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Acrocomia totai

This large palm from Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina is covered with spines and is best described as 'interesting' although, especially from a distance, a well-grown tree certainly has a very handsome appearance. The difficulties in germinating it are as formidable as its armament, seed taking up to a year or more to sprout (a heat treatment prior to sowing has been fairly successful to improve results). When the plant eventually does grow it goes WHOOOOMPH!!, but is covered from head to foot with dangerous, dense, black spines. Those who like a challenge will certainly enjoy growing this palm... Suitable for warm temperate to tropical climates and quite frost resistant.

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germination comments by our visitors
For general germination instructions click here.

Also see plant cultivation comments below.

Seeds from this species ...

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I followed the advise that I found back in the comments and broke the shells. Afterwards I planted the kernels in a sandy loam soil, mixed with garden soil in temperatures around 30° C and very humid enviroment. (Philippines)The kernels were partly covered. They started sprouting after about one month
Submitted on 26/08/2009 by Jan VERBEECK

... are average to germinate and need up to 6 months to sprout.
I do agree that the shell should be taken off. I was skeptical but I tried, I cut around the shell with a hacksaw and then popped them open with a screwdriver. 50% sphagnum peat and 50% sphagnum moss in ziplock bags. 80 to 90 degrees F.Keep moist but not wet. 3 germinations at 4 months to the day. I expect more soon, I don't see how they could ever germinate naturaly.
Submitted on 26/05/2006 by Michael Bieber mjbtol@aol.com

... are average to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
This palm is native from my country, Paraguay. We can get better results if sowing the seeds in a cool and fresh place, but after taking out the very hard wrapping. Just sow the kernel. Otherwise, you will have to wait a few years.
Submitted on 09/03/2006 by Jorge Samson samson@telesurf.com.py

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Acrocomia seed has a very hard and thick shell. The kernel is edible and tastes similar to a coconut. Get a heavy hammer and an anvil or vise. Pound the shells carefully while rotating them in order to crack the shell and not crush the seed. Even if the kernel is slightly dented it will germinate in 1 to 3 months. Smashed kernels should be eaten or thrown away. These palms like well drained moist soil and warmth. This works very well for me in Florida. You will wait several years for natural germination and few will survive that long.
Submitted on 15/07/2004 by John Desrosiers jrdgpn@yahoo.com

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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