Acrocomia aculeata

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Figure 1. A. aculeata in south-east Queensland.



Many (most of the 30 or so species of Acrocomia are now just considered variants of this species). A. chonta, A. chunta, A. totai

Local Names:

Mbocaya, Coquito

Common Names:

Macaw Palm,
Macauba Palm,
Grugru Palm

Distribution & Habitat:

Found in open forest between Mexico and Argentina.


A large, viciously spined, solitary palm to about 15m, with a grey trunk, black spines, and long, plumose leaves.


The habitats of Acrocomia aculeata in Argentina, is located inside great forest in the north of the country, especially in the frontier with Bolivia and along the Rivers Paraguay and Parana (see the map).

In some habitats of the NW of the province of Corrientes only this species grows, but in other habitats of the center west of Corrientes, it grows mixed with Butia yatay and Syagrus romanzoffiana and in the Province of Misiones, it grows mixed with Allagoptera campestris and Syagrus romanzoffiana. In the east of Chaco and Formosa provinces it grows mixed with Copernicia alba and S. romanzoffiana.

The trunk, rachis, leaves and fruits is covered by long, hard and black spines, and that which, is the reason so that it is not appreciated for cultivation in gardens and parks. However, it is commonly grown in cities and gardens.

The fruits are green and yellow when they mature and seeds germinate very slowly when fresh.

The Acrocomia looks like Syagrus romanzoffiana but with a shorter canopy and spines. It tolerates cold, and the pulp of their big fruit is edible when is mature and is called by the local people "candies of the indians".

The latitude 29° 30' S is, approximately, the southern limit of this species and tolerate cold to -5°C


A very hardy palm, growing as far south as Sydney (in protected pockets). Likes full sun, and lots of water, but good drainage. Seed takes up to 6 months to germinate, and seedlings are very slow.

Figure 2. Looking into the canpoy.

Figure 3. Trunk close-up (you just want to give it a good cuddle, don't you :)

Acrocomia aculeata03.jpg
Figure 4. Approximate location of A. aculeata habitat in Argentina.

Contributed by:

Mike Gray (Text)
Dr. Hugh Kunze, (Figures 1,2&3).

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, JSTOR, Trebrown

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk