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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Iriartea is a genus in the palm family Arecaceae, native to Central and South America. The best-known species – and probably the only one – is Iriartea deltoidea, which is found from Nicaragua south into Bolivia and a great portion of Western Amazonian basin. It is the most common tree in many forests in which it occurs. It is known by such names as bombona (which can also refer to other palms, e.g. Attalea regia) or cacho de vaca (which can refer to many other plants, like the Bignoniaceae Godmania aesculifolia or the orchid Myrmecophila humboldtii). In the Murui Huitoto language of southwestern Colombia, it is called jɨagɨna or jɨaìgɨna, in western Ecuador it is known as pambil and in Peru it is known as the pona palm.

These palms are canopy trees growing to 20–35 m tall. I. deltoidea is easily recognized by the prominent bulge in the center of its trunk, and the stilt roots, which form a dense cone up to 1 m in diameter at the base. It can thus be easily be distinguished from Socratea exorrhiza (which also bears stilt roots), as the stilt roots of the former are much less tightly appressed upon one another. The leaves are up to 5 m long, and pinnate. The numerous pinnae are fan-shaped, and held in various planes. The fruit is a 2-cm diameter drupe, and primarily dispersed by bats and toucans.

The fruit are also eaten by humans, and the wood is used for construction and in handicraft.