Parajubaea torallyi

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Figure 1. P. torallyi


Common Names:

Palma chico,
Palma del janchicoco or singly "coco",
Bolivian mountain coconut


It only grows in sandstone ravines of the mountains of central Bolivia, in two aisled interandean valleys "palmar" and "palmarcito" of approx. 14 kmts. diameter and others smaller, both at approximately 2500 mts. above sea level, where it grows protected from winds in a big hole and slopes with a special microclimate. Despite it being very dry with rain in only 2-4 months of the year, the ravines themselves are very humid. It is the only large plant that grows in the area.

It has been found growing at altitudes of 3400 mtrs which makes this the highest elevation palm in the world.

Even if the area where it grows is protected, the species is every day most endangered, mostly by locals that extract the seed endosperms that are edible and sold in markets of the nearly cities and towns.

Figure 2. P. torallyi


Feather palm to about 14m high, with arching leaves up to 5m long. Is a monster palm, similar to Jubaea in diameter of the massive trunk. Leaves are larger and green. Fruits and seeds are considerably bigger. A bear that just lived in the Andes was very important in the spread of the species. This bear is nearly extinct in the area today.


A impressive palm rarely seen, just a few of this palms grow in cultivation near to its habitat, most in public parks. Many trials of transplanting near to its habitat have failed. It could be usefull as a garden plant in interior Australia and USA, but is still very scarce.


Rare in cultivation is indicated for cool, cold and specialy dry places. Cold and drought tolerant. Fast growth palm that slows its growth speed in warmest days of summer. Seeds germinate, after presoak, erraticaly from 4 months to some years (for more information see germination). Seedlings are robust of entire leaves and grow quickly after its first pinnate leaf. The palms like rich soil (humus), good drainage and well watered for good growth speed. Some cultivated palms in clay produce smaller fruits and seeds. The most cold tolerant, hardy and fastest growing of the Parajubaeas.

Figure 3. P. torallyi in Bolivia

Contributed by:

Gaston Torres Vera,
Cordoba, Argentina (Figure 1,2&3) (Images copyright Argentina Palms)

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, eMonocot, JSTOR, Trebrown

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk