Chamaedorea scheryi L.H.Bailey, Gentes Herb. 6: 252 (1943)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Costa Ricapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Panamápresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
PANAMA. Chiriqui. Cocle. COSTA RICA. Alajuela. Heredia. Cartago. San Jose. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A


  • Bailey (1943a) described and named C. scheryi from material that Woodson and Schery had collected in Chiriqui, Panama. Apparently confined to wet forests from central Costa Rica to central Panama, it exhibits a fair amount of foliar variation over this range. Collections from the vicinity of the Rio Sarapiqui in Costa Rica differ slightly from those from Tapanti, Costa Rica in the rachis being more sharply angled above and the darker green pinnae with the lower margin more conspicuously decurrent along the rachis to the next lower pinna, and the less pronounced nerves. Material from near Boquete in Chiriqui, Panama differs from that from Costa Rica in the slightly broader pinnae with even less pronounced nerves. These differences seem insignificant when taken over the entire range. Some material that Standley (1937) and others have referred to C. microphylla is most likely C. scheryi or C. undulatifolia. This confusion possibly occurred because of the tendency of C. scheryi to flower when very young and with leaves much reduced in size, hence the application of the name microphylla meaning small-leaved.
    Chamaedorea scheryi is close to C. brachyclada, C. pygmaea, C. stenocarpa, and C. undulatifolia, which together form a natural subgroup within subgenus Chamaedoropsis (Hodel and Uhl 1990b) characterized by a stemless habit, long-pedunculate inflorescences arising from the base or leaf litter, decurrent pinnae, and pinnate eophylls. Only a few plants of C. scheryi exist in cultivation in the research collection in Los Angeles and at the Jardin Botanico Robert y Catherine Wilson in Costa Rica. As is the case with the other species in this group, C. scheryi is somewhat difficult to maintain in a handsome and good condition in cultivation. It is susceptible to brown-tipping from low humidity and highly mineralized water and to infestations of mites and thrips. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Biology And Ecology


  • Habit: solitary, erect, appearing stemless, to 1-1.5 m tall. Stem: 2-3 cm diam., creeping or erect at or below ground level or covered with leaf litter, to 15 cm tall or long, prominently ringed, nodes congested, internodes 3-5 mm long. Leaves: 4-6, erect-spreading, pinnate; sheath to 15-30 cm long, long-obliquely open, splitting deeply opposite petiole and tubular only near base, green; petiole 30-45 cm long, much ribbed or striate laterally, flattened or slightly angled and green above, rounded and green below; rachis to 0.75-1 m long, slightly angled and green above, rounded and green below; pinnae 16-20 on each side of rachis, to 20-35 x 2.5-4 cm, linear-Ianceolate to lanceolate, falcate or slightly sigmoid, narrowly acuminate, contracted basally, regularly disposed, opposite or subopposite, lower margin decurrent on rachis, glabrous, bright green, a central prominent midrib above, 2 less prominent primary nerves on either side of this, indistinct secondaries between the primaries and midrib, 5 nerves prominent below. Inflorescences: inter- or less frequently infrafoliar, often arising from below leaflitter, erect-ascending, long-pedunculate; peduncles to 75 cm long, slender, erect, 1-1.5 cm wide at base and there ± flattened, 2-4 mm diam. at apex and there rounded, greenish in flower, orange in fruit; bracts 5-10, prophyll to 2 cm long, 2nd bract to 2.5 cm, 3rd to 5 cm, 4th to 8 cm, 5th to 11 cm, 6th and 7th to 13 cm, 8th to 10cm, 9th to 6 cm, tubular, strongly longitudinally striate-nerved, membranous, acute and bifid apically, brownish or rotting away by anthesis and in fruit, upper one equalling peduncle. Staminate diffuse, flowering portion to 25 cm long and broad; rachis 15-20 cm long, green; rachillae 15-30, lower ones longest, these to 10-15 cm long, uniformly spreading and diverging from rachis at nearly right angles, drooping apically, green, slender. Pistillate few-branched; rachis 1-8 cm long, green in flower, orange in fruit; rachillae 4-9, these to 10 cm long, ± stiff, erect, parallel or slightly curving, rachillae green in flower becoming yellow-orange to orange in fruit. Flowers: Staminate in ± dense spirals, in immature bud 2 x I mm, near anthesis 3 x 2.5-3 mm, ± globose, green, abruptly short-pointed, slightly sunken; calyx 0.5-1 x 2 mm, prominently lobed, conspicuously brown-margined, sepals connate in basal 1/3, slightly flared and broadly rounded apically; petals 2.5-3 x 1.5 mm, valvate, free nearly to base, erect-spreading, acute; stamens 2 mm high, leaning away from and not exceeding pistillode, filaments 1 mm long, pale, anthers 0.5-0.75 mm long, bilobed; pistillode 2-2.5 mm high, columnar, pale, greenish apically and there sharply 3-lobed and enlarged. Pistillate in fairly dense spirals, 2.5 x 2-2.5 mm, ± globose, green, slightly sunken; calyx 0.5 x 2 mm, prominently 3-lobed, brown-margined, sepals free and separated basally, triangular, rounded to acute apically; petals 2.5 x 2.5 mm, cupped, imbricate nearly to apex, sharply acute and recurved slightly apically, thick; staminodes I mm high, acute, whitish; pistil 2-2.5 x 1.5-1.75 mm, inverse-conic, green; stigma lobes sessile, short, close, forming a pyramid-shaped structure, pale, shorter than petals. Fruits: 5-7 mm diam., black, globose (oblong when immature); eophyll pinnate. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Materials Examined

  • COSTA RICA. Alajuela: Barringer 2199 (F); Hodel 720A, 720B (BH, CR). Cartago: Baker 209 (CR, F); Croat 68254 (MO); Hodel 697A, 697B (BH, CR). Heredia: Burger 11150 (CR, F); Chazdon 179,180 (CR); Grayum 7359, 7360 (CR, MO). San Jose: Chazdon 220 (CR); Grayum 6124 (MO). PANAMA. Chiriqui: Churchill 6193,6194 (MO); Hodel 727A, 727B, 1121 (BH, PMA). Code: Folsom 6445 (MO); de Nevers 6382 (MO); Hammel 3552 (MO); Hodel 738 (BH, PMA). (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A