Also Known As
Xebini [9]
Scheelea Palm

Order:   Arecales
Family:   Arecaeae
Genus:    Attalea
Species: phalerata

Florida s

Edible Parts
Fruit Nut Leaf Extracts
Other Uses
Medicinal Roof Construction3
"Economically [this palm species is] the most important palm species in Bolivia," and yet here in Florida, it is virtually unknown. It is also very well known in parts of Peru, where it is known as Shapaja. The Yanomami call it Yoi. I fell in love with this beautiful palm as I snapped a photo of the fruiting inflorescence at Fairchild Botanical Gardens near Miami. The fibrous seed covering is edible, being chewed and sucked in South America. In parts of the Bolivian Amazon, the hearts of palm from this palm is considered a delicacy. The seeds are rich in oil, which is used as a vegetable oil, cosmetically, medicinally, or for lighting lamps. The leaves are used to thatch roofs, which are reported to last three years in the Amazon, and the trunks are used for construction. Lastly, the fruits are "fed to pigs and other livestock." It is suited for cultivation in the warmer parts of Florida such as Miami and Naples. Specimens near the water in Tampa are thriving. 

EDIBLE PARTS: "The immature endosperm, young leaves, and fruits are edible (the fibrous seed coating is chewed and sucked when ripe), The oily seeds (kernels) are a popular treat." [1] "It is a source of vegetable oil." [2] "The tree is often utilized from the wild for its edible seeds, which are a popular local treat, and its edible fruit." [3]
EDIBLE HEART OF PALM: The heart of palm from this species "is a regional delicacy in the Llanos de Moxos in the Bolivian Amazon. In the small town of San Ignacio, the site of an ancient Jesuit Mission, locals cook heart of palm off Motacu as a vegetable. Residents of San Ignacio also dice  cooked Motacu palmito and mix it with cooked tomatoes and the green tops of spring onions, every bit as tasty as gourmet potato salad." [9]
MEDICINAL USES: "The fruit, and oil from the seeds are used for  medicinal purposes: adventitious roots as vermifuge, the oil for muscular sickness, roots are used for the reproductive system and sexual health, seeds for infections and infestations, metabolic system and nutrition, and the respiratory system, and the root and seed is used to treat the digestive system." [1]
USEFUL LEAVES: "The leaves are used to thatch rooftops." [2] states: "Uses: It's leaves are used for roofing," [1] " It is also one of the most important sources of thatch in its native range." [3] The leaves are said to last for three years in the Bolivian Amazon. [9]
USEFUL TRUNKS: states: "Uses: It's "trunks for poles, to build rustic houses in the country. [1] "The wood is moderately heavy, hard, compact, of low durability when exposed to the elements. It is only used locally in rural constructions." [6]
AS CHARCOAL: "A charcoal is made from the endocarps. It is the preferred source of charcoal for the smoking of latex when forming rubber." [7]
FRUIT AND OIL FOR LIGHTING: "The fruit, and oil from the seeds are used in lamps for lighting." [1] The seeds are rich in oil. [8]
OTHER USES: The oils are also used in the manufacture of cosmetics, and to fry food. Lye. The fruits are often scattered on the ground or buried in order to breed larvae (“suri”) in them for eating or use as fish bait. " 
LIVESTOCK: "The fruits are fed to pigs and other livestock." [2]
IN BOLIVIA: This is "economically the most important palm species in Bolivia." [2] 

NATIVE TO: "Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia." [3]
HABITAT: "Rainforest and savannah." [4] "Dry land forest and open areas." [5]
DESCRIPTION: A "stout, single-stemmed, evergreen palm whose unbranched stem rarely gets taller than 4 metres, though occasional specimens up to 7 metres are found. The stem can be 30 - 40 cm. in diameter, carrying a plumose head of up to 30 large leaves that are 2 - 3 metres long and are held erect in a shuttlecock-like crown. The stem is often covered with old leaf bases. [3] Plants begin to fruit at a young age, often before the trunk develops.
- RATE OF GROWTH: "Young plants are slow-growing." [6] Medium. [1]
- HARDINESS: "Tolerates an occasional short cold snap to very high 20s." [1] 

More Details

15 feet
Rate of Growth

Hardiness Zone
10a to 11b
Damaging Temp.
Full Sun


[2] Wikipedia 
[3] Useful Tropical Plants 
[4] Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia publications [via 3] 
[5] Brazilian Fruits and Cultivated Exotics [via 3] 
[6] Brazilian Trees, Volume One [via 3] 
[7] Field Guide to the Palms of the Americas [via 3] 
[8] Rainforest Conservation Fund [via 3] 
[9] Palms and People of the Amazon, by Nigel Smith 
Last Updated: October 28, 2017