Chamaedorea linearis

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linearis (lin-EHR-iss)
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Scientific Classification
Genus: Chamaedorea
linearis (lin-EHR-iss)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Height: 10m
Trunk diameter: 8 cm
Survivability index
Common names
Caña de San Pablo, Whale Tail Palm, St. Paul's Cane Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Chamaedorea linearis is found in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.
Balboa Park, California.
West of the Andes from North Colombia to South Ecuador, and East of the Andes from North Ecuador to Bolivia. In Ecuador it is frequent to common in the W lowlands and on the E and W slopes of the Andes up to; alt. 2400 m elevation, both in primary and disturbed rain and mountain forest.


Trunk type: Solitary. Trunk diameter: To 8 cm., (3"). Height: To 10 meters, (32'). Pale green trunk, and crownshaft, heavily ringed, from leaf base scars. Leaf detail: Pinnately compound, diametrically opposed, dark green pinnate have mid-rib, and are medium spaced. One of the largest Chamaedorea, with a ringed, green, solitary trunk to 10 m. (33 ft.) tall and 8 cm (3 in.) in diameter and a spreading crown flat, pinnate leaves with wide leaflets.

Understorey palm. Stem solitary, to 10 m tall, 3-8 cm in diameter, green and smooth. Leaf sheaths closed, forming a 30-90 cm long green crownshaft; blade 100-250 cm long, with 25-65 equal pinnae on each side, the central ones 30-85 cm long and 3-12 cm wide, with 4-6 subequal nerves. Inflorescences once branched, 15-100 cm long, with 3-4 swollen, cream coloured peduncular bracts, and 5-55 branches. Male inflorescences up to 18 per node, female ones solitary at the nodes. Fruits orange to red, 1.5-2.5 cm in diameter. (Borchsenius, F. 1998)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Requirements: Full shade to filtered light when young, filtered light to partial shade when mature. Consistently moist soil, well drained position. Often planted in groupings. From the highlands of Ecuador, where it grows in cool, moist, shady conditions, making it a contender for the sheltered garden. Very fast growing, it forms trunks about 2 or 3 cms thick, to about 3m tall. Also used conservatory plant. The common name comes from the wonderful shape of the young leaves. In cultivation it is fast and as easy to grow as Chamaedorea generally are, and does well in most warm temperate and tropical climates.

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Comments and Curiosities

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

One of the tallest, of the Chamaedorea.

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).

Borchsenius, F.1998. Manual to the palms of Ecuador. AAU Reports 37. Department of Systematic Botany, University of Aarhus, Denmark in collaboration with Pontificia Universidad Catalica del Ecuador.

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

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