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This genus is accepted, and its native range is Mexico to Ecuador.

Bola, palmilla, jelly bean palm.
General Description
Moderate, solitary or clustered, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms, sometimes flowering when still acaulescent. Stem slender, usually erect, rarely decumbent, smooth, yellowish or glossy deep or dark olive-green, ringed with prominent widely spaced leaf scars. Leaves reduplicately pinnate; sheath elongate on new leaves but soon splitting opposite the petiole and differentiated from it only by a narrow, usually fibrous, dry strip along each margin; petiole circular in cross-section; rachis angled adaxially, rounded abaxially; leaflets broadly reduplicate at insertion, acute to acuminate, slightly to markedly sigmoid or, when broad-based, the apex sickle-shaped, with 1 to several principal nerves, these elevated above, or the blade sometimes undivided except at the bifid apex. Inflorescences interfoliar or becoming infrafoliar, branched to 1 or 2 orders basally, erect at anthesis, curved or pendulous in fruit, solitary; peduncle long; prophyll short, tubular, sheathing, ultimately disintegrating into fibres, open apically; peduncular bracts 4–5, similar to but longer than the prophyll and inserted at increasingly greater distances, the distal-most usually exceeding the peduncle; rachis usually elongate; rachillae slender, nearly equal in length, 4-angled to markedly flattened and ± flexuous, the tips usually slender and almost spine-like. Flowers borne in mostly distichously arranged lines (acervuli) of a proximal pistillate and 5–13 distal, biseriate, staminate flowers, the distal flower of the acervulus opening first and subsequent flower-opening basipetal. Staminate flowers green in bud, golden-yellow at anthesis, depressed-triangular in bud; sepals 3, connate in a low, acutely 3-lobed cupule; petals 3, valvate, very prominently nerved in bud when dry, spreading at anthesis; stamens 6, filaments short, incurved in bud, erect at anthesis, or 3, with long filaments markedly incurved and inflexed at the apex in bud, horizontally exserted at anthesis, anthers basifixed, shallowly bifid at apex and base, latrorse; pistillode small, deltoid-ovoid, apically 3-lobed or absent. Pollen ellipsoidal, slightly asymmetric; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, scabrate-perforate, aperture margin similar or very slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis ranging from 25–32 µm; post-meiotic tetrads tetrahedral, rarely tetragonal or rhomboidal [2/2]. Pistillate flowers yellowish at anthesis; sepals 3, connate in a 3-lobed cupule; petals 3, distinct, imbricate, twice as long as the sepals or more; staminodes apparently lacking or 3, minute, or connate in a 6-lobed ring and partially adnate to the petals; gynoecium, ovoid, drying 3-angled, trilocular, triovulate, stigmas 3, short, recurved, ovules laterally attached, campylotropous but laterally elongate. Fruit rather large, round or elongate, yellow, becoming red at maturity, with basal stigmatic remains; epicarp smooth, mesocarp fleshy with few slender, loosely anastomosing, flat fibres against the membranous endocarp. Seed not adherent to endocarp, with inconspicuous basal hilum, raphe branches distinctive, large, ascending adaxially from the base, little anastomosed, curving laterally and descending abaxially; endosperm homogeneous or minutely ruminate marginally to markedly ruminate; embryo lateral above the middle to subapical. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid. Cytology: 2n = 32.
Leaf (Tomlinson 1961), distinguished from other palms by guard cells with only one outer cutinised ledge. Root (Seubert 1998a, 1998b).
Moderate solitary or clustered pinnate-leaved monecious palms from forest undergrowth in Central and northern South America; inflorescence has stiff rachillae bearing flowers in acervuli.
Fairly frequent in wet forests at sea level and low elevations but up to 1200 m in the mountains.
Two species in southern Mexico, Central America, and northwestern South America.


Widely cultivated as an ornamental.

Native to:

Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Nicaragua, Panamá

Synechanthus H.Wendl. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Ely [21], Costa Rica 63745.000

First published in Bot. Zeitung (Berlin) 16: 145 (1858)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


Palmweb - Palms of the World Online

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

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet Accessed on 21/04/2013
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