Chamaedorea pittieri 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


  • The description is from Bailey (1943a, 1943b) and supplemented from our living material collected near the type locality on Cerro Horqueta in Panama. C. pittieri is quite variable vegetatively, even among plants growing in proximity. Individuals in dense shade have longer petioles, expanded leafblades, and longer, more remotely placed, lighter green pinnae, corresponding well with C. hageniorum. Nearby, no more than a few meters away, individuals in exposed situations have very short petioles, contracted leaf blades, and closely spaced, dark green pinnae that are shorter, more rounded or oblong, thicker, and almost puckered. The type of C. pittieri corresponds to these latter individuals from more exposed locations. There is no good, constant character to maintain these as separate species. Rather the presence ofintermediate forms and their similarity in flower strongly suggest that but a single species is involved here.
    In the Fortuna area of Chiriqui we have made another collection that I tentatively refer to C. pittieri. It seems to differ from the more typical C. pittieri in the slender, elongated stem occasionally attaining three meters in length. When one considers the great amount of variation even between individuals within the same population, the differences between the material from Cerro Horqueta and Fortuna seem insignificant.
    Vegetatively and in habit, C. pittieri is similar to C. parvijofia. Both are virtually stemless and have dark grayish green, thickened leaves. Also, they inhabit a similar type offorest. Staminate flowers with the petals connate apically and the corolla opening by lateral slits and the sigmoid pinnae drying flat and not striated distinguish C. parvijofia. Other than a few plants in the research collection in Los Angeles, C. pittieri is not in cultivation. Of relatively easy culture, it is an attractive species due to its leafy rosette of relatively compact, stiffish, velvety green leaves. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Biology And Ecology



  • Habit: solitary, erect, sometimes decumbent, to 1-2 m tall, usually flowering when appearing stemless. Stem: 1-2 cm diam., initially creeping and subterranean or buried in leaf litter, green, densely and prominently ringed, internodes 2-3 cm long or slightly more, upper part covered with thick and durable brownish persistent leaf sheaths. Leaves: 7-9, erect-spreading, pinnate, stiff; sheath 6-15 cm long, thick, durable, expanded and heavily longitudinally striated, greenish but drying dark brown and persistent; petiole 3-15 cm long, pale green and flattened and slightly grooved near base above and there with a raised whitish swelling, ± rounded and pale green below, stout, densely striated; rachis 20-40 cm long, angled and green above, rounded and pale below with a whitish band extending onto sheath; pinnae 5-8 on each side of rachis, to 10-20 x 2-3 cm, terminal pair ± wider, narrowly lanceolate-acuminate to narrowly oblong-Ianceolate, alternate, glossy, firm, not sigmoid, gradually narrowed into straight tips, long point nearly caudate, not flat but nearly cupped downward and sometimes with revolute margins, dark forest velvety green with a ± grayish cast, a prominent midrib and 2-3 nerves on each side of this conspicuous. Inflorescences: interfoliar but sometimes infrafoliar in fruit, long-pedunculate, erect-spreading; peduncles to 50 cm long, 1 cm wide at base and there flattened, 3-5 mm diam. at apex, green or pale in flower, orange in fruit where exposed; bracts 4, tubular, leathery, acute-acuminate, bifid, longitudinally striate-nerved, green in flower, brownish in fruit; rachises to 2-3 cm long, green in flower, orange in fruit. Staminate with 4-6 rachillae, these 10-20 cm long, flexuous, drooping, longitudinally striated, green in flower. Pistillate with 2-3 rachillae, these 8-15 cm long, erect-ascending, striated and angled, green in flower, orange in fruit. Flowers: Staminate in moderately dense spirals apically, more remote basally, 2.5-3 x 2.5 mm, globose-ovoid, green, slightly aromatic, sunken; calyx 0.5-0.75 x 1.5-3 mm, shallowly lobed, sepals connate and/or imbricate nearly to apex, broadly rounded apically; petals 2.5-4 x 2-3 mm, elliptic-oblong, valvate, free nearly to base, spreadingapically, cuplike, acute, slightly recurved apically, lightly nerved; stamens 1.5 mm high, not equalling pistillode, filaments short, 0.5-0.75 mm long, whitish, anthers 1.5 mm long, flattened, bilobed, forming a ring around pistillode; pistillode 2-2.5 mm high, columnar, yellow-green, shorter than petals, slightly lobed apically. Pistillate borne ± loosely, greenish yellow; calyx small, deeply lobed, sepals connate only briefly basally; petals larger, imbricate basally, spreading apically, nerved, soon spreading and chafflike; pistil short-oblong, obtuse. Fruits: 10 x 6 mm, oblong, obtuse, black; perianth a small cupule with flared lobes. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Materials Examined