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CAVALLARI, Marcelo Mattos  and  TOLEDO, Marcos Miranda. What is the name of the babassu? A note on the confusing use of scientific names for this important palm tree. Rodriguésia [online]. 2016, vol.67, n.2, pp.533-538. ISSN 0370-6583.

Various scientific names are usually found for the babassu in current literature: mainly Orbignya phalerata and Attalea speciosa, but also O. speciosa and O. martiana, among others. This multiplicity of names leads to great confusion in the scientific community causing mistakes to be successively propagated. This note aims to clarify the problem, reviewing the species nomenclature history since the first description by Martius, in 1826, and reporting the successive name changes which occurred. Consequences of the lumping of four closely related genera, of recent phylogenetic studies and of the last changes in palm classification on the species nomenclature are also briefly discussed. In addition, searching results on scientific names at the main Plant Name Indexes are presented here. As a conclusion, we recommend the adoption of Attalea speciosa Mart ex. Spreng as the most suitable name for the babassu and highlight that a broad taxonomic review of the Attalea group is necessary.

Keywords : Attalea speciosa; Arecaceae; babassu; Orbignya phalerata; taxonomy.

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