Chamaedorea tuerckheimii

From Palmpedia - Palm Grower's Guide
(Redirected from C. tuerckheimii)
Jump to: navigation, search
tuerckheimii (too-ehrk-heim'-ee)
"Guatemalen form"
Scientific Classification
Genus: Chamaedorea
tuerckheimii (too-ehrk-heim'-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Undivided
Survivability index
Common names
Potato-chip palm, Guonay (Mexico).

Habitat and Distribution

Chamaedorea tuerckheimii is native to Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, Copán, Honduras, and the
'no white'/mottled leaf form. Photo by Colin Wilson.
states of Veracruz, Chiapas, and Tabasco, Mexico. The native populations of C. tuerckheimii in Veracruz closer to the coast than the more inland populations in Guatemala and Honduras. This species is found in the northern ranges of tropical moist forest, or rainforest on Atlantic slopes at 900–1500 m in elevation. This species appears to have an affiliation with karstic topography and limestone substrates.


Trunk type: Solitary. This is one of the smallest palms known, ranging from 0.3 to 1 m tall. The most striking vegetative character of this palm is its entire, prominently plicate (corrugated) leaf. Apparently the species has two forms that differ in vegetative features. Found in montane rainforests and cloud forests, the Guatemalan-Honduran form has bright green leaves that are slightly narrow, strongly plicate, and have a white margin. In Mexico, C. tuerckheimii has mottled green, somewhat broader, ovate leaves that are not as strongly plicate and have green leaf margins. Editing by edric.

Habit: solitary, erect or briefly decumbent, 0.3-1 m tall. Stem: 3-7 mm in diam., creeping, buried in leaf litter, green, conspicuously ringed, internodes 0.6-1.2 cm long. Leaves: 7-12 per crown, erect-ascending to spreading, bifid, forming a rosette-like crown; sheath 5 cm long, very open, tubular only in lower 1/2, closely appressed, oblique apically, margin whitish or light green and longitudinally striate-nerved; petiole to 5 cm long or shorter, lightly grooved and green or gray-green above, rounded and green or gray-green below, lower margins of blades lightly decurrent along petiole to sheath; rachis 12-20 cm long, angled and green above, rounded and gray-green or green below with a pale or whitish band extending to sheath; blades 12-22 x 3.5-7.5 cm, cuneate-obovate or slightly elliptic, not bifid but entire or with a very small notch at otherwise rounded or obtuse apex, closely plicate, ± stiff, cuneate basally, velvety bluish green or mottled green above, paler below, margins toothed and whitish or green, 26-30 teeth per side, these 0.75-1.5 x 0.75-1.5 mm, 13-19 primary nerves on each side of rachis, a secondary nerve between each pair of primaries.


Requirements: Full shade to filtered light when young, filtered light when mature. Consistently moist soil, well drained position, protect from wind. Often planted in groupings.

PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

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

Etymology: Honors the collector of the type, and collector of many other Guatemalan palms, H. B. von Tuerckheim.

Much is unknown about the general ecology of this extremely rare species. Pollination has been studied in other species of Chamaedorea with results generally pointing towards wind pollination. Insect-induced wind pollination has also been suggested for certain Chamaedorea species, such as C. pinnatifrons. Seed dispersers have not been well characterized for Chamaedorea; although their red-brown fruits on light-colored rachillae probably serve as an attractant to potential animal dispersers such as birds or small mammals. Chamaedorea tuerckheimii is attractive to collectors and horticulturists due to its dwarf nature and striking leaf shape. There is evidence of native populations being exterminated by collectors and the international plant industry. For this species to survive in its native habitat, intervention is needed. It remains to be seen whether Guatemala, Honduras, or Mexico can sustain this species as an economically sustainable crop, which would provide plants for the plant trade, as well as ensure its survival/recovery in the wild. (Hodel, D.R. 1992)/Palmweb.

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.

Back to Palm Encyclopedia

Retrieved from ""