Chamaedorea amabilis

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Chamaedorea
(kahm-eh-doh-REH-ah)
amabilis (ah-mah-BILL-iss)
Amabilis06z.jpg
Panama city, Panama. Photo by Zulli Franceschi
Scientific Classification
Genus: Chamaedorea
(kahm-eh-doh-REH-ah)
Species:
amabilis (ah-mah-BILL-iss)
Synonyms
Chamaedorea coclensis, Nunnezharia amabilis
Native Continent
America
America.gif
Morphology
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Culture
Survivability index
Common names
None.

Habitat and Distribution

Grows in wet forest on the Atlantic slopes of Costa Rica and Panama at middle elevations
Panama city, Panama. Photo by Zulli Franceschi
of 500-1,000 m. (Cordilleras de Tilaran, Central and Talamanca in Costa Rica , and Serrania de Tabasara in Panama). It's range does extend sparingly into northwest Columbia (Choco).

Description

Chamaedorea amabilis is one of the more beautiful of the genus, and is a much sought after palm by collectors. It is a very slow-growing, solitary, thin-stemmed (1/4"/6 cm.), bifid-leaved palm. It can grow up to 2.5 m. tall in a warm Mediterranean climate. Most plants tend to only hold 3-5 leaves at a time. It is easily recognizable by its simple and oblong blades, prominent serrate leaf borders, shallowly bifid and with numerous lateral veins. It was first discovered and plants were returned to Germany by Wendland to be greenhouse grown in the middle of the 19th century. This species is now rare in habitat, and is found only in very wet forests.

Culture

Chamadorea amabilis is very needy of moisture and humidity, requiring constantly moist, well-drained soil, and frequent misting in a dry Mediterranean climate. As with all Chamadorea it benefits from reverse osmosis water to keep from the salt induced brown-tipping of the leaves. Brown tipping of the leaves also results from low humidity, hot dry winds, and lack of watering. Keep this palm away from snails and direct sunlight. Despite its mild native habitat, cultivated specimens have tolerated temperatures of 0ºC (32ºF) in So. California without damage.

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Comments and Curiosities

All of the original plants taken to Germany and grown by Wendland in the 19th century did not survive. But it is possible some were distributed to private collectors and may still be grown in a rare private collection. The beauty of this palm has also been its demise, having been actively collected to its present day scarecity. It is known, but not common, in some collector's gardens in Hawaii, California, Costa Rica, and Australia.

The epitat is from the Latin, amabilis meaning lovely, attractive.

Chamaedorea is a dioecious genus with male and female flowers occuring on separate plants. The Greek is translated to mean “gift on the ground” - possibly referring to the small stature and pleasant surprise of finding such a gem at your feet.


External Links

References

Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

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


Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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