Prestoea decurrens H.E.Moore

First published in Gentes Herbarum 9: 286 (1963)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is Nicaragua to W. Ecuador. It is a shrub or tree and grows primarily in the wet tropical biome. It is used for food.


Biogeografic region: Andean, Pacific. Elevation range: 0–1500 m a.s.l. Native to Colombia. Colombian departments: Antioquia, Cauca, Chocó, Córdoba, Nariño, Risaralda, Valle del Cauca.
Shrub, Tree, Caespitose palm.
National Red List of Colombia (2021): LC.
Habitat according IUCN Habitats Classification: forest and woodland, shrubland, wetlands (inland), artificial - terrestrial.

Nicaragua (Matagalpa, Río San Juan, Zelaya), Costa Rica (Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Limón, Puntarenas, San José), Panama (Chiriquí, Colón, Panamá, San Blas), western Colombia (Antioquia, Cauca, Chocó, Nariño, Risaralda, Valle), and western Ecuador (Carchi, Cotopaxi, Esmeraldas, Pichincha); rain forest at low elevations (0-800 m) but occasionally reaching 1500 m. Throughout its range it is a common palm, especially along streams and rivers. Central America to Ecuador W of the Andes, in moist to wet forest below 1000 m elevation.
General Description
Understorey palm. Stems clustered, 1.5-5 m tall, and 4-8 cm in diameter, often yellowish green. Leaf sheathes partly closed, green, often persisting; petiole 30-80 cm long; blade 120-220 cm long; pinnae 50-80 on each side, the central ones 30-60 cm long and 3-5 cm wide, abrubtly narrowed at the tip into a 3-5 cm long filamentous point. Inflorescence with peduncle 8-40 cm long; rachis 20-50 cm long; branches 10-70, 25-50 cm long, 2-5 mm in diameter, with numerous simple, white hairs, especially when young. Fruits black, globose, 7-11 mm in diameter. Seedling leaves pinnately divided. Stems cespitose with 2-7 stems per plant or rarely solitary, erect or occasionally leaning or procumbent, 1.4-7(- 10) m tall, 3-12 cm diam., green or yellowish with conspicuous nodes. Leaves 4-10, spreading; sheath semi-open and forming a partial crownshaft, this almost always obscured by persistent, dead leaf bases, 0.3-1 m long including a fibrous ligule to 10 cm long, green, green-violet, or brown-violet, fibrous on marg ins; petiole (18-)30-95(-155) cm long, densely covered, especially abaxially, with apressed, whitish brown, peltate-lacerate scales; rachis 1.2-3.1 m long, with tomentum like that of petiole; pinnae 35-58 per side, regularly arranged and horizontally spreading in the same plane, subopposite or alternate, linear-lanceolate, abruptly acuminate or almost acute apically, plicate, with prominent midvein and several lateral veins, without conspicuous ramenta on the midvein abaxially, with punctations abaxially; basal pinna 28-60 x 0.8-2 cm; middle pinnae 43-73(-81) x 2-5.5 cm; apical pinna 8- 25(-40) x 0.5-2 cm. Inflorescences infrafoliar, erect in bud; peduncle 8- 30(-75) cm long, 0.8-2 cm diam., terete, densely covered with whitish, stellate, short, stiff, persistent hairs; prophyll 18-45 cm long, 3-4 cm diam.; peduncular bract 0.5-1.4 m long including a 3 cm long umbo, densely covered abaxially with appressed brown scales, persistent; rachis (6.5-)13-60 cm long, with hairs similar to those of peduncle; rachillae (7-) 30-70, (30-)35-54(-75) cm long proximally, to 24 (-60) cm long distally, 1- 2 mm diam. at anthesis, 1.5- 2(-5) mm diam. in fruit, subtended by bracteoles, these occasionally prominent, densely to moderately covered with simple to stellate, 0.1-0.2 mm long, stiff, persistent, white hairs Flowers in triads proximally, paired or solitary staminate distally, the triads sometimes densely crowded on the rachillae, superficial or somewhat sunken; triad bracteole low, apiculate; first flower bracteole obscure, second and third flower bracteoles ± equal, deltate or rounded and apiculate, 0.3-0.5 mm long; staminate flowers 3-4 mm long; sepals deltate, 1-1.5 mm long, imbricate proximally, keeled; petals ovate to elliptic, 2.5-4 mm long, pilose abaxially especially distally; stamens arranged on a very short receptacle; filaments 1.5-2 mm long, lanceolate, flattened, adnate proximally to petals; anthers 1-1.5 mm long; pistillode 1.5- 2.5 mm long, trifid at the apex; pistillate flowers 2.5- 3.5 mm long; sepals very widely ovate, 1.5-2 mm long, ciliate; petals widely ovate, 2-3 mm long, ciliate; staminodes digitate. Fruits globose, 0.7-1.1 cm diam., loosely spaced or rarely crowded on the rachillae, the stigmatic remains subapical to lateral; epicarp purpleblack, scarcely minutely tuberculate; seeds globose, 5-8 mm diam.; endosperm lightly to deeply ruminate; eophyll pinnate with long rachis.

Bernal, R., G. Galeano, A. Rodríguez, H. Sarmiento y M. Gutiérrez. 2017. Nombres Comunes de las Plantas de Colombia.

cecilia, chapilde, chichiburrú

Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá.

Nativa en Colombia; Alt. 0 - 1500 m.; Andes, Pacífico.
Morphology General Habit
Arbusto, árbol, palma cespitosa
Preocupación Menor


Use Food
Used for food.
Use Materials
Used as material.

Colombia: chapil, chichiburrú, chapilde, palmiila; Costa Rica: canna lucia, coyolilla. In Chocó, Colombia, the palm heart is occasionally eaten.


  • Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

  • Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible

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  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

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  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2023. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2022 World Checklist of Vascular Plants.
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2023. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2022 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants.
  • 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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  • Universidad Nacional de Colombia

    • ColPlantA database
  • Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia