Chamaedorea atrovirens Mart., Flora 35: 721 (1852)

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


  • The description is from Martius (1852) who described and named C. atrovirens from a staminate plant in the Munich Botanical Garden that was grown from seeds Karwinski originally collected in Oaxaca without a specific locality. Martius compared it to C. schiedeana and C. elatior, stating that C. atrovirens was somewhat intermediate between these two species. He stated that C. atrovirens had many more pinnae and the petiole was more deeply grooved than that of C. schiedeana. C. elatior differed in the wider and more irregularly spaced, sickle- shaped or falcate, drooping pinnae. Martius' comparison with C. elatioris dubious, however, since there is ample evidence that he confused C. elatior with C. pochutlensis.
    Martius' statement that C. atrovirens had many more pinnae than C. schiedeana is troubling since he put the number ofpinnae at 20-24. It is difficult to determine if 20-24 is the total number ofpinnae or number on each side of the rachis since he did not specify which case. A total of 20-24 pinnae would translate into 10-12 on each side of the rachis, about the same as C. schiedeana. However, if Martius meant 20-24 per side, this number of pinnae would about double that of C. schiedeana and be more in line with that of C. pochutlensis. Burret (1933a) stated that he was not able to determine the placement of C. atrovirens due to the meager description and material. Since the type is apparently lost and the description is inadequate, I am unable to place C. atrovirens even at a subgeneric level although it is probably in subgenus Chamaedorea or subgenus Chamaedoropsis. Ifthe number ofpinnae is indeed 20-24 on each side of the rachis, I suspect that C. atrovirens is probably not distinct from C. pochutlensis. If so, the fact that Martius made no mention ofclustered stems may only reflect that he had a young plant that had yet to produce basal branches. The pinnae spreading at nearly right angles from the rachis, though, are more suggestive of C. elatior.
    Chamaedorea atrovirens is unlikely to be in cultivation (if it is even a distinct species) although such an early name would have priority over many others. The name has been applied erroneously in cultivation to material of C. cataractarum. Krempin (1990, p. 89) discussed and illustrated C. atrovirens but the description and photograph depict C. cataractarum. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Biology And Ecology



  • Habit: solitary, erect, to 2 m tall. Stem: 1-1.5 cm diam., ringed, internodes 2-5 cm long. Leaves: 70-90 cm long, spreading, pinnate; sheath 25 cm long, tubular; petiole 6-8 cm long, flattened or broadly grooved above, rounded below; rachis angled above, rounded below; pinnae 10-12 on each side of rachis, middle ones 20 cm long, lanceolate, uppermost shorter and broadly oblong, spreading at nearly right angles from rachis, closely spaced, acuminate, tips recurved, both sides dark green, shining under, midrib prominent and slightly raised on both sides, 8-10 clear inconspicuous primaries per pinna. Inflorescences: Staminate infrafoliar, 50-60 cm long; peduncle to more than 30 cm long; bracts 6, prophyll 2 cm long, 2nd bract 3.5 cm, 3rd 8 cm, 4th 15 cm, 5th 30 cm, 6th 38 cm, tubular, briefly bifid apically; rachillae 20, simple, spreading to drooping. Pistillate not seen. Flowers: Staminate subglobose in bud, aromatic; calyx green, sepals transversely oblong, margins pale; petals ovate-oblong, obtuse, yellow, drying to olive brown or black; stamens shorter than petals, nearly equalling pistillode. Pistillate not seen. Fruits: not seen. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A