Astrocaryum  spp. – Starnut palm  - Arecaceae

The black bony shells of the starnut palm, Astrocaryum, are carved into beads, earrings and other types of ornament in South America.  Star-like markings on one end of the seed suggest the generic name derived from the Greek, ‘astron’, star, and ‘karyon’, nut.

The fruits of these palms provide a nutritious beverage for tribes in South America. The oil extracted from them is used for cooking, lighting and medicine.  In the Amazon a seed is placed on an infant's necklace to ensure that it walks at an appropriate age.2