The Syagrus sancona, also known as the Columbian Foxtail Palm, grows up to 3,000 feet in elevation in the Andes Mountains of northern South America, where it is widespread, though not common, and shows some tolerance of cold. It is one of the tallest of the genus and can attain an incredible 100 foot stature.
Juvenile Syagrus sancona show a marked bulge at the base of the trunk which easily identifies them among others in the same genus. The mature palm is a wonderful sight, with its dense, recurving leaves, justifying its position as the most attractive in the genus. Its beautiful, long leaves are very feather-like and somewhat recurved, resembling a foxtail (hence the common name).
The trunks of these palms are often used in rural buildings for water conveyance. The indigenous Quichua of Ecuador use the endocarps for necklaces that are sold as souvenirs. The Indigenous Sirionó, and Tacana of Bolivia, and the Shuar of Ecuador, and the Shipibo-Conibo of Peru, use the wood as an occasional source of loom parts. All of the above eat the fruit, use the leaves for thatch, and use the wood for; utensils and tools, house construction, fences, hunting and fishing. The Indigenous Tsimane/Mosetene of Bolivia use the seeds for Personal adornment.
There are nine of this species growing in the Merwin Palm Collection.
Want to “virtually explore” the Merwin Palm Collection? Search through our archive of Palm Facts of the Week, featuring palms hand-planted by W.S Merwin. To search through the Online Merwin Palm Database, visit this link.
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