We need to raise £10,000 from user donations to get our finances in balance. More >>>

Follow Us:


Leopoldinia piassaba - Wallace

Common Name Piassaba
Family Arecaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Sandy soils near blackwater rivers and streams, rarely on white-water rivers[768 ].
Range Northern S. America - northern Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Full sun
Leopoldinia piassaba Piassaba

Leopoldinia piassaba Piassaba


Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.


Piassaba, Leopoldinia piassaba, is a palm native to Brazil and Venezuela that grows about 4 or 5 m tall with a trunk diameter of 15 cm. Its crown is composed of 14 - 16 sword-shaped, yellow green leaves with each leaf measuring about 4-5 m long. The fruits are kidney shaped and flattened. The mesocarp of the fruits is eaten raw or made into a refreshing beverage. Piassaba is highly valued for its high quality and water resistant fibre which can be obtained from the leaf sheath. It is used to make ropes, brushes, brooms, and baskets among others.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Leopoldinia piassaba is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.


No synonyms are recorded for this name.


Edible Uses

The mesocarp of the fruits is eaten raw or made into a refreshing beverage[317 , 424 ]. The thin flesh of the fruit, agitated with water, makes a popular local drink.

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

Other Uses

Other Uses A fibre is obtained from the leaf sheath[46 , 317 ]. Known as 'piassaba fibre', it is used for making heavy ropes, where it can take the place of manila hemp (Musa textilis)[46 ]. The fibre is also used for making brushes, brooms and baskets[46 , 424 ]. The fibres resist rotting, even after long periods of immersion in water; the Brazilians used them to make cables to navigate the Amazon[424 ]. They are also used for making rope, brooms, brushes and baskets. The foliar sheaths terminate in long (0.5 - 1.5 metres), pendulous fibres. The fibres at first appear as light brown ribbon-like strips, 2 - I0cm wide, that later split into dark brown to greyish brown individual fibres. These fibres persist and hang, entirely concealing the stem, and giving the tree a most curious and unique appearance[424 ]. The leaves are used for thatch[317 ]. The leaves resist rotting, even after long periods of being wet, and make a very resistant thatch[424 ]. They are, therefore, the most sought after of the local palms[424 ]. The nuts, which are a source of vegetable ivory, are encased in a hard, botryoidal shell which itself takes a nice polish. These shells are mostly 3 - 4cm in diameter and are 5 - 8cm long. The nuts are smaller and are loose in the shells. They have a fine delicate dark veining and are quite beautiful when turned or polished.

Cultivation details

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

Not known


The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now


Seed -

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Piassaba, Piassabam Chiquechique, Chiquichiqui, Fibra, Piassabam Chiquechique, Chiquichiqui, Fibra,

Found In

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

Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Colombia; Brazil, Amazon, Brazil, Colombia, South America, Venezuela,

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.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants


Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment



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.

Readers comment

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Leopoldinia piassaba  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.