Syagrus cearensis Noblick
  • Palms (1999+) 48: 73 (2004) 

Notes: Distribution: NE. Brazil

General Description

Unarmed, solitary or clustering palm in clusters of usually 2–4 stems growing in one plane, to multistemmed clusters. Trunk to 4–10 m tall and 10–18 cm diam., internodes 9–16 cm long at the base and shortening to 2–7 cm long towards the apex, producing a rough trunk with slightly stepped nodes. Leaves 10–15 in crown, leaf sheath together with petiole ca. 90–100 cm long, sheathing leaf base 18 cm long or more, ca. 18 cm wide at the base, fibrous with papery membrane disintegrating between the fine principal warp fibers, persisting along the margins of the pseudopetiole (apparent petiole); true petiole absent or to 2 cm long and 4 cm wide by 2 cm thick, but often smaller, channeled adaxially, often with a raised central ridge, rounded abaxially, pseudopetiole (true petiole plus part of the sheath) ca. 40–50 cm long; rachis 2.3–3.2 m long, a fine light brown to grayish indument covering the abaxial side of the sheath, continuing up the abaxial side of the petiole and sometimes onto the lower portion of the leaf rachis, the upper parts of the leaf rachis becoming glabrous with age; leaflets medium green color becoming lighter when dried, concolorous, adaxial surface with prominently raised transverse veins when dried, leaflets ca. 100–130 along one side, irregularly distributed in loose clusters of 2–5 along rachis and inserted in divergent planes, ramenta absent, tomentum absent at leaflet insertion and along the abaxial midvein; basal leaflets 80–95 cm long by 2–2.5 cm wide, middle leaflets 68–100 cm long and 3–4 cm wide, apical leaflets 31 cm long and 0.4 cm wide, usually one lobe of the asymmetric tip attenuate, the other rounded, occasionally both rounded. Androgynous inflorescences interfoliar, 45–85 cm from the first basal primary branch to the apex; prophyll ca. 30–45 cm long; peduncular bract woody, sulcate, exterior covered with a thin indumentum, ca. 102–115 cm or more long including a beak 4–11 cm long, expanded or inflated portion 50–74 cm long, 13–16 cm diam. and a 14–26 cm perimeter and 1–3 mm thickness; peduncle ca. 40–80 cm long, somewhat flattened in cross-section, 2.5–3 × 1.5–2.5 cm diam., sparsely lepidote; rachis 33–60 cm long, primary branches 35–45, glabrous, 9–17 cm long at the apex, 30–50 (–106) cm at the base, 11–13 mm diam. at the base and 2–3 mm diameter at the tip, each primary branch, especially the lower ones, subtended by a deltoid rachis bract ca. 5 mm long, pistillate portion 12–16 cm long with 10–22 pistillate flowers or fruits per primary branch, staminate portion 16–20 cm long. Staminate flowers yellow, arranged in triads with pistillate flowers on the lower portion or in dyads or singly on the upper portion of the primary branch, 12–21 × 5–7 mm, sepals and petals 3; sepals (3–)5–6 × 0.5–1 mm, strongly keeled and slightly connate at the base; petals valvate, 12–20 × 4–5 mm with acute tips, nerves indistinct; stamens 6, 6–8 mm long, anthers 4–6 mm long, filaments 2 mm long; pistillode trifid and less than 0.5 mm long. Pistillate flowers oblong and pyramidal, usually slightly lepidote on the basal portion, 17–25 × 8–10 mm; sepals 3, imbricate, 14–25 × 7–10 mm wide; petals 3, unnerved to slightly nerved, imbricate at the base but (upper 5–7 mm) valvate at the tips, 11–14 × 6–8 mm; staminodal ring about 3 mm high, 6-dentate; pistil lepidote on upper portion, glabrous on lower behind the staminodal ring, 10 × 6 mm, stigmas 3, 2 mm long. Fruit light orange when mature, color often obscured by a thin dark brown indument, about as long as wide, 3.5–4.0(–5) cm long and 3–4 cm diam. with a 7–10 mm thick mesocarp and 3–5 mm thick endocarp, endocarp ca. 4 × 2.3 cm. Seed ellipsoid, ca. 1.8 × 1.2 cm, and with a substantial central cavity ca. 6 mm diam.

Diagnostic Description

Palma caespitosa vel solitaria trunco conspicue articulato, foliis 2.3–3.5 m irregulariter pinnatis, foliolis centralibus ad 1 m longis 3.5–4 cm latis concoloribus. Inflorescentia ad ca. 1.2 m longa, rachillis ca. 35–45, floribus masculis ca. 12–21 × 5–7 mm, femineis 17–25 × 8–10 mm. Fructus lepidotus longior quam latus ca. 4 cm longus, endocarpio ad 5 mm crasso. Semen cavitatem ferens.


Growing at the base of the mountains or in pastures at an altitude of about 100–750 m above sea level. Flowering and fruiting probably throughout the year, but collected in flower and fruit during the months of July to September.


Brazil, locally common in mountainous areas and seasonal forests in the states of Ceará, Pernambuco, Paraíba, and Alagoas.


This palm has great ornamental potential. The especially attractive character is its tendency to grow in pairs or as twins.

Common Names

catolé or coco babão (babão translates as mucus or slobber and refers to the slimy juices of the mesocarp).

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil Northeast


  • 1 Lorenzi, H., Noblick, L.R., Kahn, F. & Ferreira, E. (2010). Brazilian Flora Arecaceae (Palms): 1-268. Instituto Plantarum de Estudos da Flora LTDA, São Paulo, Brazil.
  • 2 L. Noblick, Syagrus cearensis, a Twin-Stemmed New Palm from Brazil. 2004

 Information From

Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet Accessed on 21/04/2013
  • A Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • B Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • C See You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.