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Distribution & Habitat:
Moist or wet forest on the Atlantic and Pacific slopes of Central America; from Mexico thru to Colombia.; 0-1,600 m elevation; often on limestone.
One of the taller Chamaedoreas, a usually single trunked plant but a rarer clustering variety is also found. It has has one of the tallest and fattest trunks of all the Chamaedoreas at about 7.5 cm (3 ins) in diameter reaching heights of 6.5 m (20 ft) or more. Green ringed trunk with white leaf base scars have visual affinities to bamboo culms, especially when planted en masse. The long, wide, tapering "S" shaped leaflets fall from the rachis (or droop a bit) in a relaxed manner that is very typical of tropical rain forest palms. The leaflets of this species are thinner than most, with prominent striations. Though many 'bamboo-like' Chamaedoreas have a pale line along the ventral surface of the petiole, it is the most pronounced in this species, and is a characteristic that can help identify it. The pinnate leaves are up to 1.5m long, and 1m wide. Very attractive.
The plant is grown as a crop in Central America, where the male inflorescences are eaten either cooked or raw.
The clustering variety is quite rare and sought after by collectors.
Shady, moist, but well drained position. Dislikes full sun. Quite a fast grower. Looks best when planted in clumps.
Angelo Porcelli (Figure 1)
Ian Edwards (Figure 2,3,4,5&6)