Chamaedorea fragrans

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fragrans (FRAH-granz)
Scientific Classification
Genus: Chamaedorea
fragrans (FRAH-granz)
Chamaedorea pavoniana, Chamaedorea verschaffeltii, Nunnezharia fragrans.
Native Continent
Habit: Caespitose, and clustering.
Leaf type: Bifid
Survivability index
Common names
Sangapilla, siasia, chutasllium - Peru. Sangapilla Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Chamaedorea fragrans is found in PERU. Cuzco. Huanuco. Junin. San Martin. Moist or wet
forest on the Atlantic slope; alt. 400-1,000 m elevation.


Habit: caespitose (growing in tufts or clumps), and clustering erect, sometimes decumbent, forming clumps 2 x 3-6 m. Stems: 0.5-1.5 cm in diam., green, ringed, internodes 5-15 cm long. Leaves: 4-7 per crown, spreading, bifid; sheath 10-15 cm long, tubular, mottled green, drying brown, persistent, longitudinally striate-nerved; petiole 2-5 cm long, slightly furrowed and green above, rounded and light green below; rachis to 20 cm long, angled and green above, rounded and with a faint light green band below extending onto petiole; blade 40-50 x 15-20 cm, narrowed to 6-10 cm wide at apex, incised apically to 3/4 its length, cleft narrowly v-shaped, lobes 35--45 x 6-8 cm, linear-rhombic, ± straight, only slightly falcate, acuminate, green, glabrous, ± stiff, papery, rough or raspy texture, rich dark green, outer margin lightly toothed apically, 12 primary nerves on each side of rachis, one secondary . between each pair of primaries, tertiaries numerous, very faint. Inflorescences: infrafoliar, often bursting through old, persistent leaf sheaths, erect in flower, nodding in fruit; peduncles 5-10 cm long, 3-4 mm wide at base, 2-3 mm wide at apex, greenish in flower, orange in fruit; bracts 3-5, prophyll 8 mm long, 2nd bract 1 cm, 3rd 1.5 cm, 4th 2.5-3 cm, 5th 4 cm and less than to exceeding peduncle, tubular, papery-membranous, compressed, short-acuminate, bifid, brown in flower, longitudinally striate-nerved; if branched, rachises 0.5-3 cm long, greenish in flower, orange in fruit. Staminate with 2-6 rachillae, or much less frequently spicate, these 10-15 cm long, slender, 2-2.5 mm in diam., spreading, flexuous, glabrous, ± rounded but sometimes slightly furrowed, green. Pistillate with rachillae similar to those of staminate only orange and nodding in fruit.


Southern California experience: this is one of the most attractive and sought after suckering Chamaedoreas for southern California.. it is not an easy grow, even for those near the coast. It is not very cold tolerant, maybe tolerating 1-2 degrees below freezing, and only briefly. Colder temps will cause severe leaf damage, and this often leads to fungal rot. It is a slow growing palm, only sending up a shoot now and then. The more water it gets, the happier it is. It also seems to like fertilization, even in our richer, clayey soils. Wind is not its friend, and care should be taken in growing it in a well protected location. Brown tipping is a constant malady possibly associated with our low humidity, poor water quality or any other stresses. It is a very rare palm in cultivation, and hardly ever available anywhere.

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Comments and Curiosities

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

Etymology: Is the Latin word for fragrant, in reference to the sweet-smelling staminate flowers.

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).

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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