Dictyocaryum H.Wendl.
  • Bonplandia (Hannover) 8: 106 (1860) 

Notes: Distribution: Panama to S. Trop. America

General Description

Solitary, or very rarely clustered, moderate to robust, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious tree palms. Stem erect, slightly or rarely markedly ventricose, conspicuously ringed with leaf scars, with stilt roots bearing short somewhat sharp or cylindrical, lateral roots. Leaves few, pinnate, neatly abscising; sheath forming a conspicuous crownshaft, bearing scattered small scales (?always); petiole short or very short, adaxially channelled at the base, rounded or angled distally, rounded abaxially, sometimes densely tomentose; rachis angled to convex adaxially, rounded abaxially; leaflets massive with numerous ribs, longitudinally divided between the ribs to the base into narrow segments displayed in many planes giving the whole leaf a dense plumose appearance, each segment praemorse at the apex, blade strongly discolorous, abaxially green or densely covered in white indumentum and abundant unbranched hairs and/or dot-like scales, usually 1 large rib per segment, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences solitary, infrafoliar, erect or pendulous and curved, branched to 2 orders, in bud sometimes horn-shaped, protandrous; peduncle winged or not at the base, elongate, rounded in cross-section, massive; prophyll short, 2-keeled, tubular, soon opening at the tip, eventually shed, tomentose; peduncular bracts up to 9, tubular with pointed tips, completely sheathing at first, then splitting apically to allow elongation of the peduncle, proximal few rather short, middle to distal much longer, conspicuously beaked, all shed at anthesis, prophyll and peduncular bracts coriaceous to woody; rachis ± equalling to much longer than the peduncle; rachis bracts spirally arranged, triangular, proximally conspicuous; first-order branches spreading, swollen at the base with a long bare portion, the proximal bearing about 3–4 rachillae, distal unbranched; rachillae slender, elongate, flexuous, very numerous, bearing rather distant, spirally arranged triads proximally, paired and solitary staminate flowers distally. Staminate flowers fleshy, sessile, ± symmetrical; sepals 3, distinct, imbricate, rounded, strongly gibbous basally; petals much longer than the sepals, 3, slightly connate at the base, ± lanceolate, valvate; stamens 6, filaments short, broad, fleshy, anthers elongate, basifixed, latrorse; pistillode short, broad, columnar, rounded or minutely trifid at the apex. Pollen ellipsoidal, ± bi-symmetric; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine intectate, coarsely granular to gemmate, granulae/gemmae often coalesced into larger irregular units, aperture margin similar; longest axis 24–30 µm [3/3]. Pistillate flowers smaller than the staminate, sessile; sepals 3, distinct, rounded, imbricate, thick; petals ca. 3 times as long as the sepals, ± triangular, imbricate; staminodes 6, minute, strap-like or tooth-like; gynoecium tricarpellate, triovulate, rounded, tipped with 3 low stigmas, ovule probably anatropous. Fruit developing from 1 carpel, globose or ellipsoidal, with basal carpel and stigmatic remains; epicarp smooth, usually yellow at maturity, dark brown when dry, mesocarp thick with outer layer of sclereids and inner layer of tannin and fibres, endocarp very thin, scarcely differentiated. Seed spherical, basally attached, seed coat thick with a conspicuous network of raphe fibres, hilum rounded, endosperm homogeneous; embryo basal. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid. Cytology not studied.

Diagnostic Description

Usually robust solitary or clustered pinnate-leaved tree palms of the Andes and foothills, the stems with stilt roots; leaflets are rhomboid, praemorse and are usually longitudinally divided to give the whole leaf an ostrich-feather appearance; fruit has basal stigmatic remains and embryo.


Leaf and seed (Roth 1990), and root (Seubert 1998a, 1998b).


Usually in montane rain forest at medium elevations, on very steep slopes, often occurring in great numbers, and forming a conspicuous component of the forest canopy. Dictyocaryum ptarianum also rarely grows in the lowlands of the Amazon basin.


Three species described in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana and Panama.


Specific uses have not been recorded.

Common Names

Araque, palma real.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil North
  • Central America Panamá
  • Northern South America Guyana
  • Venezuela
  • Western South America Bolivia
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru


  • 1 J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008
  • 2 Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

 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
  • A Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
  • B http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from http://e-monocot.org.
  • C 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; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/ Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • D See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm 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.