Butia marmorii Noblick
  • Palms (1999+) 50: 173 (2006) 

Notes: Distribution: NE. Paraguay (Alto Paraná)

General Description

Stem solitary acaulescent, subterranean 10–20 cm in diam. with persistent leaf bases. Leaves 3–5 in the crown, spirally arranged and spreading; leaf sheath plus petiole ca. 2–15 cm long, adaxially channeled and abaxially rounded, and glabrous; petiole not including the leaf sheath less than 1 cm (0.4–0.5) cm long and 0.5–0.7 wide and 0.1–0.2 cm thick at the base of the leaf blade; leaf rachis 23–51 cm long with ca. 9–18 pairs of leaflets distributed evenly along the rachis; basal leaflets ca. 11–31 cm long × 0.1–0.3 cm wide, middle leaflets ca. 24–44 cm long × 0.4–0.7 cm wide, apical leaflets ca. 17–31 cm long × 0.1–0.3 cm wide. Inflorescence interfoliar, unbranched or branched to 1 order, peduncle 4.5–9.0 cm long × 0.3–0.5 cm wide × 0.1–0.5 cm thick; peduncular bract with a total length of ca. 8–19(–40) cm with no apparent beak and the expanded or inflated part of the bract measuring ca. 4.0–12.5(–18) cm long × 0.3–1.1 (–2.5) cm in width and with a 1.2–3.0 cm perimeter and a 0.5 mm thickness, very thin or thicker, but not as thin as onion skin and never translucent; rachis 0–1 cm long; rachillae 1–8, apical ones ca. 2.8–7.0 cm long and basal ones ca. 3–7 cm. Flowers dark purple to pale yellow with purplish tinge; staminate flowers near the base ca. 4.5–5.5 mm long × 2 mm wide, sessile, basal ones frequently short pedicellate with pseudopedicels ca. 1–1.5 mm long; sepals 3, distinct, linear triangular, connate at base forming a pseudo-pedicel, acute, sclerenchymous at the base but membranous near the tip, glabrous; petals 3 distinct, unequal, obovate, valvate, membranous, glabrous, with distinct venation, ca. 3.5–3.8 × 2.0–2.5 mm, acute; stamens 6, pale yellow, distinct, 2.5 mm long, with filaments 1.5 mm long, pistillode trifid, less than 0.5 mm long. Pistillate flowers, conical, sessile; sepals, glabrous, with no visible venation except at the margins and tip, sclerenchymous, imbricate, ca. 5.0–6.5 × 2.5–3.0 mm, unequal, acute, faintly keeled at tip; petals 3, distinct, imbricate at base, valvate at apex, triangular, obscurely nerved, glabrous, 3.2–5.5 × ca. 2.3–3.0 mm, acute; gynoecium 2.5–3.0 mm long × 1.0 mm wide, glabrous. Fruits purple when mature, 1.2–2 cm long × 1.2–1.5 cm in diam., ovoid; cupule (persistent perianth) greenish brown, ca. 0.6–0.8 cm in diam. × ca. 0.4 cm high; petals slightly longer that sepals, staminodial ring truncate, 0.5 mm high × 2.5 mm diam.; epicarp dark purple when mature, smooth and glabrous; mesocarp pale yellow, fleshy, non-fibrous ca. 1–2 mm thick; endocarp nearly spherical to elliptical, ca. 1.0–1.8 × ca. 1.0–1.3 cm., ca. 1 mm or less thick (ca. 0.5 mm thick), hard, bony, dark brown to nearly black, apex with no distinctive protuberance or beak, interior smooth, monovittate, round in cross-section, outer surface nearly smooth, pores subequatorial, 3 nearly even with surface, sutures visible; seed 1, spherical to elliptical, 8–9 mm long × 5–6 mm diam., endosperm white, homogeneous. Germination remote tubular, eophyll simple, narrowly lanceolate.

Diagnostic Description

palma solitaria trunco acaulis et subterreano. Folium reduplicato-pinnatum foliolis 9–18, regulariter dispositis. Inflorescentia ad 7–17 cm longa, rachillis (1) 2–4, floribus femineis ca. 5.0–6.5 × 2.5–3.0 mm.


Cerrado scrub, in open grassy areas between the taller cerrado plants, restricted to the medium to tall grasses rather than in the adjacent low weedy scrub. Plants in full sun were more productive than those in shade. The terrain is nearly flat with gentle slopes and with a red sandy, lateritic soil. Palms had developing and mature fruit in February, and several were continuing to flower.


Known from a small area in Alto Parana, Paraguay in the vicinity of the village of Cia Laguna. A collection from Instituto de Botánica Darwinion (SI) confirms a population of more robust plants as far south as San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina and digital images taken in the field corroborate its presence as far north as Três Lagoas, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil (Emerson Salviani, pers. comm.).


The site has been excavated for road work and threatened by pasture land. By 2004 soybean fields were encroaching on the site; the area is not expected to survive. Luckily, Marmori discovered another site within 2 km of Cia Laguna, but none of the areas is legally protected, and the palms remain threatened.

Common Names

yatay poñy

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Southern America Southern South America Paraguay


  • 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 Gauto, M.I. (2009). Conservation status assessment of Paraguayan Palms (Arecaceae): 1-132. Universitéde Genève, Faculté des sciences. Masters in Biology.
  • 3 L. Noblick, The grassy Butia: Two new species and a new combination. 2006

 Information From

Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet http://www.palmweb.org. Accessed on 21/04/2013
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Global Biodiversity Information Facility
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eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from http://e-monocot.org.
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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; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/ Retrieved 2011 onwards
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