Chamaedorea nationsiana Hodel & Cast.Mont, Principes 35: 4 (1991)

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


  • C. nationsiana is closest to C. arenbergiana with which it has been confused. However, the solitary, branched staminate inflorescences with up to ten pendulous rachillae distinguish C. arenbergiana. Fisher and Moore (1977), reporting on multiple inflorescences in palms, stated that C. arenbergiana had multiple staminate inflorescences.
    However, this is in error; Wendland's type specimen ofC. arenbergiana and his original description clearly show this species to have solitary, branched, staminate inflorescences.
    Although all the known specimens of C. nationsiano, are from one locality in Guatemala, this highly localized distribution may be more apparent than real. Nearly all collections labeled as C. arenbergiana from the Atlantic slope of Guatemala and adjacent Honduras are in fruit. Some of these may actually be C. nationsiana since the two species are difficult to distinguish when only fruiting material is at hand.?We distributed seeds of C. nationsiana in December, 1989 as C. arenbergiana under the numbers Hodel & Castillo 869, 873. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Biology And Ecology



  • Habit: solitary, erect, to 2.5 m tall. Stem: 2-3 cm diam., green, smooth, ringed, internodes to 10 cm long. Leaves: 5-6, erect-spreading, pinnate; sheath to 30 cm long, obliquely open apically, rough- and brown-margined, longitudinally striated, green with a raised yellowish central costa; petiole to 75 cm long, flat or slightly channeled and green above, rounded and pale below; rachis to 1 m long or perhaps more, angled and green above, rounded below with a distinct yellow band extending onto sheath; pinnae to lion each side of rachis, middle ones largest, these to 53 x 9 cm, lowest pinnae to 40 x 6 cm, apical pair to 35 x 8.5 cm, lanceolate, slightly sigmoid, falcate, longacuminate, opposite to subopposite, 8-9 prominent primary nerves above, middle one often most prominent, these pale and keeled below, 1 secondary between each pair of primaries, tertiaries numerous, faint, apical pair 10-nerved. Inflorescences: inter- or infrafoliar in flower, infrafoliar in fruit, spicate. Staminate several to a node, usually 8, each with a separate prophyll and peduncular bracts but borne on a common hypopodium, center inflorescence developing first followed sequentially by others on either side; peduncle to 25 cm long, 5 mm wide at the base, 2-3 mm diam. at apex, ascending; bracts 4-5, prophyll to 5 cm long, 2nd bract to 9 cm, 3rd to 15 cm, 4th to 25 cm, 5th to 25 cm and greatly exceeding peduncle, fibrous, acute to acuminate, longitudinally striate-nerved, greenish in flower, tips brown and tattered, shredding with age; rachis or flower-bearing portion to 15 cm long, pendulous, densely flowered. Pistillate solitary at a node, ascending in flower, nodding in fruit; peduncle to 30 cm long, 1 cm wide at base and there ± flattened, 2-5 mm diam. at apex, greenish or pale in flower, bright orange and swollen in fruit; bracts 5, similar to those ofstaminate but brownish in flower becoming tattered and often fallen away in fruit; rachis or flower-bearing portion to 15 cm long and ± straight in flower, to 20 cm long and ± straight to strongly curved in fruit. Flowers: Staminate in dense spirals, contiguous in bud, 2 x 1-1.5 mm, ± globose, angled by mutual pressure; calyx well developed, prominent, 1 x 1.5 mm, scarcely lobed, membranous, sepals connate to apex, straight or broadly rounded apically; petals 1-1.5 x 1.5 mm, triangular, valvate, spreading apically, acute; stamens 0.8 mm high, shorter than petals, tightly placed around but not exceeding pistillode, filaments short, anthers 0.8 mm long, oblong, ± sessile, bilobed; pistillode 1 mm high, columnar, flared basally and apically. Pistillate in 5 dense spirals, contiguous, in bud 3-3.5 mm long, 2.5-3 mm wide, rhombic-shaped by mutual pressure, at anthesis 1.5-1.75 mm high, depressed-globose, ± superficial, leaving elliptic scars 2 x 0.75-1 mm; calyx well developed, prominent, 1.5 x 2.5-3.5 mm, scarcely lobed, ± membranous, sepals connate nearly to apex, straight apically; petals 1.5 x 2.5 mm, broadly triangular, imbricate nearly to apex, inflexed, rounded apically; pistil 2 mm high, ± columnar but swollen and to 1.5 mm wide basally, 0.5 mm diam. apically, terminal cap broadly flared, stigma lobes sessile, recurved, bifid. Fruits: 1-1.5 cm diam., densely packed and angled from mutual pressure, black; seeds 6-9 mm diam., angled, brown. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Materials Examined