Chamaedorea volcanensis Hodel & Cast.Mont, Phytologia 68: 393 (1990)

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


  • C. volcanensis appears restricted to the vast and diverse forests ofthe wet, Pacific slopes of Volcán Tajumulco, Volcán Santa Maria, Volcan Zunil, and Volcán Santo Tomas in western Guatemala. Plants will often initially flower with bifid leaves and few-branched inflorescences but will later have pinnate leaves and inflorescences with more rachillae. Without stretching the imagination too much, the staminate inflorescence with its densely flowered rachillae remind one of an erupting volcano as the rachillae are first erect then apically drooping, mimicking molten material being ejected from a crater.
    Flowers of C. volcanensis are similar to those of C. castillo-montii from eastern Guatemala. However, the latter species has spicate staminate inflorescences and usually bifid leaves (or, if pinnate, then linear pinnae with a prominent midrib and less conspicuous secondary nerves). Other than a few plants in the research collection in Los Angeles, C. volcanensis is not cultivated. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Biology And Ecology



  • Habit: solitary, erect, first flowering when stemless, eventually to I.5 m tall. Stem: 2-3 cm diam., initially creeping at or below leaf litter, then curved, to 15 cm long, rooting along its length, nodes very congested, internodes to 5 mm long, eventually above-ground stem developing with internodes to 5 cm long, erect. Leaves: 4-5, spreading, regularly pinnate to 1.8 m long or flowering when variously and unevenly pinnate or bifid and then substantially smaller; sheath to 30 cm long, splitting deeply opposite petiole, obliquely long-open, tubular only in basal 1/2, thick, green, longitudinally striate-nerved; petiole to 70 cm long, flat and green above and slightly grooved near base, rounded and pale below, green and longitudinally striate-nerved laterally; rachis to 75 cm long, angled and green above, rounded below with a yellowish band extending onto sheath; pinnae 8-12 on each side ofrachis, middle ones longest, to 35 x 7 cm, long-lanceolate, slightly sigmoid, falcate, acuminate, contracted basally, 5 prominent primary nerves above, apical pair usually widest, to 25 x 7.5 cm, 7-8 prominent primary nerves above, 1 secondary between each pair of primaries, basal pinnae to 25 x 4 cm, all pinnae ± thin with conspicuous primary and secondary nerves drying a distinct pale yellow below; or, if blade bifid then to 30 x 25 cm, incised apically more than 1/2 its length, rachis to 10 cm long, 7-9 primary nerves on each side of rachis, 2 secondaries between each pair of primaries. Inflorescences: infrafoliar, erect from base at or below leaf litter, long-pedunculate; peduncles to 65 cm long, 5-7 mm wide at base and flattened, 3-5 mm diam. at apex, green where exposed in flower, orange and nodding slightly when heavily laden with fruits; bracts 6-7, prophyll 2.5 cm long, 2nd bract 2.5-3 cm, 3rd 4-5 cm, 4th 7-8 cm, 5th 15 cm, 6th 20 cm, 7th 20-25 cm and extending onto rachis and concealing rudimentary 8th bract, tubular, acute-acuminate, green to brown in flower, brownish in fruit, papery, longitudinally striate-nerved. Staminate with rachis 5 cm long, simple or basal portion branched with up to 5 rachillae per branch, pale green in flower; rachillae 2-13, these 10-15 cm long, 1 mm diam., briefly erect basally then drooping, pale green in flower, densely flowered nearly to base. Pistillate usually few-branched with up to 5 rachillae, or spicate or furcate especially when young; rachis to 6 cm long, slightly longitudinally angled, greenish in flower, orange in fruit; rachillae or flower-bearing portion to 15 cm long, erect, rigid and whitish or very pale green in flower, slightly swollen and orange in mature fruit. Flowers: Staminate in very dense spirals but not contiguous, 0.5-1 mm apart, in bud 1.5 x 1.5-2 mm, subglobose, older flowers 4 mm diam., ± globose, white or cream ageing to brown, only slightly sunken in superficial elliptic depressions 2.5 mm long; calyx well developed and prominent in bud, 1 x 2 mm, deeply but irregularly lobed, thin, membranous, brown-margined, sepals connate only briefly basally, rounded-acute apically; petals 1.5 x 2-2.5 mm, deltoid, valvate, connate basally, spreading apically to give corolla vaselike shape, fleshy but thin; stamens equalling or exceeding petals, filaments large, terete, flared basally, fleshy, those opposite sepals to 2.5 mm long, others 2.0 mm long, anthers 1 x 0.75-1 mm, oval, widely divergent and flattened basally, thin, attached briefly to filament distally; pistillode 1-1.5 mm high, columnar, flared and flattened basally, tip flat, 3-lobed. Pistillate borne in 5 dense spirals but not contiguous, 0.5-1 mm apart, 2 mm diam., globose, whitish or cream, only slightly sunken in shallow elliptic depressions 2.5 mm long; calyx well developed and prominent in bud, 0.75-1 x 2-2.5 mm, lobed, thin, membranous, brown-margined, sepals connate in basal 1/2, broadly rounded apically; petals 2 x 1.5-2 mm, tightly imbricate nearly to apex, connate basally only briefly, straight or rounded apically; staminodes lacking; pistil 1.5 x 1.5 mm, ovoid, stigma lobes sessile, short, pointed, recurved. Fruits: 12 x 8 mm, oblong or ovoid, narrowed at apical end, black. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Materials Examined