Chamaedorea macrospadix Oerst., Vidensk. Meddel. Naturhist. Foren. Kjøbenhavn 1858: 20 (1859)

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


  • Oersted (1859) described and named C. macrospadix from material he collected in the vicinity ofTurrialba in Costa Rica. One ofthe most wide-ranging and variable chamaedoreas in Costa Rica, C. macrospadix occurs on the Atlantic and Pacific slopes from the Cordillera de Tilaran nearly to the Panamanian border. In fact, it would be surprising if C. macrospadix does not appear in collections from Panama in the future. It still occurs in the Turrialba area and can be seen along the trail down to the river at CA.T.I.E. where it grows with C. warscewiczii and C. tepejilote. Also, we found it near San Miguel along the Rio Sarapiqui occurring with the same two species and in the Talamanca region near Panama. On the Pacific slope of Costa Rica we observed it in western Puntarenas near Monteverde and in southeastern Puntarenas in the Golfo Dulce region where it commonly occurs on limestone outcroppings. In these situations it seems to remain virtually stemless for some time before, if ever, forming a stem and also has fewer pinnae and rachillae. Allen (1956) referred to it as Chamaedorea sp. Allen 6742
    Chamaedorea macrospadix is easily recognizable by its very long-pedunculate inflorescences which often exceed the leaves and which in young or stemless plants appear to arise at or near ground level. Also, as Allen (1956) noted, the pinnae have a satiny- glossy sheen on their undersides, similar to that found on the pinnae of Neonicholsonia watsoniana. A similar species with long-pedunculate inflorescences, C. pedunculata, differs in the broadly rhombic pinnae and staminate flowers rhombic- or diamond- shaped.
    Chamaeetorea macrospadix may appear in collections in the near future from seeds the International Palm Society Seed Bank distributed in 1987 and 1988 from our collections at C.A.T.I.E. (Hodel 635, 701) and the Golfo Dulce (Hodel 629, 631, 712). (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Biology And Ecology



  • Habit: solitary, erect or sometimes decumbent, to 4 m tall but flowering when stemless. Stem: 1.5-2 cm diam., green, prominently ringed, internodes 6 cm long. Leaves: 3-7, erect-ascending, pinnate; sheath 15-20 cm long, splitting deeply opposite petiole and very open, clasping completely only toward base, durable, auriculate, brown-margined apically and below this whitish, longitudinally striate-nerved; petiole 30-65 cm long, slightly grooved and green above, rounded and pale below; rachis to 60 cm long, angled and green above, rounded below with a pale yellow band extending onto sheath; pinnae 8-13 on each side of rachis, to 30 x 5 cm, lanceolate, acuminate, regularly spaced, ± straight, only slightly sigmoid or falcate, contracted and plicate basally, ± thick, a very prominent midrib with two much-less-prominent primary nerves and three secondaries on each side of this, end pinnae wider. Inflorescences: interfoliar, erect, sometimes spreading when heavily laden with fruits; peduncles equalling or exceeding leaves, to I m long or more, 1.5 cm wide at base,S mm wide at apex, erect to spreading, light green or yellowish in flower, light orange in fruit; bracts 6-9, 25-30 cm long, tubular, rather tightly clasping, obliquely open apically, acuminate, bifid, brown in flower, longitudinally striate-nerved; rachises 7-10 cm long, obtusely angled longitudinally, green in flower, red-orange in fruit. Staminate with 10-25 rachillae, these 20-35 cm long, pendulous, mostly simple although lower ones may be forked, green. Pistillate with 8-15 rachillae, these to 20-25 cm long, spreading and ± stiff but drooping when laden with fruits, flexuous, green in flower, red-orange in fruit. Flowers: Staminate in rather dense spirals, 2 x 1.5 mm, tapered apically and basally, ovoid, greenish; calyx low, lobed, sepals connate basally, rounded apically; petals valvate, connate apically and basally and adnate apically to pistillode and corolla opening by lateral slits, conspicuously nerved when dry. Pistillate globose and greenish in young bud; calyx lobed, sepals imbricate basally; petals imbricate nearly to apex; pistil ± globose, greenish-yellow, stigma lobes sessile, separated. Fruits: to 10 x 6 mm, oblong and slightly curved to obovoid or subglobose, black. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Materials Examined