Attelea phalerata (Arecaceae). American Journal of Botany e105-e106.
  6. ^ a b Corrêa, C. E., et al. (2012). Seed banks on Attalea phalerata (Arecaceae) stems in the Pantanal wetland, Brazil. Annals of Botany 109 729-34.
  7. ^ a b Barthlott, W. and M. Winiger. Biodiversity: A Challenge for Development Research and Policy. Springer 2001.
  8. ^ a b Quiroga-Castro, V. D. and A. I. Roldán. (2001). The fate of Attalea phalerata (Palmae) seeds dispersed to a tapir latrine. Biotropica 33(3) 472-77.
  9. ^ Fava, W. S., et al. (2011). Attalea phalerata and Bactris glaucescens (Arecaceae, Arecoideae): Phenology and pollination ecology in the Pantanal, Brazil. Flora - Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants 206(6) 575-84.
  10. ^ R., M. Moraes., et al. (1996). Notes on the biology and uses of the Motacú Palm (Attalea phalerata, Arecaceae) from Bolivia. Economic Botany 50(4) 423-28.