Economic Botany

, 56:165 | Cite as

Fruit production of the Ungurahua Palm (Oenocarpus bataua subsp.Bataua, Arecaceae) in an Indigenous Managed Reserve

  • Christopher Miller


The ungurahua palm (Oenocarpus bataua subsp.bataua) is widely used throughout the Amazon Basin for its thatch, fibers, wood, and edible fruits. The fruits of this species are especially important to indigenous peoples and yield a high quality oil. This study examines the use of this species by the Siona people of the Ecuadorian Amazon in the Cuyabeno Faunistic Reserve. The reproductive phenology, fruit production, and relationship between vegetative characteristics and fruit production is explored here. Fruit production varies greatly from palm to palm with a range of approximately 500–7000 fruits biennially. This amounts to approximately 700 kg/ha every two years. Height, diameter breast height (dbh), and number of leaves on an individual are poor predictors of tree productivity. Reproductive histories of individual palms are examined. The economic potential of this species and the implications of overharvesting are discussed.

Key Words

Oenocarpus bataua ungurahua mil pesos Ecuador palms fruit production Siona 

Producción de la Palma Ungurahua (Oenocarpus bataua subsp. bataua, Arecaceae) en una reserva Indígena bajo manejo


La palma ungurahau (Oenocarpus bataua subsp.bataua) es ampliamente usada en la Hoya Amazónica. Partes de la palma se utilizan en techos, como fibra, madera, y sus frutos son comestibles. Los frutos son especialmente importantes en la dieta de las poblciones indígenas, y tiene una producción de aceite de alta calidad. Este estudio examina la utilizatión de esta especie de palma por la gente indigena Siona en la Reserva Faunistica de Cuyabeno en la Amazónia del Ecuador. Adicionalmente, se hace un análisis sobre la fenologia reproductiva, la producción de frutos, y la relatión que existe entre las características vegetativas y la productión de frutos de la palma ungurahua. La producción Manual de frutos varía de sobremanera en un rango de 500 de 7000 frutos entre individuos de esta palma. El rendimiento de frutos representa aproximadamente unos 700 kg/ha por cada dos años. Características de la palma tales como la altura máxima, el diámetro del tronco a la altura del pecho (dap) y el número de hojas, son pobres pronósticos de la productión de frutos por palma. Finalmente, se hace un análisis de la historia reproductiva de individuos de la palma y se presentan argumentos sobre el potential económico de la palma ungurahua y las implicaciones de una excesiva cosecha.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden Press 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.One Centennial CircleBrenau UniversityGainesvilleUSA

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