Overview

Brief Summary

Lima et al. (2008) studied the role of Carnauba Palm in the ecology of the reduviid bug Rhodnius nasutus, one of several vectors capable of transmitting the pathogen Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas Disease in humans and currently infects millions of people in Mexico, Central America, and South America. In all locations studied, Carnauba Palms were found to be infested by R. nasutus, a substantial fraction of which were infected with T. cruzi. The authors discuss the risk of R. nasutus adapting to human habitations, as have other reduviid vectors of Chagas Disease.

  • Lima, M. M., Coutinho C. F. S., Gomes T. F., Oliveira T. G., Duarte R., Borges-Pereira J., et al. (2008). Risk Presented by Copernicia prunifera Palm Trees in the Rhodnius nasutus Distribution in a Chagas Disease-endemic Area of the Brazilian Northeast. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 79, 750-754.
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The Carnauba Palm (Copernicia prunifera) is native to semi-arid areas of northeastern Brazil, where it is grown extensively on plantations. Its leaves are the source of a heat-resistant wax used in a wide variety of commercial applications from car wax and candy to cosmetics, dental floss, and paper plates.

Lima et al. (2008) studied the role of Carnauba Palm in the ecology of the reduviid bug Rhodnius nasutus, one of several vectors capable of transmitting the pathogen Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas Disease in humans and currently infects millions of people in Mexico, Central America, and South America. In all locations studied, Carnauba Palms were found to be infested by R. nasutus, a substantial fraction of which were infected with T. cruzi. The authors discuss the risk of R. nasutus adapting to human habitations, as have other reduviid vectors of Chagas Disease.

Whitney (2007) reported that the Fork-tailed Palm-Swift, of tropical South America, builds its nest of feathers and a small amount of plant material and glues it with saliva to the inside of dead, folded pendant leaves of the widespread palm Mauritia flexuosa--or, where this palm is absent in far northeastern Brazil, the leaves of Copernicia prunifera (interestingly, the large number of contour feathers the Palm-Swift uses in its nest are obtained by attacking birds of other species and grabbing off feathers with its bill).

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Distribution

The Carnauba Palm (Copernicia prunifera) is native to semi-arid areas of northeastern Brazil, where it is grown extensively on plantations.

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Copernicia prunifera (Mill.) H.E. Moore:
Brazil (South America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Copernicia cerifera (Arruda) Mart.:
Argentina (South America)
Brazil (South America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Ecology

Associations

Whitney (2007) reported that the Fork-tailed Palm-Swift, of tropical South America, builds its nest of feathers and a small amount of plant material and glues it with saliva to the inside of dead, folded pendant leaves of the widespread palm Mauritia flexuosa--or, where this palm is absent in far northeastern Brazil, the leaves of Carnauba Palm, Copernicia prunifera (interestingly, the large number of contour feathers the Palm-Swift uses in its nest are obtained by attacking birds of other species and grabbing off feathers with its bill).

  • Whitney, B. M. (2007). “Kleptoptily”: How the Fork-tailed Palm-Swift Feathers Its Nest. The Auk. 124(2), 712-715.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Copernicia prunifera

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Copernicia prunifera

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

The leaves of the Carnauba Palm (Copernicia prunifera) are the source of a heat-resistant wax used in a wide variety of commercial applications from car wax and candy to cosmetics, dental floss, and paper plates.

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Wikipedia

Copernicia prunifera

Copernicia prunifera or the carnauba palm or carnaubeira palm is a species of palm tree native to northeastern Brazil.

Taxonomy[edit]

Taxonomically it belongs to the subfamily Coryphoideae, tribe Corypheae, subtribe Livistoninae.

Uses[edit]

It is the source of carnauba wax, which is harvested from the coating on the leaves of the tree. The fruit and pith are eaten, the leaves are variously employed and the wood is used in building.

Cultivation[edit]

It withstands drought excellently. A slight saline composition in the soil produces the best trees.

Gallery[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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Notes

Economic Significance

Copernicia prunifera, also known as Copernicia cerifera, is a palm commonly used for the Carnauba wax that can be extracted from its leaves.

  • Bennett, B.C.  2007.  Chapter 3:  Twenty-five Important Plant Families.  B.C. Bennett, editor.  UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems.  http://eolss.net.
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