Chamaedorea costaricana

From Palmpedia - Palm Grower's Guide
Jump to: navigation, search
Scientific Classification
Genus: Chamaedorea
Chamaedorea biolleyi, Chamaedorea linearia, Chamaedorea seibertii
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary, caespitose, perhaps clustering.
Height: 3 m/10 ft
Sun exposure: Shade
Watering: Moist
Soil type: Well drained
Survivability index
Common names
Pacaya - Costa Rica. Pacaya palm, Costa Rican Bamboo palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Chamaedorea costaricana is of course found in COSTA RICA, in moist or wet forest,
Chamaedorea costaricana.jpg
mainly on the Pacific slope at an elevation of 600 m up to the chilly heights of 2300 m (7500 ft).


Chamaedorea costaricana forms dense clusters of thin, green, bamboo-like stems similar to the common and popular indoor "Bamboo palm," Chamaedorea seifrizii. But it is much larger and can reach heights up to 6 m, but usually stay much shorter, or the thicker heavily ringed stems (to 5 cm) fall over and become partially decumbent. At times it will grow cespitose (in tufts or clumps) by means of short horizontal stems at or near ground level. The crowns hold many dark, glossy green, pinnate leaves - so as to appear much more luxuriant than the "Bamboo Palm." The flower stalk becomes orange when carrying fruit which begins green and turning black when ripe. Editing by edric.


Since Chamaedorea costaricana can grow at the higher elevations in habitat, it tolerates cool and colder weather admirably. While it might be considered somewhat messy and unmanageable if allowed to grow unmantained for many years, a clean out and trimming every few years while yield an attractive plant suitable as a screen and even tolerating some mild sun. It is also adaptable to indoor use and does quite well with low humidity and low light. But remember, while more luxurious and taller than the popular indoor "Bamboo Palm," it is more susceptible to mites than the latter which is relatively resistent.

PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

Chamaedorea costaricana" is highly variable, owing this variability most likely to its extensive range in elevation and subsequent changes in rainfall and temperature.

The epithet is obviously a derivative of Costa Rica, where the species was discovered.

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


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 ""