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Astrocaryum standleyanum – Chumba wumba


Native to:



Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panamá.

Lowland rainforest on imperfectly drained soils. Up to 200 meters above sea level. 10 meter tall palm.

Astrocaryum standleyanum – Chumba wumba

Ecological value:

Fruit attracts wildlife including squirrels, capuchins, opossums, peccaries who eat fallen fruits and disperse seeds. The agouti and palm have a close relationship: Fruit is collected and seed buried. The agouti will commonly rob each other, digging up and re-distributing seeds.

Material uses:

The wood is used for walking sticks, bows, fishing rods, furniture and basketry.
Palm often cut down for oil processing. Important fiber for local groups: fibers from leaves
are used to make furniture, pitchers, plates, trays, coasters, vases, hats, fishing nets etc.

Edible uses:

Fruit and palm hearts. Harvesting the palm heart (or 'bud') leads to death of plant. 

Medicinal use:

No record on this species.

Other details:

Sharp spikes sound the trunk prevent predation. Blooms during the rainy seasons of May and June. Where demand is high for fiber, the palm has been decimated. Heavily utilized in Ecuador where it is considered one of the most economically important plants and used in agro-forestry systems.


Christina Murcia/Christine Facella


“Astrocaryum Standleyanum L.H.Bailey | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 28, 2023.
“Astrocaryum Standleyanum - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 28, 2023.
Image source: Cyndy Sims Parr

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