Chamaedorea tenerrima Burret, Notizbl. Bot. Gart. Berlin-Dahlem 11: 858 (1933)

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


  • The description is from Burret (1933a), Standley and Steyermark (1958), and supplemented from our collections. Unfortunately, good staminate material of C. tenerrima is not known. C. tenerrima is locally distributed in the wild, having been collected only on a few occasions in Alta Verapaz and Baja Verapaz. Although usually pinnate, plants will infrequently flower with bifid leaves. An outstanding and diagnostic feature of the pinnae are the auricles on the lower margins near the base that actually extend across the rachis on the underside.
    Cook (1947a, page 19) illustrated these appendages. Since Lehmann's holotype was destroyed and isotypes have not been found and C. tenerrima is such a distinct plant, it is appropriate to retypify this taxon here.
    Chamaedorea tenerrima easily has the most striking and unusual leaves in the genus. They are outstanding in the exceedingly broad terminal pair of pinnae, widely flaring with prominent, white, sigmoid nerves and toothed margins. Terminal pinnae are suggestive of a butterfly's large, anterior, flaring wings. Other pinnae are much smaller, strongly contracted at the base, and sharply reflexed on the rachis. C. tenerrima 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, erect or decumbent, slender, to 1.5 m tall. Stem: 3-7 mm diam., smooth, green, ringed, internodes 2-5 cm long. Leaves: 4-5, spreading, pinnate, variously pinnate or infrequently bifid; sheath to 15 cm long, tubular; petiole 4-12 cm long, rugose, grayish; rachis 6-20 cm long, rugose, grayish; blade broadly obovate; pinnae 2-7 on each side of rachis, to 11 x 2.5 cm, strongly reflexed, sigmoid, lower margin produced in a prominent auricle below, outer margins minutely scarious-roughened, mucronulate and emarginate at tips of nerves and rather sharply toothed between them, a prominent midrib and a less conspicuous primary nerve on each side of this, apical pair to 15 x 8-10 cm, broadly flared, 3-8-nerved, all pinnae thin, green, concolorous; if bifid then blade incised apically to 112 its length with broadly spreading lobes, these to 19 x 14 cm wide at apex, ovate-oblong, shortly acuminate apically, rounded to subacute basally, outer margin toothed, 9-10 primary nerves on each side of rachis. Inflorescences: infrafoliar, erect to spreading; peduncles 8-30 cm long, slender; bracts 4-6, tubular, contracted or short-acuminate, upper reaching to rachis; rachises to 4 cm long. Staminate with up to 10 rachillae, these slender, small, green. Pistillate with 2-3 rachillae, these 3-10 cm long, very slender, recurved, downward-pointing and red in fruit. Flowers: Staminate known only in immature state, in loose spirals, depressed-globose, superficial; calyx short, lobed; petals valvate, spreading apically; stamens with anthers entire apically; pistillode short, columnar. Pistillate in ± dense spirals, 1-1.8 mm apart, 2.5-3 x 2.5-3 mm, ± globose, green; calyx 1 x 1.8-2 mm, moderately lobed, green, sepals connate and/or imbricate in basal 2/3, rounded apically; petals 2.5-3 x 2.5-3 mm, imbricate nearly to apex, broadly triangular, rounded to obtuse apically, only slightly erect; staminodes present; pistil 1.75 x 1.5 mm, depressed-globose-obovoid, flattened apically, stigma lobes short, sessile, clear-colored. Fruits: 6-7 mm diam., globose, black, seated on superficial and . widely spaced rounded cushions; seeds globose; abortive carpels apparently adherent to perianth. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Materials Examined