Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/415

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reach across the vast marshy meadows. In that part of the continent it is not so extensively used,[1] but it is nevertheless one of the chief building timbers of that region, and its fruits are eaten by the natives, the tender phylophore is eaten as a vegetable, while the leaves are used for thatch, for fans, straw hats and cordage. This carnaúba, or carandá, ac it is called in the upper Paraguay region, is one of a few social palms.

PSM V60 D415 Carnauba palms on the paraguay river.png
Fig. 23. Carnaúba Palms on the Paraguay River.

The Coco.—The coco palm (or cocoa as we erroneously call it) is not a native of South America, but it is extensively grown, especially along the sandy seashore from Caravellas, Bahia, northward. From Caravellas to the mouth of the Amazon, a distance of about two thousand miles, probably half the way the beach is flat and sandy and is actually used for growing coco palms. And it is worthy of note that these sandy beaches are of little or no value for other agricultural purposes. Almost everywhere these coco-palm groves are thickly though not conspicuously inhabited. The villages and even towns of considerable size that spring up in the groves are made up for the most part of people of the poorer classes who pass here an ideal tropical life. The posts and lath of the houses are made of the palm trunks, the roofs are made of the leaves, their food and drink are taken from the inside coco shells; the nuts are eaten green and ripe in a

  1. Herbert H. Smith thinks this palm different from the carnaúba of Ceará ('Do Rio de Janeiro a Cuyaba,' p. 366), but Barbosa Rodriguez, the Brazilian botanist, says they are the same ('Palmæ mattogrossenses,' p. 1). Morong reports the Copernicia cerifera and describes two new species from Paraguay. 'Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci.,' VII., 245-247.