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Orbignya speciosa, Attalea speciosa, American Oil Palm, Babassu Palm

Orbignya speciosa, Attalea speciosa

American Oil Palm, Babassu Palm
Family: Arecaceae / Palmae
Origin: South America, Amazon basin
USDA Zone: 9-12?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapSmall tree 10-20 ftSemi-shadeRegular waterOrnamental foliagePalm or palm-like plant

Orbignya speciosa is native to South American Amazon basin. In its natural environment, this small tree reaches 10-20 feet tall, and prefers partial shade or semi-shade and regular water. Its foliage is attractive, making an ornamental addition to the garden. Orbignya speciosa is usually hardy to USDA Zone 9-11 and can tolerate mature temperatures down to at least 30F for a short time.

For growing Orbignya speciosa in a pot, the planting container must be large enough to accommodate the plant's roots when mature. Make sure that the pot has at least one drainage hole in the bottom to allow for water to drain out. The soil should also be kept moist, but not waterlogged. If you live in a colder region, still keep the pot in an area that receives some sunlight, and make sure to bring it inside during any cold snaps. When bringing it inside, make sure to keep it away from direct sunlight, as this may disrupt its growth. During the growing season, you should give it regular watering. Fertilizer can be added periodically to promote growth. Finally, if the palm is too tall for the pot, it can be trimmed back and placed in a larger pot or divided and shared with a friend or neighbor.

Its seeds yield a kind of oil commercially known as babassu oil. As it is not greasy and possesses remarkable softening properties, babassu oil is widely employed, notably to prepare cosmetics: body and hair oils and creams, soaps, etc.

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