Chamaedorea palmeriana Hodel & N.W.Uhl, Principes 34: 122 (1990)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Costa Ricapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Panamápresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
PANAMA. Chiriqui. Veraguas. COSTA RICA. Alajuela. Cartago. Heredia. Limon. San Jose. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A


  • C. palmeriana is relatively widespread, occurring in very wet forest from Veraguas Province in Panama westward to at least the upper reaches ofthe Rio Sarapiqui in Costa Rica. It occurs mainly on the Atlantic slope in Costa Rica and Panama. However, in Panama where the Continental Divide is at a lower elevation, C. palmeriana is sometimes found just over it on the Pacific slope. Chamaedorea palmeriana is closest to C. amabilis but the blades bifid apically to no more than 1f4 their length, double the number of nerves on each side of the rachis (20-25 rather than 12-14), and the globose staminate flowers distinguish the latter species. An attractive species often flowering when no more than 30 cm tall, C. palmeriana is noted for its deeply bifid, corrugated, emerald green leaves. In the wild or when well grown, it is a very leafy plant, often bearing 7-10 leaves in a handsome and compact crown. Unfortunately, like other species ofthe genus from wet, cool, relatively high areas, C. palmeriana is somewhat difficult to cultivate and has only recently been introduced to a few gardens in southern California. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Biology And Ecology



  • Habit: solitary, slender, erect but often creeping or decumbent, to 1 m high. Stem: 7-10 min diam., smooth, green, ringed, internodes 5-10 cm long, often with aerial roots at base and rooting along its length. Leaves: 7 or sometimes more, spreading, bifid; sheath 5-7 cm long, tubular, green, minutely white-spotted, obliquely open apically, faintly longitudinally striate-nerved; petiole to 15 cm long, flattened and green above, rounded and green below; rachis 8-12 cm long, angled and green above, rounded below with a faint pale yellow or light green band extending onto sheath; blade to 25 x 25 cm, deeply bifid apically to more than 1/2 its length, ± thin, ± papery, bright emerald green, lobes to 15 x 9?cm, corrugated with 12-14 prominent nerves at top of each ridge above, exterior margins toothed. Inflorescences: interfoliar, erect; peduncles to 20-30 cm long, slender, 5-7 mm wide at base and there ± flattened, 2-3 mm diam. at apex and there rounded, greenish in flower, orange in fruit; bracts 4-5, prophyll 5 cm long, 2nd-4th bracts 15 cm long, uppermost not exceeding peduncle, tightly sheathing, longitudinally striate-nerved, acuminate, bifid, green in flower. Staminate with rachis 1-5 cm long, flexuous, greenish in flower; rachillae 2-7, these to 15 cm long, 1-1.5 mm diam., erect-spreading, longitudinally ridged, green. Pistillate spicate or rarely with 2-3 rachillae; rachis or flowerbearing portion 15-20 cm long, erect, 1.5-2 mm diam. and greenish in flower, thickened to 2.5 mm diam. and orange in fruit. Flowers: Staminate in moderately dense spirals, 2.5 x 2.5 mm, angular-globose, greenish apically, yellowish basally, slightly sunken; calyx 0.5 x 1.75 mm, deeply lobed, brownish, sepals, connate only briefly basally, broadly rounded apically; petals 2.5 x 2-2.5 mm, valvate, connate apically and basally and adnate apically to pistillode and corolla opening by.small basal apertures, these elliptic, 0.5 mm long, orange-brown margin around apertures, rounded-triangular, acute; stamens included; pistillode 2.5 mm high, columnar. Pistillate in rather dense spirals, 3-4 mm apart, 2 x 2 mm, depressed-globose, pale green, slightly sunken; calyx to 0.5 x 2 mm, shallowly lobed, sepals very briefly imbricate or connate basally, broadly rounded apically; petals 2-2.5 x 3 mm, imbricate basally, spreading apically, broadly rounded, acute, greenish or yellowish, 3 mm long in fruit, petals and sepals very lightly nerved on inside; pistil g1obose-subglobose, green, rounded, acute. Fruits: when immature 12 x 6 mm, ellipsoid, green, closely spaced on rachillae, 12 x 8-10 mm when mature, ovoid to globose, black. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Materials Examined

  • COSTA RICA. Alajuela: Chacon 1204 (MO); Gomez 23328 (MO). Cartago: Gomez 18739, 19248, 19264 (MO). Heredia: Chazdon 181, 193, 194 (CR). Limon: Gomez 23514,23548 (MO). San Jose: Chacon 1704, 1731 (CR, MO); Grayum 6121,6122 (MO); Hodel 970,972 (BH, CR). PANAMA. Chiriqui: Churchill 5538, 5539,6115,6116,6123, 6124 (MO); Hampshire 945 (BM); Hodel 726B, 1119A, 1119B (BH, PMA); Knapp 5077, 5535, 5604 (MO). Veraguas: Mori 7667 (MO). (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A