Chamaedorea Willd., Sp. Pl. 4: 638 (1806)

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Distribution

Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted_sites/tdwg/geogrphy.html)
Belizepresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Boliviapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Brazil Northpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Brazil West-Centralpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Colombiapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Costa Ricapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Ecuadorpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
El Salvadorpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Floridapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Guatemalapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Hawaiipresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Honduraspresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Centralpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Gulfpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Northeastpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Northwestpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Southeastpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Southwestpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Nicaraguapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Panamápresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Perupresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Venezuelapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Approximately 110 species ranging from central Mexico to Brazil and Bolivia. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Discussion

  • Hodel (1992) published a detailed and beautifully illustrated account of the genus. In it, he recognises 96 species arranged in eight subgenera. Since then, several more taxa have been published making a grand total of 108. The subgenera are defined by characters of the arrangement of the flowers and their form. Henderson et al. (1995) chose to recognise 77 species, reducing some of Hodel’s taxa to synonymy but without discussion.
    There is great diversity in leaf, inflorescence, and flower form in the genus, which is divided into sections on the basis of floral structure. Because there are so many species, and considerable variation in leaf form within some species, identification of species is often difficult.
    Cook (1937a, 1939b, 1943a, 1943b, 1947a, 1947b) and Cook and Doyle (1939) published the following generic names for species of Chamaedorea in the National Horticultural Magazine and in Science; as the names appear without Latin description and postdate 1935, they are invalid and without any botanical standing: Anothea, Cladandra, Discoma, Docanthe, Edanthe, Ercheila, Legnea, Lobia, Lophothele, Mauranthe, Meiota, Migandra, Neanthe, Omanthe, Paranthe, Platythea, and Vadia. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Diagnosis

  • Generally rather small, often clustering, pinnate-leaved dioecious palms from the undergrowth of rain forest from Mexico southwards to South America, very diverse and with a wide range of habits including one climbing species, inflorescence and flower form equally varied. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Biology And Ecology

  • All species are plants of the understory. They occur in moist, wet, or mixed forest in lowlands or mountain forest. Some species occur on limestone. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Common Name

  • Parlour palm, Neanthe Bella (Chamaedorea elegans), bamboo palm (C. seifrizii). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Etymology

  • Chamai — on the ground, dorea — gift, probably in reference to the usually dwarf habit and elegant form. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Uses

  • Inflorescences of a few species (e.g., C. tepejilote) are eaten as vegetables, and leaves of some species are used for thatch. Some are used medicinally (Plotkin and Balick 1984). Cut leaves of some species, harvested from the wild, are used as foliage in the cut flower trade. Commercially, several species are extremely important as pot plants, produced in vast quantities. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Description

  • Small, sometimes moderate, erect or procumbent, rarely climbing, acaulescent or trunked, solitary or clustered, unarmed, pleonanthic, dioecious palms. Stem usually slender, covered wholly or partially in fibrous leaf bases or smooth, green, prominently ringed with leaf scars. Leaves bifid or variously pinnate, very rarely entire, reduplicate; sheath closed or becoming split, short or elongate, sometimes with a marcescent lobe opposite the petiole; petiole short to elongate, flattened adaxially, rounded abaxially, sometimes with a prominent pale green or yellow, abaxial stripe; rachis rounded, angled, or flattened adaxially, rounded abaxially; blade entire, bifid and pinnately ribbed, or regularly or irregularly pinnately divided, leaflets few or many, of 1 or several folds, narrow or broad, often oblique or sigmoid, acuminate, surfaces glabrous. Inflorescences among or below the leaves, solitary or several per leaf axil, unbranched or branched to 1(–2) order, sometimes forked; staminate often more branched than pistillate; peduncle short to elongate; prophyll tubular with tapering bifid tip; peduncular bracts 2-several, elongate, tubular, sheathing the peduncle, coriaceous or membranous, persistent, tips short, bifid; rachillae, long or short, slender or fleshy, sometimes ridged, lacking bracts at maturity, bearing closely appressed or rather widely spaced, spirally arranged staminate or pistillate flowers, rarely bearing curved acervuli of staminate flowers. Flowers sessile or partly enclosed in a cavity in the fleshy rachilla, small or minute. Staminate flowers symmetrical; sepals 3, entire, united basally or distinct; petals 3, distinct or variously connate, lobes valvate; stamens 6, filaments short, broad or awl-shaped; anthers dorsifixed, included, oblong or didymous; pistillode various, cylindric or expanded basally, sometimes trilobed. Pollen ellipsoidal, occasionally oblate triangular, bi-symmetric or slightly asymmetric; aperture a distal sulcus, occasionally a trichotomosulcus; ectexine tectate, finely rugulate, finely perforate-rugulate, finely reticulate, or reticulate, aperture margin either similar or, more frequently, broad and psilate or scabrate, in reticulate pollen, reticulum often notably finer on proximal face, less frequently proximal face psilate; infratectum columellate; longest axis 20–36 µm; post-meiotic tetrads usually tetrahedral, sometimes tetragonal or rarely rhomboidal [50/108]. Pistillate flower with sepals 3, as in the staminate; petals 3, usually connate, distinct lobes valvate or imbricate; staminodes present and tooth-like or absent, gynoecium ovoid, tricarpellate, syncarpous, trilocular, trilovulate, stigmas small, recurved, ovule campylotropous, laterally inserted. Fruit small, globose or oblong, stigmatic remains basal; epicarp smooth, mesocarp fleshy, endocarp thin. Seed erect, globose, or ellipsoidal, hilum small, basal, branches of raphe obscure, endosperm cartilaginous; embryo basal to subapical. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid or pinnate. Cytology: 2n = 26, 32. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Anatomy

