Difference between revisions of "Chamaedorea microspadix"

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==External Links==
==External Links==
*[http://eunops.org/content/glossary-palm-terms Glossary of Palm Terms]
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*[http://www.plantapalm.com/wianame.htm Pronunciation Key]
*[http://www.calflora.net/botanicalnames/pronunciation.html MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN]
*[http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/Pronunciation.htm "Just To Be Clear"]

Revision as of 09:49, 3 April 2013


(kam-eh-DOR-eh-ah) microspadix
Chamaedorea microspadixdaz.jpg
Daytona Beach, Florida.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Chamaedorea
Species: microspadix
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Cespitose & clustering.
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Bamboo Palm

Habitat and Distribution

Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast. MEXICO. Hidalgo. San Luis Potosi. Moist forest at middle elevations; usually on limestone.


Stems: Clustering, but widely-spaced stems, to 3 m tall and about 1 cm in diameter. Leaves: Pinnate, reduplicate, with slightly drooping, sigmoid leaflets spreading in a single plane and evenly spaced along the rachis, but with broader apical leaflets. Upper and lower leaflet surfaces are green, without spines or obvious tomentum. Flowers and fruits: Pendulous, about 30-60 cm long, branched to one order with 3-6 branches. Creamy white male and female flowers are borne on different plants. The spherical fruits, 1 cm in diameter, are orange-red when ripe. There is also variety with very attractive silver undersides to the leaves.

Field: Clustering, but widely-spaced palms, to 3 m tall with red fruit. Apical leaflets broader than others.

Lab: Prominent midrib and multiple secondary veins prominent on undersurface of leaflets.

Chamaedorea seifrizii, but C. microspadix has a greater distance between stems in a clump and produces red fruit, while those of C. seifrizii are black when ripe.

Habit: Cespitose (growing in tufts or clumps), clustering, erect to leaning, to 3 m tall, forming dense clumps several meters wide. Stems: 1 cm in diam., green, ringed, internodes 5-15 cm long. Leaves: pinnate, spreading; sheath 20-30 cm long, tubular, oblique apically and there light green or whitish, green below but browning and persistent on stem with age, densely and longitudinally striate-nerved; petiole 15-25 cm long, strong, flat or only slightly grooved and green above, rounded, slightly paler green below especially near base; rachis 50 cm long, obscurely angled and green above, rounded and green below; blade oblong; pinnae 9 on each side of rachis or fewer when terminal pair is broader, to 25 x 4-5 cm, regularly arranged, alternate, lanceolate, sigmoid or falcate, velvety green above and glaucous or green below; upper pair often confluent and 2-3 times broader than others, 3 primary nerves, several secondaries and tertiaries visible above and below. Inflorescences: infrafoliar, sometimes breaking through the old persistent sheaths, to 25 cm long; peduncles 10 cm long, 8 mm wide at base, 5 mm wide at apex, slender, ± flattened, green or pale where exposed in flower, green or orange where exposed in fruit; bracts 4-5, prophyll 3 cm long, 2nd bract 5 cm, 3rd 8 cm, 4th 7 cm, uppermost exceeding peduncle and sometimes concealing a small rudimentary bract, short-acuminate, slightly flared and bifid apically, closely or ± loosely sheathing, flattened, green becoming brown at anthesis, papery, longitudinally striate-nerved; rachises 2-3 cm long, green in flower, orange in fruit; rachillae 3-6 or slightly more, to 15 cm long, 3 mm in diam., green, spreading in flower, orange and drooping in fruit. Flowers: Staminate in clusters of 2-4 or more, 5 x 3-4 mm, obovoid-oblong, creamy-white; calyx 1.5 x 2.5-3 mm, deeply lobed, green, sepals connate in basal 1/4-1/2, acute or broadly rounded apically; petals 5 x 2-3 mm, slightly concave, connate briefly basally, valvate, spreading apically, acute, ± thick and fleshy; stamens 2/3 as high as petals, filaments prominent, whitish, anthers shallowly 2-cleft apically and basally; pistillode exceeding stamens but not petals, broadly columnar, whitish. Pistillate in moderate spirals, solitary, 5 x 3 mm, ovoid, white; calyx 1.5-2 x 3 mm, deeply lobed, green, relatively thick, sepals connate in basal 1/2-1/3, rounded apically; petals 4 x 3 mm, suborbicular, 4 x 3 mm, imbricate in basal 1/2-1/3, acute-acuminate, apically erect or flared outwardly; pistil slightly exceeding corolla, 5 x 3 mm, pear-shaped, light green, styles short or lacking, stigma lobes recurved, acute, dark. Fruits: to I cm in diam., ± globose, orange-red or red, fruiting perianth nerveless. (Hodel, D.R. 1992) Editing by edric.

