Bactris charnleyae

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Bactris (BAHK-triss)
charnleyae (karn-LEE-eh)
Photo-Rare Palm
Scientific Classification
Genus: Bactris (BAHK-triss)
charnleyae (karn-LEE-eh)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering & caespitose.
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Panama: bor (Kuna), uga wawad (Kuna).

Habitat and Distribution

Panama (San Bias); lowland rain forest at 100-350 m elevation.
Photo-Rare Palm


Stems cespitose, 0.5-2 m tall, 6-9 mm in diam. Leaves 3-6; leaf spines absent except for apex of pinnae; sheath 5-6 cm long; ocrea to 2 cm long; petiole 7-11 cm long; rachis 11-15 cm long; blade simple, bifid, with 10-14 main veins, these raised adaxially, glabrous, veins with minute spinules abaxially, with spinules 1-7 mm long on margins; blade 25-31 cm long, 10-18 cm wide at apex of rachis. Inflorescences interfoliar, projecting from the top of the sheath; peduncle 3-5 cm long, more or less straight, densely spinulose; prophyll 2-3 cm long; peduncular bract 8-8.5 cm long, moderately covered with fine, straight spinules 1.5-2.3 cm long; rachis 2-2.6 cm long; rachillae 5-8, 1.5-3 cm long, at anthesis densely covered with whitish, moniliform trichomes; triads irregularly arranged among paired or solitary flowers; staminate flowers not seen; pistillate flowers 2-3 mm long calyx cupular, about 0.5 mm long; corolla tubular, about 2 mm long; staminodes minute or absent; fruits 5-8 mm in diam., globose, rostrate, yellow or orange, striate; mesocarp starchy; endocarp turbinate, the sterile endocarp pores displaced longitudinally; endocarp fibers numerous, with juice sacs attached; fruiting perianth with obscure calyx and crenate corolla, without staminodial ring. (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Bactris chamleyae is diagnosed by its simple leaves without spines (except for apex of pinnae), densely spinulose peduncle and peduncular bract, and orange fruits with numerous endocarp fibers. There are only two specimens with ripe fruits, but these appear to have endocarp fibers with juice sacs attached. This situation is anomalous, because Sanders (1991) considered that orange-fruited species of Bactris lacked juice sacs attached to the endocarp (but see also B. neomilitaris). Apart from this, B. charnleyae is similar to B. hondurensis. (Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000)/Palmweb.


Comments and Curiosities

A small palm clustered from the lowland forests of Panama, with slender stems, which can reach up to 2 m high and small cups of simple leaves, bifid. In cultivation, it is ideal for the understory of tropical garden. (

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

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

Special thanks to, 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).

Henderson, A.J., Bactris (Palmae) in Flora Neotropica Monographs 79. 2000

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

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