  • Leaf (Tomlinson 1961, Roth 1990), root (Seubert 1998a, 1998b), seed (Roth 1990). Some features of floral anatomy, including vascularisation of the ovule by a strand from each ventral bundle and abundant raphides in styles and stigmas, are characteristic of other genera in Chamaedoreeae and Ceroxyleae (Uhl and Moore 1971). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Fossil record

  • Fossil leaves from the Eocene of southeastern United States have been described as Chamaedorea danai by Berry (1916b) but correspondence with the modern genus is not certain. Some Monocolpopollenites pollen from the Tertiary of Hungary has been compared to Chamaedorea pollen (Kedves and Bohoney 1966), but the pollen is too general for this suggestion to be convincing. Chamaedorea-like pollen (Graham 1976) is also reported from the Upper Miocene of Mexico (Paraje Solo flora, Veracruz). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Relationships

  • Chamaedorea is monophyletic with high support (Thomas et al. 2006, Cuenca and Asmussen-Lange 2007). Most studies resolve Chamaedorea as sister to Gaussia with moderate to high support (Asmussen et al. 2006, Thomas et al. 2006, Baker et al. in review, in prep.), although a single study resolves Chamaedorea as sister to Wendlandiella (Uhl et al. 1995). For species relationships, see Thomas et al. (2006) and Cuenca and Asmussen-Lange (2007). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Taxonomic accounts

  • Hodel (1992). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A

Use Record

  • Chamaedorea Willd.: Dyes for textiles ( Synecanthus warscewiczianus, Chamaedorea sp. Geonoma sp.). (Balslev, H., and A. Barfod, Ecuadorean palms- an overview. 1987)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    CulturalDyesNot specifiedNot identifiedN/AEcuador
  • Chamaedorea Willd.: Existen otras seis espeices que también pueden aliviar la diarrea: (...), Chamaedorea sp., del cual se usa la inflorescencia completa en mate 2 veces por día; (...). (...). Medicinal. (Hinojosa, I., Plantas utilizadas por los Mosetenes de Santa Ana (Alto Beni, Depto. La Paz).. 1991)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    Medicinal and VeterinaryDigestive systemInflorescenceIndigenousMoseteneBolivia
  • Chamaedorea Willd.: La caña de San Pablo, llamada así porque la emplean como antiofídico, (...). (Pérez-Arbeláez, E., Plantas útiles de Colombia. 1956)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    Utensils and ToolsDomesticStemNot identifiedN/AColombia
    EnvironmentalOrnamentalEntire plantNot identifiedN/AColombia
    Medicinal and VeterinaryPoisoningsNot specifiedNot identifiedN/AColombia
    Utensils and ToolsDomesticRootNot identifiedN/AColombia
  • Chamaedorea Willd.: The shoots, called palmitos, and spadices as in similar groups are eaten cooked or in salads and may be excellent. (Macbride, J.F., Flora of Peru Vol. XIII Part 1 Nº 2. 1960)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    Human FoodBeveragesInfructescenceNot identifiedN/APeru
    Human FoodFoodPalm heartNot identifiedN/APeru
  • Chamaedorea Willd.: Varias especies de estos géneros servían antiguamente para fabricar, con su tallo y los muñones de sus raíces, los clásicos molinillos con que se sacaba espuma al chocolate. Además son ornamentales. (Pérez-Arbeláez, E., Plantas útiles de Colombia. 1956)
    Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry
    Medicinal and VeterinaryPoisoningsNot specifiedNot identifiedN/AColombia
    Utensils and ToolsDomesticStemNot identifiedN/AColombia
    Utensils and ToolsDomesticRootNot identifiedN/AColombia
    EnvironmentalOrnamentalEntire plantNot identifiedN/AColombia

Bibliography

A. J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008
B. World Checklist of Arecaceae