Chamaedorea parvifolia Burret, Notizbl. Bot. Gart. Berlin-Dahlem 11: 746 (1933)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Costa Ricapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B


  • The description is from Burret (1933a), who described and named C. parvifolia from a pistillate collection only, and is supplemented from our collections near the type locality. Tonduz's type was destroyed and duplicates have not been found. Since the species is distinctive in habit and habitat and many collections of it appear in several herbaria, it seems appropriate to retypifY this taxon here.?Standley (1937) reported C. parvifolia to be a common palm of the oak (Quercus) forests of Canton de Dota in Costa Rica. He also reported it from the region of San Ramon.
    Strangely, C. parvifolia seems very close in habit to C. pittieri. Both are attractive plants and have short, prominently ringed stems with very congested nodes; thick, durable, heavily striated sheaths; small leaves with more or less thick, grayish green pinnae with a bluish cast; and long-pedunculate, fewbranched, stiffly erect inflorescences. In fact, when I first saw C. parvifolia near Copey, Canton de Dota, I assumed it was C. pittieri. Fortunately, I was able to collect good staminate material, and the apically connate petals with the corolla opening by lateral slits confirm its placement in subgenus Chamaedorea and set it well apart from C. pittieri. Still, the apparent similarities of the two in all aspects except staminate flowers are remarkable. C. parvifolia does not appear to be cultivated. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Biology And Ecology



  • Habit: solitary, slender, erect, initially stemless but eventually to 2 m tall. Stem: 1.5 cm diam., wholly or partially submerged in leaflitter, prominently ringed, internodes short, to 3 cm long, often with persistent leaf bases. Leaves: 5-8, erect-spreading, pinnate; sheath to 15 cm long, obliquely open apically, densely and conspicuously longitudinally striated; petiole to 15 cm long or more; rachis 23 cm long, green above, white-banded below; blade 35 cm long, elliptic; pinnae 4-5 on each side of rachis, middle and upper ones largest, these to 16 x 3-4 cm, lower ones shorter, 7.5 x 2.5-2.8 cm, lowest even smaller, lanceolate, slightly sigmoid, long-acuminate, graygreen with a bluish cast above, paler below, ± thick, rather scattered along rachis although basal ones are closer, 2-3 prominent nerves per pinna, secondaries and tertiaries not too conspicuous, apical pair wider, to 8 cm wide, 3-nerved. Inflorescences: Staminate erect, solitary; peduncle to at least 35 cm long, moderately slender, 3 mm wide at base and flattened; bracts 4, 3-4 mm diam. at base, briefly contracted apically, closely sheathing, uppermost briefly exceeding or equalling peduncle; rachillae up to 5, these to 10 cm long, spreading. Pistillate similar to staminate but with 3 rachillae, these 7-8 cm long, moderately slender, nearly upright, longitudinally angled, orange-red in fruit. Flowers: Staminate in rather dense spirals, 3.5 x 2.5 mm, ovoid, tapered apically and basally, drying black, superficial or only slightly sunken; calyx 0.75-1 x 2-2.5 mm, lobed, sepals connate in basal 1/2 broadly rounded apically; petals 4 x 2.5-3 mm, valvate, connate apically and basally and apically adnate to pistillode and corolla opening by lateral and elliptic apertures, acute, lightly but conspicuously nerved; stamens 2.5 mm high, filaments short, anthers 2 x 0.75 mm; pistillode 3-3.5 mm high, columnar, slender. Pistillate with calyx very lightly nerved in fruit, suborbicular, nearly outspread; corolla not much larger than calyx, petals imbricate, free, suborbicular, broadly rotund. Fruits: in loose spirals, superficial on the rachillae, small, nearly globose, longer than broad, black, immature fruit ellipsoid. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Materials Examined