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  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

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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.

Attalea funifera Bahia Piassava, Conquilla Nut, Piassaba Palm
Attalea funifera Bahia Piassava, Conquilla Nut, Piassaba Palm
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of cone
Attalea funifera is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. and 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: 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.

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

Edible Uses
Edible portion: Nut. The oil or fat from the nut is used in margarine.
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 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 ].
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 - 25c, but can tolerate 18 - 30c[ 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.
Seed - The large seeds are slow and erratic to germinate.
Other Names
Bahia Piassava, Conquilla Nut, Piassaba Palm, Attalea funifera or Bahia Piassava Palm
Found In
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
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Attalea butyraceaWine Palm40
Attalea colendaPalma real, Chivila40
Attalea maripaInaja, Maripa Palm32
Attalea speciosaBabassu, American Oil Palm, Motacu, Motacuchi42


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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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Subject : Attalea funifera  

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