Probably from a South American native name for these palms.
Mostly solitary (more or less stemless in s. minor), spineless palms. Trunks if present stout and woody often with persistent leaf bases. Crownshaft absent. Leaves fan-shaped with a midrib (costapalmate) extending into the blade on the lower surface, divided half to three quarters of the leaf blade depth into single leaflets, or less deeply into paired leaflets. Leaf stalks spineless. Leaf bases split centrally. Flowers bisexual. Panicle arising among the leaves. Fruit round to pear-shaped, blackish, containing 1 flattened seed.
A small genus which is moderately popular in cultivation. These palms are valued for their hardiness and adaptability, but cultivated plants are generally difficult to identify and hybridism is common. The leaves of many species are used for thatch and hat making.
Seeds germinate in 3-12 months.
Used locally for thatch, basketry and hat-making.
A variable genus but most species with stout woody trunks; split leaf bases; stiff midribbed fan-shaped leaves; small black fruit.
16 species distributed in the Caribbean basin including USA, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean Islands and northern South America.
Bailey (1944), Zona (1990).
Source: (2005). Arecaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.