Cover Image

PAPERBACK
$107.25



View/Hide Left Panel

Page 321

PROSPECTS

Andean Region. These palms should make handsome ornamentals in cool and dry areas in many parts of the Andes. Moreover, the nuts could be an increasingly useful product for home consumption, for sale in markets, and perhaps to feed guinea pigs (they dehusk the nuts with their sharp teeth).

The plant also has increased potential as an ornamental. Although naturally occurring stands are not known, they may yet be found. The Andes should be searched for germplasm because the specimens growing in Quito and other cities seem to be very uniform—they even seem to be all the same age.3

Other Developing Areas. Because this is a cool-weather palm, it is unsuited to most of the normal palm-growing regions. However, it seems unsurpassed for cool, mild areas such as the lower Himalayas, the uplands of eastern Africa, and the mountains of New Guinea. These regions have the right habitat for what is one of the most beautiful and spectacular palm species known. It is not likely to become a major economic crop, but the nuts would be enjoyed and would provide some nourishment, especially to children.

Industrialized Regions. The Quito palm should make a handsome ornamental in cool and dry areas of warm-temperate regions. It is promising for use in large public areas such as parks. It is now becoming established as a new landscape feature in northern and central California. Coconuts cannot grow in such areas. All in all, it is a unique and beautiful species that answers the home gardener's need for a long-lived, elegant, vigorous, and tough ornamental tree. The small, edible nuts are a bonus. One caution must be noted, however. This plant may prove to be quite restricted in its adaptability and may, for example, strictly require a cool summer climate.


3 The Quito palm's little-known relative, the janchicoco (Parajubaea torallyi), occurs in the ravines of sandstone mountains in central and southern Bolivia (mostly to the east of the city of Sucre in Chuquisaca) where no rain falls for 10 months of the year. It is considered to be an endangered species. However, it, too, is potentially valuable—perhaps even more valuable than the Quito palm. Its fleshy, sweet nuts are eaten, and they contain usable oil. The plant is also used for hearts of palm; the fiber in its frond is woven into ropes, baskets, saddles, and mats; its fruits serve as animal feed; its leaf midrib is burned for fuel; and its leaf stalk is used for construction. It is also cultivated as an ornamental.


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement