Attalea acaulis Burret
Lithocarpos cocciformis O.Targ.Tozz. ex Steud.
Sarinia funifera (Mart.) O.F.Cook
Common Name: Bahia Piassava
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[
]. It can grow 12 - 15 metres in height with leaves that can be up to 12 metres long[
The plant yields a very high quality fibre. It is commonly harvested from the wild both for local use and also for export[
S. America - northeastern Brazil.
Mainly found in dry forests along the north-eastern coast of Brazil[
]. Stabilized sand dunes by the sea and Atlantic coastal forest[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Pollinators||Bees, Beetles, Flies
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[
]. It can be killed by temperatures of 5°c or lower[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,800 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 1,500 - 2,400mm[
Prefers a moist soil and a warm, sunny position[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 5.5, tolerating 4.5 - 6.5[
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[
Young plants generally produce inflorescences with male flowers, whilst older, taller plants are more likely to produce female inflorescences[
A good oil is produced from the seed[
]. It can be used for oiling watches and other fine instruments[
An oil is obtained from the fruit[
A long fibre obtained from the leaves is used for various purposes[
This palm is widely used locally for its high quality, stiff fibres which are used in making ropes, mats, and brushes[
]. The fibre is strong, and hard and it does not absorb moisture easily[
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[
Fibre from young, undeveloped plants, known as 'bananeiras' is bright coloured and more flexible[
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[
The leaves are used for thatching[
The seeds can be used to carve buttons and beads for rosaries etc[
The fruits have been used to make a good quality charcoal[
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