Chamaedorea carchensis Standl. & Steyerm., Publ. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Bot. Ser. 23: 199 (1947)

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


  • The description is from Standley and Steyermark (1947, 1958) who described and named C. carchensis from a pistillate collection only, and is supplemented from our own collections near the type locality and in Huehuetenango. Its initially stemless habit, indurate leaf sheaths, and straight pinnae remind one of C. radicalis, although C. carchensis grows much larger and is vastly different in flowers and fruits. Young plants have deeply bifid leaves not too dissimilar from juvenile leaves of C. elatior. C. carchensis is probably closest to C. woodsoniana but the more robust stem, more prominently nerved pinnae, massive staminate inflorescence with up to 100 rachillae, and larger, more elongated fruits distinguish the latter species. Also, C. woodsoniana develops a visible, elongated, aboveground stem much more rapidly than C. carchensis.
    The petioles of C. carchensis are densely covered with black tomentum that tends to weather away but remnants of which are usually noticeable on dried herbarium specimens and is diagnostic for the species. The leaves of C. carchensis are among the longest in the genus. The species is apparently not cultivated. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Biology And Ecology



  • Habit: solitary, erect or briefly decumbent, flowering when appearing stemless, to 3 m tall. Stem: 3-5 cm diam., green, ringed with swollen and brown leaf scars, internodes 1-5 cm long, covered with persistent leafsheaths, basal portion of stem more densely ringed, curved, at or below leaf litter or ground. Leaves: 3-4, ascending, pinnate, to 3 m long; sheath 10-30 cm long, 2-5 cm diam., obliquely long-open, tubular only near base, indurate, narrowed to petiole, persistent; petiole 1 m long or slightly more, nearly 1 cm diam., flat or grooved above, rounded below, densely covered with ± deciduous black tomentum; rachis 1-1.7 m long, angled and green above, rounded and green below, covered near the base with deciduous black tomentum; pinnae 15-20 on each side ofrachis, middle ones 50 x 3.5-4 cm, linear-lanceolate, straight, not sigmoid, equally attenuate-acuminate, drooping, regularly placed, alternate, remote, gradually narrowed basally to 10-15 mm wide, slightly indurate, conspicuously 1-nerved and with 2 more slender submarginal nerves, secondaries very slender and inconspicuous, the terminal ones scarcely wider or in young leaves twice as wide as lower pinnae, both to 27 cm long. Inflorescences: infrafoliar, erect, breaking through persistent sheaths; peduncles 35-100 cm long, stout, to 4 cm wide at base and there flattened, to 1.5 cm diam. at apex, green in flower, redorange in fruit where exposed; bracts 6-8, prophyll to 8 cm long, 2nd bract to 12 cm, 3rd 15 cm, 4th 20 cm, 5th and 6th 25 cm, 7th 30 cm, 8th 10 cm and concealed by 7th, tubular, oblique apically, bifid, acute to obtuse, green in bud, brownish in fruit densely striate-nerved; rachises to 25 cm long, stout, green in flower, red-orange in fruit. Staminate with 20-40 rachillae, these to 15 em long, ± drooping, green in bud. Pistillate with rachillae 18-40, these 6-25 em long, stout, arcuate- erect to straight and parallel, stiff, green in flower, red-orange in fruit. Flowers: Staminate only in immature bud, ± globose, green. Pistillate 2 x 2 mm, globose, scarcely sunken in orbicular or broadly oval depressions 1-1.2 mm long; calyx 2 mm across, thickened in age, deeply lobed, sepals imbricate and/or connate in basal 1/4-1/2 round apically, obtuse; petals 3 mm long, round-ovate, imbricate, obtuse, thickened in age. Fruits: 10 x 9 mm, ± globose, black. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Materials Examined