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Attalea funifera - Mart. ex Spreng.

Common Name Bahia Piassava, Conquilla Nut, Piassaba Palm
Family Arecaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Mainly found in dry forests along the north-eastern coast of Brazil[ 314 ]. Stabilized sand dunes by the sea and Atlantic coastal forest[ 768 , ].
Range S. America - northeastern Brazil.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Attalea funifera Bahia Piassava, Conquilla Nut, Piassaba Palm

Attalea funifera Bahia Piassava, Conquilla Nut, Piassaba Palm


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Attalea funifera or Bahia Piassava Palm is a large, tropical palm that can reach up to 15 m high. There are 5 to 15 long leaves with irregularly arranged leaflets. The fruit is very large, with 1-3 seeds. Oil can be obtained from the seed and fruit, while fibre can be obtained from the leaves. Young, undeveloped plants of this palm also yields fibre called bananeiras. The leaves are used for thatching while the seeds are used to carve buttons and as beads. The fruits, on the other hand, can be used in charcoal-making.

Physical Characteristics

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Attalea funifera is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, Beetles, Flies.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Attalea acaulis Burret Lithocarpos cocciformis O.Targ.Tozz. ex Steud. Sarinia funifera (Mart.) O.F.C


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

Edible portion: Nut. The oil or fat from the nut is used in margarine.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Beads  Brush  Buttons  Charcoal  Fibre  Oil  String  Thatching

Other uses rating: High (4/5). Other Uses: A good oil is produced from the seed[ 46 , 769 ]. It can be used for oiling watches and other fine instruments[ 769 ]. An oil is obtained from the fruit[ 769 ]. A long fibre obtained from the leaves is used for various purposes[ 46 ]. This palm is widely used locally for its high quality, stiff fibres which are used in making ropes, mats, and brushes[ 314 ]. The fibre is strong, and hard and it does not absorb moisture easily[ 314 ]. A fibre obtained from the dilated base of the leaf stalks, which separates into a long, coarse fringe, is collected by cutting with a small axe. The fibre is stiff, wiry, and a bright chocolate in colour. It is employed in the manufacture of brushes, these are largely used on street-sweeping machines, particularly in London. The fibres can be twisted into coarse cables, which are light, durable and float on the water[ 454 ]. Fibre from young, undeveloped plants, known as 'bananeiras' is bright coloured and more flexible[ 454 ]. Fibre from fully matured plants is separated into three qualities:- (1) Ordinary fibre, which is found wound up among the broken leaves and the upper part of the trunk. (2) Balloon, formed by the older fibre which has fallen to the ground around the base of the trunk. (3) Piassava d'olho, or 'eye piassava', which is the latest growth, and is in all respects similar to that yielded by the 'bananeiras'. The latter, on account of its flexibility and colour, is chiefly used in tying the bales. Its yield is small[ 454 ]. The leaves are used for thatching[ 768 ]. The seeds can be used to carve buttons and beads for rosaries etc[ 769 ]. The fruits have been used to make a good quality charcoal[ 769 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Fiber  Management: Standard  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Oil

A plant of the tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 400 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22° - 25°c, but can tolerate 18° - 30°c[ 418 ]. It can be killed by temperatures of 5°c or lower[ 418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,800 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 1,500 - 2,400mm[ 418 ]. Prefers a moist soil and a warm, sunny position[ 314 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 5.5, tolerating 4.5 - 6.5[ 418 ]. The seedlings grow down into the soil for 3 - 4 years, producing a stem below ground to a depth of 100 - 150cm. After a few more years a trunk may begin to form at ground level[ 418 ]. Young plants generally produce inflorescences with male flowers, whilst older, taller plants are more likely to produce female inflorescences[ 768 ]. Production: The melting point of oil is 25-26C. A kernel weighs 3g. They contain about 67% oil. About 7.5 kg of seeds can be harvested by hand in one day.

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Fiber  Clothing, rugs, sheets, blankets etc. Currently, almost none of our fiber are produced from perennial crops but could be!
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.
  • Staple Crop: Oil  (0-15 percent protein, 16+ percent oil). Some of these are consumed whole while others are exclusively pressed for oil. Annuals include canola, poppyseed, maize, cottonseed, sunflower, peanut. Perennials include high-oil fruits, seeds, and nuts, such as olive, coconut, avocado, oil palm, shea, pecan, and macadamia. Some perennial oil crops are consumed whole as fruits and nuts, while others are exclusively pressed for oil (and some are used fresh and for oil).

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - The large seeds are slow and erratic to germinate.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Bahia Piassava, Conquilla Nut, Piassaba Palm, Attalea funifera or Bahia Piassava Palm

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Found In: Brazil, South America.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Least Concern

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Attalea maripaInaja, Maripa PalmTree15.0 10-12 MLMHSNM325
Attalea speciosaBabassu, American Oil Palm, Motacu, MotacuchiTree30.0 10-12 SLMHNM425

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Expert comment


Mart. ex Spreng.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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