Chamaedorea vulgata Standl. & Steyerm., Publ. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Bot. Ser. 23: 208 (1947)

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


  • The description, taken from Standley and Steyermark (1958), is more limited than that in their original work (1947) due to the inclusion of extraneous elements (probably C. tepejilote) in the latter. I have supplemented the description from our collections. C. vulgata is rather rare in the wild, having been collected on only a few occasions. The stem, sheaths, petioles, rachises, and bracts are densely covered with small but conspicuous white spots, a diagnostic feature that is apparent even on the dried type.
    Because of its strongly nerved pinnae, C. vulgata does bear a resemblance to C. tepejilote but the contiguous staminate flowers, shorter peduncles, and lack of white spots densely covering the stem, leaf sheaths and petioles, and bracts distinguish the latter species. Other than a few plants in the research collection in Los Angeles, C. vulgata is not cultivated. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Biology And Ecology



  • Habit: solitary, erect, 2-3 m tall. Stem: 1-2 cm diam., green, densely and minutely white-spotted, conspicuously ringed, internodes 10 cm long or more. Leaves: 3-5, ascending to spreading, pinnate; sheath to 45 cm long, long-open, distinctly white-spotted; petiole 50-75 cm long, 7-9 mm thick, distinctly white-spotted; rachis to 70 cm long, green below but distinctly white-spotted; pinnae 10 on each side of rachis, middle ones largest, to 50 x 9 cm, linear-lanceolate, not sigmoid, attenuately long-acuminate with nearly straight upper margin, falcate, regularly disposed, mostly alternate, thin, gradually narrowed basally to 3-3.5 cm wide on larger pinnae, green, concolorous, 5 primary nerves, keeled above, yellowish, shining and prominent below, 1-3 secondaries between primaries, shining below, not keeled above, tertiaries fine and numerous, pinnae only slightly decreasing in size toward apex and base of blade. Inflorescences: infrafoliar, erect-spreading; peduncles 25-65 cm long, stout, 2 cm wide at base, 2-4 mm thick at apex in fruit; bracts 5-6, prophyll to 5 cm long, others to 45 cm long, 6-12 mm broad, tubular, acute, oblique apically, striate-nerved, distinctly white-spotted; rachises to 15 cm long, green in flower, orange in fruit. Staminate with 9-12 rachillae, these 15-25 cm long, green, pendulous. Pistillate with 3-12 rachillae, these 15-27 cm long, spreading, becoming orange, thickened, and pendulous in fruit. Flowers: Staminate in moderately dense spirals, 3 mm high, green, superficial; calyx 1mm high, lobed, sepals connate in basal 1/2; petals valvate, free apically; stamens with filaments rather short, anthers elongate and generally bifid apically; pistillode columnar, ± thickened, 3-angled and truncate apically. Pistillate in rather dense spirals, superficial; calyx 1 mm high, lobed; petals rather strongly imbricate, acute; staminodes lacking; pistil ovoid, stigma lobes sessile. Fruits: 8-9 mm long, obovoid, black; seeds globose; abortive carpels adherent to fruit. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Materials Examined