Common Name: Walking Palm
Scientific Name: Socratea exorrhiza
Family:Arecaceae


Range:
Found throughout the tropics, in generally low (<1000m) elevation and moderate climate. Found on side of mountains, swamps, and savanna.

Abundance:
The palm family (Arecaceae) is one of the most abundant species in the rainforest. It comprises 2.6% of all woody species at La Selva [1]. In La Selva this plant was seen everywhere in all types of growth forests. It was abundant in juvenile and adult forms.


Coloration & Morphology:
Distinctive and unique morphological structure, the stilt root at the base of the tree. These roots are spaced apart and can have a variety of associated structures. Theseb roots will "walk" or move in the soil in order to reach soil with nutients. Generally a tall palm tree when adult, with wide green leaves. Leaf size can vary greatly and affect the size of the roots [1]. Brown/light grey trunk with green leaves. These palms can reach up to 35m high, with stilt roots of up to 4m high. This palm can live up to 1000m in elevation in the tropics [1].

Reproductive cycle:
The palm is known as monocotyledonous, meaning it has one seed per leaf. These seeds are generally small and a reproduced by insects, mainly beetles.

Habitat:
Found in various types of forests. The stilt roots allow it to function anywhere from wet swamps to the steet side of mountains. can also be found in dense and open forest in abundance

Ecology:
This plant has the prop root system which has been shown to prtect the plant on steep gradients and to provide nutrients to the palm. Root systems form early on as a juvinile in order for the plant's trunk and leaves to grow following the roots. This plant also has practical uses around the rainfirest, such as using the wood to build because of its stability fir humans and organisms habitats. [1] This plants trunk, long with the prop roots, attract much epiphyte growthbecause of the abundance of nutrients the tree is able to gain [3].

Interactions with other Species:
While at La Selva, it was easy to recognize the interaction that Socratea exorrhiza had with epiphytes and other flora that grew on the trunk and stilt roots. The palm didn’t seem to be strained or lacking nutrients due to the interactions. This is most likely due to the nutrient uptake by the roots. Also, I was able to see a termite nest that was built on the stilt roots of a rather large walking palm. I was ablFinally, I was told by a guide at La Selva that peccary would actually chew and eat the roots.
Although I did not see this at La Sevla, the seeds of the palm are pollinated by beetle

Personal Experience:
Due to the great abundance of this palm at La Selva, I was able to interact with this plant species daily. It was amazing to see the diversity and differences from tree to tree in the structure of the stilt roots. There was variety in size, shape, number and location of the stilt roots. As stated above regarding peccary predation, I was able to see this first hand. The palm had re-grown 5-7 smaller roots closer to the middle of bunch of roots which were the only ones holding up the large tree. Approximately 20-30 surrounding larger roots had been chewed and eaten, presumably by the peccary.

References:
[1] Avalos, Gerardo, et al. (2005). Stilt root structure in the Neotropical palms Iriartea deltoidea and Socratea exorrhiza. Biotropica 37(1): 44-53.

[2] Goldsmith, Gregory R. & Zahawi, Rakan A. (2007). The Function of Stilt Roots in the Growth Strategy of Socratea exorrhiza (Aracaceae) at Two Neotropical Sites. International Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation 55(3-4): 787-793.

[3] Zotz, Gerhard & Vollrath, Birgit (2003). The Epiphyte Vegitation of the Palm Socratea exorrhiza - Correlation with Tree Size, Tree Age, and Bryophyte Cover. Journal of Tropical Ecology 19:81-90.