Chamaedorea elatior Mart.

This species is accepted, and its native range is Mexico to Honduras.

MEXICO. Chiapas. Oaxaca. Puebla. Veracruz. GUATEMALA. Alta Verapaz. Huehuetenango. Sacatepequez. San Marcos.
Moist or wet, dense forest mostly on the Atlantic slope but occasionally on the Pacific slope in Guatemala; 1001,500 m elevation.
General Description
Habit: solitary or infrequently cespitose and then often branching up to a meter or more above ground, sprawling or subscandent, often arching, but nearly erect when young, to 20 m long or more, crawling up through taller vegetation or simply sprawling on ground. Stem: 0.8-2 cm diam., green, smooth, nodes slightly prominent, internodes 10-30 cm long. Leaves: 5-15, deeply bifid when young becoming progressively more pinnate up the stem until completely pinnate, spreading, arching; sheath to 60 cm long, elongate, tubular, persistent, green, minutely white-spotted, finely longitudinally striate-nerved; petiole 0-30 cm long, flat and green above, pale and rounded below with a slightly prominent light green ridge extending onto sheath; rachis 0.5-3 m long, sharply angled and green above, rounded and with a very faint green band below; blade to 3 m long in very robust individuals but normally 0.5-1.5 m long; pinnae 10-55 on each side of rachis, 20-45 x 1.5-5 cm, linear-lanceolate to linear, alternate basally, opposite apically, equally attenuate, strongly indurate-calloused at very narrowed base, deep green, progressively more reflexed and hooklike toward apex of blade and there downward-pointing, a prominent central midrib and numerous but inconspicuous nerves oflesser orders on each side of this. Inflorescences: interfoliar, breaking through sheaths, erect; peduncles 10-20 cm long, flattened, 1.2 cm wide, 6 mm thick, erect, green where exposed; bracts 3-7, prophyll smallest, this to 10 cm long, others generally 10-15 cm long, often only upper one visible, others concealed by petiole and sheath, upper bract to 13 em long, stout, fibrous, brown at anthesis, longitudinally striate- nerved, acute-acuminate, bifid, upper 2 exceeding peduncle; rachises 5-25 cm long, green, obtusely angled. Staminate with up to 35 rachillae, these to 25 cm long, rounded distally, 3 mm diam., lower ones flattened near base and there to 5 mm wide, simple, spreading, divaricate at right angles, obtuse, or ± reflexed. pistillate similar to staminate but larger, branched portion to 40 x 30 cm, rachillae few to many, to 30 cm long, simple, pale orange or salmon colored or brownish in mature fruit. Flowers: Staminate in moderately dense spirals, 4 x 3.5-4 mm, globose but depressed apically in center, bright yellow, very aromatic, slightly sunken in depressions 1-1.5 mm diam.; calyx 1 x 2.5 mm, shallowly lobed, green, sepals connate nearly to top, broadly truncate apically, nerveless; petals 3.5-4 x 2.5-3.25 mm, obovate, yellow, connate basally and apically, adnate to pistillode apically and corolla opening by lateral slits, acute, slightly fleshy, nerveless; stamens 3 mm high, slightly exceeding pistillode, filaments 1.25-1.5 mm long, whitish, anthers 1.5-2 mm long, oblong, white; pistillode 2.5-3 mm high, columnar, upper half swollen, truncate apically, greenish. Pistillate in remote spirals, 2.5-3 x 2.5-3 mm, globose, yellow, slightly sunken in superficial, elliptic depressions 1-2 mm long; calyx 1-1.25 x 2.3 mm, deeply lobed, green, sepals connate and or slightly imbricate basally, broadly rounded apically, lightly nerved on inside; petals 2.5 x 2.5 mm, imbricate in basal 3/4, acute apically, yellow, fleshy, nerveless; staminodes absent; pistil 2.5 x 1.5-1.75 mm, globose, green, styles short orlacking, stigma lobes distinct, recurved. Fruits: 8-11 mm diam., globose, black with a glaucous bloom, epicarp thin, slightly transparent, mesocarp fleshy, mucilaginous, greenish orange, endocarp membranous, slightly nerved; seeds 6-7 mm diam., globose, brownish.

Native to:

Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest

Chamaedorea elatior Mart. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Mexico 29047.957
Mexico 56090.000
Torres, A. [43], Mexico K000525990
Baker, W.J. [1175], Mexico K000520355

First published in Linnaea 5: 205 (1830)

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.
  • Nelson Sutherland, C.H. (2008). Catálogo de las plantes vasculares de Honduras. Espermatofitas: 1-1576. SERNA/Guaymuras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.


Palmweb - Palms of the World Online

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

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

  • 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.

  • 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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