Chamaedorea zamorae Hodel, Principes 34: 173 (1990)

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


  • The type of C. zamorae is from cultivated plants grown at Wahiawa Botanic Garden of the Honolulu Botanic Gardens in Hawaii. They were grown from seeds that Harold Koopowitz collected in 1966 near Laguna de Arenal, Costa Rica. By 1974 and up until at least 1978, they were fruiting with bifid leaves and were nearly stemless. In 1987, they were flowering and fruiting, had erect stems about 2 m tall, and, for the most part, had leaves with 3-5 narrow basal pinnae on each side of the rachis and a pair of very broadly lobed apical pinnae. C. zamoraeis rare in cultivation, occurring only at Wahiawa Botanic Garden.
    Chamaedorea zamorae is similar to C. crucensis and C. allenii. In fruit, it may be difficult to distinguish between C. deckeriana and bifid-leaved forms of C. zamorae and C. allenii. Some differences between these four species are summarized in the table below (pinnae/side; sheath margin; staminate inflor.; flowers; fruits; stamens)
    Chamaedorea zamorae: 1-6 rarely bifid; whitish; solitary; white; red> black; included
    Chamaedorea allenii: 7-9 rarely bifid; whitish; solitary; yellow; black; included
    Chamaedorea crucensis: 9-11; whitish; solitary; white; red> black; protruded
    Chamaedorea deckeriana: bifid; green; multiple; green; red> black; protruded (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 although flowering when stemless. Stem: 2-2.5 cm diam., green, ringed, internodes 3-8 cm long. Leaves: 3-5, erect-spreading, pinnate or rarely bifid; sheath 15-20 cm long, obliquely open apically and light green or nearly white and lightly striate-nerved; petiole 10-50 cm long, grooved and green above, rounded and pale below; rachis 40-60 cm long, angled and green above, rounded below with a pale band extending onto sheath; pinnae 3-6 on each side of rachis, all except apical pair long-Ianceolate, 20-30 x 2-3 cm, weakly sigmoid, falcate, long-acuminate and drooping slightly apically, slightly contracted basally, opposite or subopposite, midrib and 4-5 prominent primary nerves on each side of this above, apical pair of pinnae very broad, as broad or broader than others combined, 12-18 cm wide and with more nerves, exterior margin coarsely toothed toward apex. Inflorescences: interfoliar but often infrafoliar in fruit, erect to spreading; peduncles 15-30 cm long, erect or sometimes curved in fruit, pale or greenish in flower, red-orange in fruit; bracts 5-6, green, thin-papery, turning brown in fruit, uppermost opening long-oblique and exceeding peduncle. Staminate forked with a very short rachis 1-2 cm long or perhaps spicate; flower-bearing portion of rachillae 20-30 cm long, I cm wide with flowers at anthesis, pendulous. Pistillate spicate; rachis or flower-bearing portion 10-15 cm long, stiff and erect in bud and in flower, becoming downward-pointing and curved in fruit. Flowers: Staminate in 8 dense spirals, contiguous, brownish white; calyx prominent, 2 mm high, lobed, sepals connate basally, rounded to straight and broad apically, ± rectangular, 2 x 1.5 mm, thickened below across apex; petals 4 x 2 mm, valvate, ± fleshy, thickened along margins; stamens not exceeding petals, filaments 2.5 mm long, longer than pistillode, terete, anthers 1 x 0.5 mm, medifixed, at right angles to filament; pistillode 1.5 x 0.5 mm, columnar, slightly expanded apically and with 3 rounded lobes, 1/2 as high as stamens. Pistillate in densely packed irregular rows, contiguous, 3.5 x 2.5-3.5 mm, yellow; calyx prominent, 2 mm high, lobed, sepals connate basally, widely truncate apically, 2 x 0.5 mm, thicker apically; petals 3 x 2.5 mm, imbricate nearly to apex, cupped with a short tip at center; staminodes lacking; pistil 2.5 x 2.25 mm, subglobose, styles short or lacking, stigma lobes closed but ± triangular. Fruits: 10-15 x 10-12 mm, conic-globose, densely packed, contiguous, angled by mutual pressure, green, maturing red and perhaps ageing black. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Materials Examined