Chamaedorea metallica

From Palmpedia - Palm Grower's Guide
Jump to: navigation, search
metallica (meh-TAHL-lih-kah)
Split form. Photo by Geoff Stein.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Chamaedorea
metallica (meh-TAHL-lih-kah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Bifid & pinnate forms.
Survivability index
Common names
Metalica - Mexico. Metallic Palm, Miniature Fishtail Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Chamaedorea metallica is found in Mexico Gulf, Mexico Southwest. MEXICO,
VENEZUELA: Botanic Garden, Caracas.
Veracruz, Oaxaca? Dense, wet forest on the Atlantic slope; alt. 50-600 m elevation; usually on limestone.

Native to Southeastern Mexico, where it occurs naturally in dense wet forests along the Atlantic limestone slopes, up to 2000 feet above sea level, and lowland rainforests of Veracruz and Oaxaca, Mexico.


Habit: solitary, slender, erect, 2-3 m tall. Stem: 1.3-1.5 cm in diam., green, minutely but distinctly whitespotted, nodes prominent, internodes 1.5-2.5 cm long, adventitious roots often appearing at base. Leaves: 12-16 per crown, rather stiffly ascending or ascending-spreading with blades cupped upward toward apex, usually bifid but often variously pinnate, metallic-blue-green; sheath 7-8 cm long, tubular but split opposite petiole to within 1-2 cm of base; petiole 2.5-4 cm long, very slightly grooved and green above, rounded and pale below; rachis 19-32 cm long, angled and green above, rounded below with a yellowish band extending onto sheath; blade 20-30 x 15 cm, 10-12 cm long on upper margin, cuneate obovate, incised apically to 1/3 its length, 8-11 primary nerves on each side of rachis, these prominent but not much elevated above, impressed below, 5-6 secondaries between each pair of primaries, minutely and irregularly toothed along margin at apex of each primary nerve especially toward base; or, sometimes blade pinnate, pinnae 3-8 on each side of rachis, 2.5-6.5 cm wide, sigmoid, 1-3-nerved, toothed along outer margin above middle. Inflorescences: interfoliar but often infrafoliar in fruit, solitary, spreading-erect. Staminate with peduncle 10-25 cm long or more, pale or greenish in flower; bracts 3-4, lowermost 3 cm long, flattened, 2-edged, others 6-14 cm long, uppermost exceeding peduncle, all tubular, greenish, papery; rachis 4-6 cm long, pale or greenish in flower; rachillae 10-12, these 9-15 cm long, 1.5- 2 mm wide at base, simple, ascending to erect, usually flexuous at apex, pale green in flower.


Likes best: Full shade, to filtered light, this is an understory palm. Consistently moist soil, well drained position. Often planted in groupings. But will suffer drought, or lack of any care at all, for at least six months.

PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

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

Etymology: Refers to the metallic blue-green sheen of the leaf.

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 ""