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Useful Tropical Plants

Attalea funifera

Mart. ex Spreng.

Arecaceae

+ Synonyms

Attalea acaulis Burret

Lithocarpos cocciformis O.Targ.Tozz. ex Steud.

Sarinia funifera (Mart.) O.F.Cook

Common Name: Bahia Piassava

Attalea funifera
Developing fruits near base of the plant
Photograph by: Alex Popovkin, Bahia, Brazil
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Attalea funifera Attalea funifera Attalea funifera

General Information

Bahia piassava is a large palm tree with a solitary, unbranched stem that can be 25 - 30cm in diameter, and a plumose head of up to 30 large leaves that are held erect in a shuttlecock-like crown[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
]. It can grow 12 - 15 metres in height with leaves that can be up to 12 metres long[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
].
The plant yields a very high quality fibre. It is commonly harvested from the wild both for local use and also for export[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
768
Title
Field Guide to the Palms of the Americas
Publication
 
Author
Henderson A.; Galeano G.; Bernal R.
Publisher
Princeton University Press; Princeton, New Jersey.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-691-08537-4
Description
An excellent book, giving basic information on all the 550 species of palms native to the Americas that were known in 1995. Comprehensive information on the plants range and habitat, brief description, some uses and almost 250 photos.
,
769
Title
A Taxonomic Treatment of the Palm Subtribe Attaleinae (Tribe Cocoeae)
Publication
Illinois Biological Monographs 59
Author
Glassman S.F.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
University of Illinois Press; Chicago.
Year
1999
ISBN
0-252-06786-X
Description
An in depth treatment of the Palm Subtribe Attaleinae. As well as a detailed study of the species, it also mentions various of their uses.

Range

S. America - northeastern Brazil.

Habitat

Mainly found in dry forests along the north-eastern coast of Brazil[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
]. Stabilized sand dunes by the sea and Atlantic coastal forest[
768
Title
Field Guide to the Palms of the Americas
Publication
 
Author
Henderson A.; Galeano G.; Bernal R.
Publisher
Princeton University Press; Princeton, New Jersey.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-691-08537-4
Description
An excellent book, giving basic information on all the 550 species of palms native to the Americas that were known in 1995. Comprehensive information on the plants range and habitat, brief description, some uses and almost 250 photos.
, ].

Properties

Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height15.00 m
PollinatorsBees, Beetles, Flies
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 400 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 25°c, but can tolerate 18 - 30°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It can be killed by temperatures of 5°c or lower[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,800 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 1,500 - 2,400mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Prefers a moist soil and a warm, sunny position[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 5.5, tolerating 4.5 - 6.5[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The seedlings grow down into the soil for 3 - 4 years, producing a stem below ground to a depth of 100 - 150cm. After a few more years a trunk may begin to form at ground level[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Young plants generally produce inflorescences with male flowers, whilst older, taller plants are more likely to produce female inflorescences[
768
Title
Field Guide to the Palms of the Americas
Publication
 
Author
Henderson A.; Galeano G.; Bernal R.
Publisher
Princeton University Press; Princeton, New Jersey.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-691-08537-4
Description
An excellent book, giving basic information on all the 550 species of palms native to the Americas that were known in 1995. Comprehensive information on the plants range and habitat, brief description, some uses and almost 250 photos.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

A good oil is produced from the seed[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
769
Title
A Taxonomic Treatment of the Palm Subtribe Attaleinae (Tribe Cocoeae)
Publication
Illinois Biological Monographs 59
Author
Glassman S.F.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
University of Illinois Press; Chicago.
Year
1999
ISBN
0-252-06786-X
Description
An in depth treatment of the Palm Subtribe Attaleinae. As well as a detailed study of the species, it also mentions various of their uses.
]. It can be used for oiling watches and other fine instruments[
769
Title
A Taxonomic Treatment of the Palm Subtribe Attaleinae (Tribe Cocoeae)
Publication
Illinois Biological Monographs 59
Author
Glassman S.F.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
University of Illinois Press; Chicago.
Year
1999
ISBN
0-252-06786-X
Description
An in depth treatment of the Palm Subtribe Attaleinae. As well as a detailed study of the species, it also mentions various of their uses.
].
An oil is obtained from the fruit[
769
Title
A Taxonomic Treatment of the Palm Subtribe Attaleinae (Tribe Cocoeae)
Publication
Illinois Biological Monographs 59
Author
Glassman S.F.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
University of Illinois Press; Chicago.
Year
1999
ISBN
0-252-06786-X
Description
An in depth treatment of the Palm Subtribe Attaleinae. As well as a detailed study of the species, it also mentions various of their uses.
].

A long fibre obtained from the leaves is used for various purposes[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].
This palm is widely used locally for its high quality, stiff fibres which are used in making ropes, mats, and brushes[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
]. The fibre is strong, and hard and it does not absorb moisture easily[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
].

A fibre obtained from the dilated base of the leaf stalks, which separates into a long, coarse fringe, is collected by cutting with a small axe. The fibre is stiff, wiry, and a bright chocolate in colour. It is employed in the manufacture of brushes, these are largely used on street-sweeping machines, particularly in London. The fibres can be twisted into coarse cables, which are light, durable and float on the water[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Fibre from young, undeveloped plants, known as 'bananeiras' is bright coloured and more flexible[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Fibre from fully matured plants is separated into three qualities:-
(1) Ordinary fibre, which is found wound up among the broken leaves and the upper part of the trunk.
(2) Balloon, formed by the older fibre which has fallen to the ground around the base of the trunk.
(3) Piassava d'olho, or 'eye piassava', which is the latest growth, and is in all respects similar to that yielded by the 'bananeiras'. The latter, on account of its flexibility and colour, is chiefly used in tying the bales. Its yield is small[
454
Title
Useful Fiber Plants of the World
Publication
 
Author
Dodge C.R.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
USDA; Washington.
Year
1897
ISBN
 
Description
A rather dated, but very comprehensive catalogue of fibre plants from around the world. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The leaves are used for thatching[
768
Title
Field Guide to the Palms of the Americas
Publication
 
Author
Henderson A.; Galeano G.; Bernal R.
Publisher
Princeton University Press; Princeton, New Jersey.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-691-08537-4
Description
An excellent book, giving basic information on all the 550 species of palms native to the Americas that were known in 1995. Comprehensive information on the plants range and habitat, brief description, some uses and almost 250 photos.
].

The seeds can be used to carve buttons and beads for rosaries etc[
769
Title
A Taxonomic Treatment of the Palm Subtribe Attaleinae (Tribe Cocoeae)
Publication
Illinois Biological Monographs 59
Author
Glassman S.F.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
University of Illinois Press; Chicago.
Year
1999
ISBN
0-252-06786-X
Description
An in depth treatment of the Palm Subtribe Attaleinae. As well as a detailed study of the species, it also mentions various of their uses.
].

The fruits have been used to make a good quality charcoal[
769
Title
A Taxonomic Treatment of the Palm Subtribe Attaleinae (Tribe Cocoeae)
Publication
Illinois Biological Monographs 59
Author
Glassman S.F.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
University of Illinois Press; Chicago.
Year
1999
ISBN
0-252-06786-X
Description
An in depth treatment of the Palm Subtribe Attaleinae. As well as a detailed study of the species, it also mentions various of their uses.
].

Propagation

Seed -

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