Chamaedorea cataractarum

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Figure 1. C. cataractarum



C. atrovirens

Common Names:

Cat Palm
Cascade Palm
Cataract Palm
Mexican Hat Palm

Distribution & Habitat:

Stream banks and beds in south-eastern Mexico.


A small, attractive, trunkless, clumping palm, to about 2m (6ft) high, and 2.5m (8ft) across, with glossy, dark green leaves, and long thin leaflets. It will eventually form quite a large dense, clump given time. (It is occasionally used as a hedge plant.)


This plant is a rheophyte, which means that it grows in stream beds, and is often covered by floodwaters. Its long thin leaflets, and trunkless habit are an adaptation to present as little resistance as possible to flowing water, and thus prevent being washed away each time it floods.


This is a very popular palm, both for indoor use and outside. It loves water and its virtually impossible to give it too much. It likes a lightly shaded, moist position, altho it will take full sun if the water is kept up to it. Frost tolerant

Mt Cootha Botanical Gardens, Brisbane.
Figure 3. C. cataractarum
Figure 3. C. cataractarum leaf detail
Figure 3. C. cataractarum stem bases
Figure 3. C. cataractarum infructescneces.

Contributed by:

Ian Edwards (Figure 1)
Mike Gray (Figure 2)
Rohan Musgrave (Figure 3,4,56)

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, JSTOR, Trebrown

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk