Chamaedorea amabilis H.Wendl. ex Dammer, Gard. Chron. , III, 36: 245 (1904)

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


  • Wendland discovered C. amabilis along the Rio Sarapiqui near the village of San Miguel in Costa Rica about the middle of the 19th century. He returned to Germany with living material and grew it in his greenhouses at Herrenhausen for many years. He worked up a description and name for it which were published a year after his death by his friend Udo Dammer (1904b). Dammer noted that none of Wendland's plants was alive by the early 1900s.
    Chamaedorea amabilis is distributed in wet forests at middle elevations mainly on the Atlantic slope in Costa Rica and Panama. It also occurs sparingly in northwest Colombia. In Panama it occurs up to and just over the Continental Divide at appropriate elevations, such as at El Cope and El Valle. One of the most striking members of the genus, C. amabilis is highly sought after by collectors who do not hesitate to strip great numbers ofthem from the forest which has led to their decline in the wild (Hodel 1988a). C. amabilis is cultivated in California, Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Australia, although it is not common in any of these places. Although Dammer (1904b) reported that all of Wendland's plants had died, the species may still survive in Europe.
    Chamaedorea amabilis is surprisingly hardy considering its origin and has withstood O°C (32°F) without sustaining damage in the Los Angeles area. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A


  • Habit: solitary, slender, erect but sometimes decumbent, 1-2 m tall. Stem: 7-10 mm diam., conspicuously ringed, internodes 5 cm long, conspicuous adventitious prop roots at base to 10 cm high. Leaves: 4-5, spreading, bifid, rich green; sheath 12 cm long, tubular, green, faintly longitudinally striate-nerved; petiole 3-12 cm long, flat and bright green above with a raised, light green, triangular knoblike appendage at base, rounded and with a ± indistinct pale band below; rachis 15-20 cm long, angled and green above, rounded and pale-banded below; blade 30-50 x 15-30 cm, broadly obovate, 15-25 cm wide at apex, incised apically to 1/5-1/4 its length, thin-papery, glabrous, glossy below, cuneate at base, outer margins on upper half conspicuously serrate- dentate, 25 prominent nerves on each side of rachis. Inflorescences: infrafoliar, ascending, slender; peduncles 10-15 cm long, 4 mm wide at base, 5 mm wide at apex, green in flower where exposed, orange in fruit; bracts 4, prophyll I cm long, 2nd bract 3 cm, 3rd 7 cm, distal one 10 cm and exceeding peduncle, papery-membranous, greenish but rapidly turning brownish or rotting to nearly transparent by anthesis, longitudinally striate-nerved, acuminate, bifid. Staminate with very short rachis to I cm long, green in flower; rachillae 3-7, 15-25 cm long, 3-4 mm diam., erect-spreading, green, minutely white-spotted. Pistillate spicate or sometimes furcate; flower-bearing portion or rachillae 15-20 cm long, 5 mm diam., erect, green and minutely white-spotted in flower, swollen and reddish orange in fruit. Flowers: Staminate in rather dense spirals, 2.5-3 x 2.5-3 mm, subglobose, slightly angled, obtuse or ± flattened, greenish at anthesis ageing to brown, aromatic, slightly sunken in rounded depressions 2 mm long; calyx 0.5-0.75 x 2-2.5 mm high, shallowly knotched, greenish ageing to brown, sepals connate basally, broadly rounded apically, nerveless; petals 2.5 x 3 mm, connate apically and there adnate to pistillode and corolla opening by very small, basal, lateral apertures, triangular, acute; stamens 1.5 mm high, connate basally, anthers 0.75 mm long; pistillode 22.5 mm high, obovoid, swollen apically, there I mm wide, green. Pistillate in rather dense spirals, 2-5 mm distant, 2 x 3 mm, depressed-globose, green, swelling with age whether pollinated or not to 4 mm wide and becoming greenish yellow, slightly sunken in elliptic depressions; calyx 0.5 x 3-4 mm, shallowly lobed, green, sepals briefly connate basally, very broadly rounded apically, nerveless; corolla with a terminal triangular opening, 1.5 mm across, petals 2 x 3-3.5 mm, imbricate in basal 3/4, very broadly truncate to acute or undulate apically, ± thickened, limegreen, white-margined, cup-shaped; pistil 1.5 x 2 mm, depressed- globose, dark green, stigma lobes sessile, short, black. Fruits: 12 x 9 mm, globose to oblong, black, smooth, glossy. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Materials Examined