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Distribution & Habitat:
It is endemic to the Atlantic Coast of Brazil, where it grows in coastal sand dunes, just above the high tide mark. It occurs on white sandy soils from sea level to 100m.
A small palm to about 2m (6 ft) with a branching, subterranean trunk. It has arched pinnate leaves, spineless, that are bright green above and silver below. The inflorescence comes from the middle of the plant, with cream or pale yellow flower clusters. The flowers often attract bees and beetles. It has small, orange fruit, that dries out quickly.
It is cultivated extensively in South America for the edible fruits which are eaten fresh or made into a drink. The leaves are used to make baskets and other woven objects.
Requires a very sandy, well drained position in full sun. It likes a lot of moisture, but needs very good drainage. It is one of the most salt tolerant palms, and does well grown right on the beach. It is extremely slow growing however,especially when young.
Rolf Kyburz (Figure 1&2)
Ian Edwards (Figure 3)