Pringle discovered C. microspadix in 1891 in Tamasopo Canyon, San Luis Potosi, Mexico and Burret (1933a) described and named it. It is one of the most handsome members of the genus due to its clustering habit, velvety dark green leaves, and showy clusters of bright orange-red fruits. Chamaedorea microspadix is rather widely cultivated and appears in gardens and collections in California, Florida, Hawaii, Australia, Venezuela, Europe, and elsewhere. Seeds are handled commercially to a somewhat limited extent and plants are occasionally encountered in nurseries. Several forms are cultivated and these vary in shape, color, and size of pinnae and the glaucous white covering on the underside. Some forms have pinnae that are entirely green on the underside while others have pinnae that are distinctly powdery-white below. Chamaedorea microspadix is durable, hardy, and of relatively easy culture. There appears to be some variation in tolerance of light among various forms. Some are more tolerant of higher light than others and can be grown in nearly full-sun, resulting in only slight yellowing of the leaves. Some forms appear to be more susceptible to browning and yellowing of the tips of the pinnae. Several horticultural-varietal names have been given to forms in cultivation. Among them are C. microspadix 'Improved,' said to be less susceptible to brown-and-yellow tipping, and C. microspadix 'Brentwood Select,' said to be darker green and more tolerant of higher light as well as less susceptible to brown-tipping. The late David Barry, Jr. made the latter selection and offered it at his nursery. Surpassed by only C. radicalis for cold hardiness, C. microspadix will tolerate -2° to -4°C (25-28°F) with no appreciable leaf damage. Temperatures of - 5° to -7°C (19-23°F) may damage leaves only, with plants surviving at even lower temperatures. Substantially lower temperatures have killed stems but plants survived and resprouted from the base with warmer weather. The species is also fairly resistant to nematodes. Krempin (1990, p. 90) discussed and illustrated C. costaricana but the description and photograph seem to depict C. microspadix. Krempin (p. 91) illustrated C. microspadix but erroneously captioned the photograph as C. erumpens. (Hodel, D.R. 1992)


Sunny, moist, but well drained position. Very easy to grow. Among the most cold tolerant Chamaedorea palms; cultivated in Hawaii and Florida. Cold hardy to about 5 degrees Celsius, or even lower.

Comments and Curiosities

Chamaedorea are dioecious, male, and female flowers, on separate plants.

Etymology: From the Greek micro meaning little or small and the Latin spadix meaning flower stalk (inflorescence), in reference to the small inflorescences.

Native to the open forests of eastern and central Mexico. In the wild it forms dense colonies. This plant is most distinguished by utilitarian ability to allow a temperate garden have the tropical appearance with its cold hardiness. Trunks are clustering with individuals up to 1 inch in diameter and ringed from leaf scars. Mature stocks range from 8 to 10 feet tall. Regular watering to keep this one moist will result in a lush spread as it is only moderately drought tolerant. The soil requirement is of no particular type, but should be well drained. The trunks have swollen leaf ring nodes and will sometimes have an adhered sheath that eventually falls. This can be planted in moderate to bright shade and some variations will actually accept direct sunlight in the cooler hours of the day with no damage. Each pinnate leaf is about 2 feet long and have 18 to 22 regularly arranged pinnate leaflets that are up to 8 inches long by 1 inch wide. There is a silver sheen to the pale green leaves and some variations actually have more sheen than others. Flower stalk emerges from among the leaves in 3 to 6 branches with fruit maturing to .4 inch diameter bright orange red berries. The inflorescence droops from among the leaves, will appear late in the summer but the emergence time may vary. The inflorescence will actually break through the sheaths on the stock. This is a dioecious plant which requires a male and female to set fertile seed. Male flowers are easily distinguished because they are in pairs. The abundant 0.4 inch diameter fruit is bright, attractive, orange-red in color and really beautifies the garden. Propagation by clump separation, or from fresh seeds, will take up to 2 months to germinate. Caution is advised when handling the seeds since the fruit contains oxalic acid which is a skin irritant. (Hodel, D.R. 1992)

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

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

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

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

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