Chamaedorea arenbergiana H.Wendl., Index Palm. : 66 (1854)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Belizepresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Colombiapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Costa Ricapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
El Salvadorpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Guatemalapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Honduraspresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Gulfpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Southeastpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Southwestpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Nicaraguapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Panamápresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
MEXICO. Chiapas. Oaxaca. Veracruz. GUATEMALA. Alta Verapaz. Baja Verapaz. Huehuetenango. San Marcos. HONDURAS. Atlantida. EL SALVADOR? NlCARAGUA? COSTA RICA? PANAMA? COLOMBIA? (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A


  • Apparently introduced to European gardens prior to 1850, Wendland (1854) described and named C. arenbergiana from plants cultivated in the gardens of the Duke d'Arenberg-Nieppen in Belgium. Wendland was unsure of its provenance, but tentatively listed its origin as Guatemala. According to Guillaumin (1923b), it was cultivated at the Musee de Paris in France as early as 1862 as C. densiflora.
    Chamaedorea arenbergiana occurs in moist and wet forest from Mexico through Guatemala, Honduras, and perhaps El Salvador and even further south in Central America and into northern South America. Some of the collections tentatively identified as C. arenbergiana which have extended its range to Costa Rica and Colombia are perhaps C. allenii, C. crucensis, or closely related, yet unnamed, taxa. Part ofthe difficulty in distinguishing between C. arenbergiana and related taxa (and thus establishing their true ranges) is that staminate material, which is critical for diagnosis, is infrequently found since it is fragile and deteriorates quickly. When only fruiting material is at hand, which is most often the case, diagnosis is difficult at best. I have yet to be able to establish diagnostic characters based only on foliage or fruiting material. C. arenbergiana is probably closest to C. nationsiana but the multiple, spicate staminate inflorescences distinguish this latter species. Chamaedorea arenbergiana is an attractive ornamental with large, handsome leaves, densely flowered, spicate or forked inflorescences, and corncoblike infructescences. It always draws attention in the garden when heavily laden with densely packed, black fruits. Pinnae of C. arenbergiana can be up to 15 cm wide, making them among the widest in the genus. C. arenbergiana is cultivated in Hawaii, California, Florida, Australia, and perhaps elsewhere. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Biology And Ecology



  • Habit: solitary, erect, rarely decumbent, to 4 m tall, sometimes flowering when stemless. Stem: 2-3 cm diam. green, ringed, internodes 5-15 cm long. Leaves: 4-6, erect-spreading, pinnate, to 2-2.5 m long; sheath 30-45 cm long, obliquely open apically, auriculate; petiole 35-45 cm long, obtusely triangular, faintly channeled and green above, rounded and pale below; rachis 1-1.25 m long, angled and green above, rounded below with a pale band extending onto sheath; pinnae 8-10 on each side of rachis, largest ones 60 x 15 cm, rather elongate-oblong or oblong-lanceolate, sigmoid, ± falcate, well spaced, very long-acuminate and drooping apically, contracted basally, 5-8 prominent primary nerves keeled above, shining and yellowish below, numerous nerves of lesser orders present. Inflorescences: infrafoliar, solitary, erect in flower, spreading or nodding in fruit; peduncles 15-20 cm long, ± stout, 1-1.5 cm diam., green in flower, red-orange in fruit; bracts 5-6, fibrous, loosely sheathing, greenish brown or brown in flower often becoming tattered, longitu mally striate-nerved, upper ones exceeding peduncle. Staminate with rachis 3 cm long, pale in flower; rachillae 8-10, these 12-15 cm long, 8 mm diam., pendulous, pale in flower. . Pistillate spicate or forked; rachis or flower-bearing portion 6-15 cm long, 1.5 cm or more diam., orange and swollen in fruit. Flowers: Staminate in 6 dense spirals, contiguous in bud, 3 x 3.5-4 mm, depressed-globose, angled from mutual pressure, cream-colored to brownish white, ± superficial; calyx higher than petals and enclosing them in bud, 1.5 x 4 mm at anthesis, shallowly lobed, sepals connate nearly to apex, forming a sheathing tube, ± straight apically; corolla adnate with stamen filaments and pistillode in a very short basal stipe, petals 3.5-4 x 3 mm, broadly ovate, imbricate in basal 1/3-1/2, valvate and free apically, spreading, erect, rounded to acute, ± thick; stamens equalling petals, clear- or cream-colored, filaments prominent, distinct, anthers divaricate basally; pistillode 3.5-4 mm tall, equalling stamens and petals, columnar, apically 3-lobed, cream-colored. Pistillate very densely crowded in perhaps as many as 20 rows and ± sunken in axis; calyx nearly as high as petals, shallowly lobed, membranous, sepals connate nearly to apex, rounded to straight apically; petals imbricate nearly to apex, short-pointed; staminodes lacking; pistil ovoid, 3-lobed, stigma lobes sessile, short, recurved. Fruits: 12 x 19 mm, subglobose or transverse-oblong, densely packed, angled from mutual pressure, black; seeds 10-12 x 9-10 mm, oblong; abortive carpels usually separating from fruit and adhering to perianth. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Materials Examined

  • COLOMBIA. Antioquia: Kalbreyer 1894 (GOET). COSTA RICA. Without specific locality: Koschny s.n. (M). GUATEMALA. Alta Verapaz: Hodel 1011 (AGUAT, BH); Standley 91939 (F). Baja Verapaz: Hodel 1015, 1104 (AGUAT, BH). Huehuetenango: Hodel 1005 (AGUAT, BH); Steyermark 48846 (F). San Marcos: Hodel 996 (AGUAT, BH); Steyermark 37362 (F). HONDURAS. Atlantida: Standley3351, 54156, 54157 (F, GH). MEXICO. Chiapas: Breedlove 33109 (MEXU); Croat 46653 (MO); Hodel 929A, 929B (BH, MEXU). Oaxaca/Veracruz: Hammel 15566 (MO). PANAMA. San Bias: Pittier 4276 (F). (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A