Chamaedorea parvisecta Burret, Notizbl. Bot. Gart. Berlin-Dahlem 11: 742 (1933)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Guatemalapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Southeastpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
GUATEMALA. Alta Verapaz. Baja Verapaz. EI Progreso. Huehuetenango. Zacapa. MEXICO. Chiapas. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A


  • The description is from Burret (1933a) who described and named C. parvisecta from material that Tuerckheim had collected near Coban, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala in the early 1900s. Burret stated that the differences between C. parvisecta and C. pulchra were few, if any. It is unfortunate that the types of both species were destroyed and that apparently no isotypes have been found. However, the descriptions of the two species are nearly identical and, after examining numerous collections from the Coban region and Alta Verapaz that exemplify a rather large range of variability, I hold them to be the same. Since there are specimens of C. parvisecta in several herbaria, it is appropriate to retypify this taxon here.
    Standley and Steyermark (1958) named and described C. digitata and I feel it represents the small end ofthe range ofvariability of C. parvisecta. Also, C. parvisecta will flower at a very young stage when stemless and then with much reduced inflorescences. The flowering at a young stage probably accounts for the smaller dimensions of Standley's and Steyermark's description of C. digitata.
    Chamaedorea parvisecta has leaves that become pinnate at a very early stage and is similar in this regard to C. whitelockiana from the Pacific slope. The spinose-tipped fruiting rachillae, erect staminate rachillae, and apically incurved nearly connate staminate petals distinguish the latter species. C. parvisecta is not cultivated except for a few plants in the research collection in Los Angeles (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Biology And Ecology



  • Habit: solitary, slender, erect, to 3 m tall, often flowering when appearing stemless. Stem: 5-7 mm diam., green, smooth, ringed, internodes to 10 cm long, upper part covered with persistent sheaths. Leaves: 3-5, spreading, pinnate; sheath to 20 cm long, tubular, obliquely open apically and there longitudinally green-striatenerved, persistent; petiole 30 cm long, grooved and green above, rounded and green below; rachis to 40 cm long, obtusely angled and green above, rounded and green below; pinnae to 10 or more on each side of rachis, larger central ones to 20 x 4.5 cm, lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, not conspicuously sigmoid, long and narrowly acuminate, strongly contracted basally, widest at middle, regularly disposed, alternate, thin-papery, dull green with a light bluish or grayish cast above, paler below, a prominent midrib, 2 ± obscure primary nerves and 2 secondaries on each side of midrib. Inflorescences: infrafoliar, breaking through old sheaths at nodes, erect to spreading; peduncles 18-40 cm long; bracts 6-8, lowest four of these short and densely congested, less than 4 cm long, others to 15 cm long, 2.5-3.5 cm diam., tubular, brownish, longitudinally striated; rachises nearly lacking to 10 cm long, green in flower, red-orange in fruit. Staminate with 4-18 rachillae, these to 12 cm long, slender, drooping. Pistillate with 3-10 rachillae, these 5-12 cm long, moderately slender, erect and green in flower, orange and thickened in fruit, blunt-tipped. Flowers: Staminate in moderate or dense spirals, semiglobose in bud, atanthesis 1.75-2 x 2-2.5 mm, ± globose, cream-colored ageing to brown, slightly sunken; calyx 0.25-0.4 x 1.75-2 mm, deeply lobed, sepals connate in basal 1/4 or nearly free, broadly rounded apically; petals 2 x 1.25-1.5 mm, long-ovate, valvate, free nearly to base, acute, faintly nerved when dry; stamens 1.5 mm tall, filaments 0.5-0.75 mm long, very slender, anthers 0.75 mm long, oval to oblong, basifixed; pistillode 1.75-2 mm tall, columnar, flared slightly basally. Pistillate in moderate spirals, slightly sunken; calyx low, 2.5 mm across, lobed, sepals connate and/or imbricate basally, broadly rounded apically; petals 2 x 3 mm, broadly ovate, imbricate basally; staminodes present; stigma lobes short, sessile. Fruits: 10 x 9 mm, ± globose to broadly ovoid, black, moderately fleshy, laxly disposed, seated in distinct depressions in axis. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Materials Examined