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Aiphanes minima (Gaertn.) Burret

Aiphanes is a genus of spiny palms which is native to tropical regions of South and Central America and the Caribbean. There are about 26 species in the genus, ranging in size from understorey shrubs with subterranean stems to subcanopy trees as tall as 20 metres (66 ft). Most have pinnately compound leaves (leaves which are divided into leaflets arranged feather-like, in pairs along a central axis); one species has entire leaves. Stems, leaves and sometimes even the fruit are covered with spines. Plants flower repeatedly over the course of their lifespan and have separate male and female flowers, although these are borne together on the same inflorescence. Although records of pollinators are limited, most species appear to be pollinated by insects. The fruit are eaten by several birds and ... ...Read More

Solitary. Stem (2-)5-18 m tall, 6-20 cm diam., armed on the internodes with rings of black, flattened spines, often becoming almost unarmed with age. Leave, 10-20, spreading; petiole 15-110 cm long, armed with black, to 8 cm long spines; rachis 130- 400 cm long, unarmed or with many black spines, to 6 cm long; pinnae 18-34 per side, regularly inserted, 4-10 cm apart, all in one plane, linear, or more rarely (Puerto Rico) widening at apex, 5-12 times as long as wide, obliquely praemorse to lobulate-praemorse at apex, ± caudate on the distal margin, glabrous on both sides, abaxially unarmed, or with many black spines, to 3 cm long, adaxially often with a row of ca. 1 cm long spines on the midrib; basal pinnae 24-26 x 1-2 cm; middle pinnae 31-80 x 4-11 cm; apical pinnae 2- to several-ribbed, 25-34 x 9-22 cm. Inflorescence interfoliar, curving, once or rarely twice branched; peduncular bract 60-190 cm long, 1.5-8 cm wide, coriaceous to woody, unarmed or densely spiny, with a grey or white, caducous indument; peduncle 28-130 cm long, 3-22 mm diam. at junction with rachis, densely covered with black spines; rachis 25-150 cm long, unarmed; rachillae 12-300, with a peltate indument, often becoming glabrous; basal rachillae 10-50 cm long, with triads for ca. ½ of their length, in this part 2-4 mm diameter, distally staminate, tapering to 1-2 mm diam.; apical rachillae 5-15 cm long, staminate; triads borne superficially or in a shallow cavity in the rachilla; dyads superficial. Staminate flowers creamish white to yellow, 3-4 mm long; sepals triangular, carinate, much shorter than the petals, 0.6-3.5 mm long; petals nearly free oblong-acuminate, elongate, 3.4-6.1 mm long; filaments flattened, 0.9-1.8 mm long, anthers linear, sagittate at base, with dark connective, 1.8-2.4 x 0.5-0.9 mm; pistillode distinct, trifid, 0.4-1 mm high. Pistillate flowers creamish white to yellow, 3-4 mm long; sepals broadly ovate, free, imbricate, 1.2- 1.8 mm long; petals ovate-acute, connate for ½ of their length , valvate distally, 3.3-3.8 mm long; staminodial cup 1.2-2.5 mm high, deeply acutely lobed to nearly truncate; pistil 2.8-3 mm high, glabrous. Fruits red, 12- 16 x 14-17 mm; mesocarp mealy-fleshy; endocarp 8- 12 x 10-16 mm, weakly to prominently pitted-grooved. [3]

VERNACULAR NAME[3]Grigri (Martinique, St. Vincent, Dominica, St. Lucia); chou picant, glouglou, glouglou rouge (Martinique); palma de coyor, coyore, coyure, coyora (Puerto Rico) ; macaw palm (Barbados).

GENUS [A]Aiphanes

SUB-FAMILY [N]Arecoideae

TRIBE [N]Cocoseae

SUB-TRIBE [N]Attaleinae





 Distribution [C][3]


Aiphanes species have a long history of human use. The remains of carbonised seeds thought to belong to A. horrida have been found in archaeological sites in Colombia dating back to about 2800 BP; seeds of this species are still consumed and are traded in local markets. Aiphanes horrida is also widely planted as an ornamental, as is A. minima. The fruit or seeds of A. deltoidea, A. eggersii, A. linearis and A. minima are all consumed locally. The palm heart of A. macroloba is consumed by the Coaiquer people of northwestern South America. Aiphanol, a compound isolated from A. horrida, has shown significant inhibitory activity against cyclooxygenases;[48] inhibition of these enzymes can provide relief from the symptoms of inflammation and pain.


Aiphanes corallina (Mart.) H.Wendl.
Aiphanes erosa (Mart.) Burret
Aiphanes luciana L.H.Bailey
Aiphanes vincentiana L.H.Bailey
Bactris erosa Mart.
Bactris martineziifolia Schaedtler
Bactris minima Gaertn.
Curima corallina (Mart.) O.F.Cook
Martinezia corallina Mart.
Martinezia erosa (Mart.) Linden 


Cold Hardiness Zone (USDA) 10b







[3] Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
[3] Borchs. & Balslev, Brittonia 60: 195 (2008)
[3] Govaerts, R. (1995). World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 1-529. MIM, Deurne.
[3] Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
[3] Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95 

[A] Palmweb - Palms of the World Online -

[C] WCSP 2013. World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards

[N] The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) -

[W] Wikipedia:


The World Checklist of Monocotyledons:

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI):

IUCN Red List: