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Socratea fusca, Iriartea fusca
Distribution & Habitat:
It is found in the coastal range of Venezuela (Aragua, Carabobo, Distrito Federal, Miranda, Yaracuy) in montane/cloud forest between 1000 and 1800 m. from the western end of the Coastal Cordillera (Yaracuy) eastwards to Guatopo in the Serrania Interior, a distance of some 300 km. It is threatened by deforestation, as the locals are converting the forest into coffee plantations.
A tall, solitary, stilt-rooted palm to 22m tall, with a trunk up to 20cm in diameter, and 4-6 plumose leaves with a compact crownshaft. It has large inflorescences, and horn shaped buds that curve downwards. The stilt roots are very long, starting from several metres above the ground, and are spiney. Very closely related to Iriartea.
The trunks are used by indigenous people for construction and cabinet-making, while the leaves are woven into thatched goods, and the fruit is eaten and made into wine or jelly. The Emberá Indians use the hard, durable trunks for coffins.
Tropical; sunny, moist, but well drained position, and a humus-rich soil.
Dr. Stevens Heckscher (Figures 1&2)