Chamaedorea costaricana Oerst.

This species is accepted, and its native range is SE. Mexico to Central America.

Moist or wet forest, mainly on the Pacific slope up to or near the Continental Divide but occasionally on the Atlantic slope; 600-2,300 m elevation.
General Description
Habit: cespitose by means ofshort horizontal stems at or near ground level, mostly erect but at times eventually leaning and becoming decumbent, forming rather dense or open clumps 3-8 x 3-6 m. Stems: 2-6 cm diam., smooth, green, prominently ringed, internodes 5-30 cm long. Leaves: 4-6, erect-spreading, pinnate, 1-2 m long; sheath 20-60 cm long or more, tubular, green, longitudinally striate-nerved, apex with a ligule on each side of petiole, these initially lanceolate and membranous and later deciduous or rotting away to leave a triangular base 1-2 cm long; petiole to 35 cm long, grooved near base and green above, rounded and pale below; rachis to 125 cm long, angled and green above, rounded below and with a pale band extending onto sheath; pinnae 20-26 on each side ofrachis, 25-40 x 2.5-5 cm, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, slightly sigmoid or falcate or nearly straight, alternate or subopposite, long-acuminate, contracted basally and there with a ± raised light green bump above, a whitish midrib prominent above and below with 2 prominent primary nerves on each side ofthis, 2 secondaries between each of these. Inflorescences: infrafoliar, erect-spreading; peduncles 20-45 cm long, 1-6 cm wide at base, 0.5-1 cm wide at apex, green and erect in flower, reddish orange and nodding in fruit; bracts 5-8, tubular, longitudinally striate-nerved, papery, brownish in flower, becoming shredded with age and ± deciduous, uppermost exceeding peduncle; rachises 10-20 cm long, green in flower, reddish orange in fruit. Staminate with 15-30 rachillae, these 20-30cm long, 2 mm diam., flexuous and ± pendulous or drooping, green to yellow in flower. Pistillate with 10-20 rachillae, these 20-35 cm long, 3 mm diam., very slightly longitudinally ridged, green and spreading in flower, reddish orange and drooping when heavily laden with fruits. Flowers: Staminate in moderate or ± dense spirals, 2.5-3.5 x 2.5-3 mm, oblong to depressed-globose, greenish yellow at anthesis ageing to brownish orange, slightly sunken; calyx 1 x 22.5 mm, deeply lobed, yellowish ageing to brownish orange, sepals free nearly to base and only briefly connate there, broadly rounded apically; petals 3 x 2-3 mm, ovate to deltoid, valvate, free nearly to base, spreading apically, ± fleshy, acute and slightly recurved apically; stamens 1-1.5 mm high, filaments short, anthers I mm long, brownish; pistillode to 2 mm high, columnar, slightly tapered apically, pale yellow. Pistillate in ± lax spirals, 3-3.5 x 2-2.5 mm, ovoid-globose, yellow, slightly sunken; calyx I x 2 mm, deeply lobed, greenish yellow, brown-margined, sepals connate only briefly basally, broadly rounded apically; petals 3 x 2.5-3 mm wide, triangular, imbricate nearly to apex, free, erect, acute apically; pistil to 3 x 2 mm, depressed-obovoid, green apically, styles short or lacking, stigma lobes short, recurved, thickened, dark. Fruits: 7-10 mm diam., globose to subglobose, green maturing black or purplish black; seeds 5-8 mm diam., globose, brownish, endocarp with distinctive s-shaped grooves.
COSTA RICA. Alajuela. Cartago. Guanacaste. Heredia. Puntarenas. San Jose. PANAMA. Chiriqui. Code. Herrera. Los Santos. Veraguas. HONDURAS. Santa Rosa. NICARAGUA. Chontales. Granada. Jinotega. Madruz. Managua. Matagalpa. COLOMBIA?

Native to:

Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico Southeast, Nicaragua, Panamá

Chamaedorea costaricana Oerst. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Vidensk. Meddel. Naturhist. Foren. Kjøbenhavn 1858: 19 (1859)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.
  • Hammel, B.E. & al. (2003). Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica 2: 1-694. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
  • Nelson Sutherland, C.H. (2008). Catálogo de las plantes vasculares de Honduras. Espermatofitas: 1-1576. SERNA/Guaymuras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
  • Stevens, W.D., Ulloa U., C., Pool, A. & Montiel, O.M. (2001). Flora de Nicaragua Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 85: i-xlii, 1-2666. Missouri Botanical Garden.


Palmweb - Palms of the World Online

  • Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. 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 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Science Photographs

    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

  • 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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