Chamaedorea oblongata Mart., Hist. Nat. Palm. 3: 160 (1838)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Belizepresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Guatemalapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Honduraspresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Centralpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Gulfpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Northeastpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Southeastpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Southwestpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Nicaraguapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
MEXICO. Campeche. Chiapas. Oaxaca. Quintana Roo. Tabasco. Veracruz. GUATEMALA. Alta Verapaz. Izabal. Peten. BELIZE. Belize. Cayo. HONDURAS. Atlantida. Cortes. NICARAGUA. Jinotega. Matagalpa (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A


  • Martius (1837) described and named C. oblongata from material that Schiede collected in Mexico in the 1830s. Linden introduced it in 1839 from Mexico and Guatemala to European gardens and collections where it was often grown under the names C. lunata or C. coral/ina. Guillaumin (1923b) reported C. lunata as having been cultivated at the Musee de Paris in France since 1839. As the numerous horticultural names imply, C. oblongata was widely cultivated in European gardens and collections and this partly due to its relative ease of culture. The epithets used in horticulture, corallina and corallocarpa, are usually in reference to red fruit. However, to the best of my knowledge and after reviewing the numerous horticultural accounts and illustrations accompanying these names, I feel that these epithets refer to C. oblongata (because of the red fruiting rachillae) and not other red-fruited species, like C. pinnatifrons or species of subgenus Morenia.
    Chamaedorea oblongata exhibits a great deal of variability in shape ofleafand offruit over its rather wide range. Leaf shapes can be lanceolate and flat to broadly rhombic or trapezoid and cupped downward. Fruits can be nearly globose to ellipsoid or slightly lunate. C. oblongata is one ofthe most commonly cultivated species and is found in collections and gardens wherever the genus is grown. It is handsome in foliage because of the thick, leathery, lustrous, shiny leaves.?The names ofthree other species of similar habit, C. neurochlamys, C. schiedeana, and C. concolor (= C. pinnatifrons) have been erroneously applied to material of C. oblongata in cultivation. In fact, Krempin (1990, p. 90) illustrated C. oblongata but erroneously captioned the photograph as C. concolor. Staminate flowers with the petals free and spreading rather than connate apically and adnate to the pistillode easily distinguish C. oblongata. Additional differences between C. oblongata and these three other species are summarized below (pinnae/side texture, leaf sheath, fruits):
    C. oblongata 5-9 thick, apex green, black
    C. neurochlamys 7-8 medium, apex white, reddish
    C. schiedeana 10-14 thin, apex green, black
    C. pinnatifrons 2-9 thin, apex white, red-orange
    Of the four, C. oblongata is much more durable and is resistant to mites. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Biology And Ecology

  • Moist or wet lowland forest on the Atlantic slope; to 350 m elevation; often on limestone. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

Common Name

  • Caquib, xate macho - Guatemala; tepejilote, palmilla, brillosa, palmita, chate - Mexico. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A


    • From the Latin oblongus meaning oblong, in reference to the shape of the fruits or pinnae. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A


    • Habit: solitary, erect, occasionally decumbent, 1-3 m tall. Stem: 1-2.5 cm diam., smooth, green, ringed, internodes 4-15 cm long. Leaves: 3-8, erect-spreading, pinnate; sheath 15-20 cm long, tubular, obliquely open apically, prominently costate; petiole 15-30 cm long, slightly grooved and green above, rounded and pale below; rachis 30-60 cm long, angled and green above, rounded and with a distinct yellow band below extending onto sheath; pinnae 5-9 on each side ofrachis, middle ones 17-40 x 3.5-10 cm, variable in shape, lanceolate to rhombic-Ianceolate to oblong- trapezoid, sigmoid, mostly alternate, ± leathery, thick, regularly disposed, narrowly and caudately long-acuminate or attenuate- acuminate, oblique basally, deep green, glossy above, paler below, a midrib and 2 submarginal primary nerves, these not keeled and ± obscure above, yellowish and shining below, 3 secondaries on each side of midrib, these inconspicuous as are numerous and fine tertiaries, apical pinnae shorter than middle ones and generally narrower. Inflorescences: infrafoliar, erect-spreading, 20-70 cm long; peduncles 10-40 cm long, green in flower, reddish orange in fruit; bracts 5-7, tubular, brown in flower, thin, fibrous, acute-acuminate, bifid, longitudinally striate-nerved, uppermost equalling peduncle; rachis 2.5-12 cm long, green in flower, reddish orange in fruit. Staminate with 9-25 or more rachillae, these to 30 cm long, 2-3 mm diam., pendulous, slightly angled, green in flower. Pistillate with 6-20 or more rachillae, these 9-16 cm long, ± stiff, ascending, spreading, 2 mm diam., green in flower, swollen and reddish orange in fruit. Flowers: Staminate in dense spirals, 3-4 x 3-4.5 mm, ovoid to obovoid, greenish drying black, superficial or slightly sunken; calyx 0.5-1 x 2 mm, lobed, green, sepals connate in basal 1/2, broadly rounded to acute apically; petals 3-4 x 1.5-2 mm, valvate, free to nearly base and there connate briefly, erect then spreading to reflexed, acute, tips slightly recurved, thin, slightly transparent; stamens 1.5-2 mm long, spreading, filaments 0.75-1 mm long, adnate basally with petals, green, anthers 1 mm long, longer than filaments and briefly bifid apically, long-oblong, yellow; pistillode 2.5-3 mm high, columnar, slightly lobed apically, light green. Pistillate in loose spirals, 2 x 2.5-3 mm, depressed-globose, greenish yellow drying black, scarcely sunken; calyx 0.5-1 x 22.5 mm, deeply lobed, sepals connate in basal 1/3, broadly rounded to acute apically; petals 2.5 x 2-2.5, broadly ovate, imbricate nearly to apex, connate basally briefly, thin, ± straight or acute, slightly fleshy, transparent, brown-margined, drying dark brown in fruit with abortive carpel adherent to smallest petal; staminodes 3, triangular; pistil 1.75-2 x 2 mm, depressed-globose, green, styles lacking, stigma lobes separated, sessile, angular. Fruits: 8-14 x 6-8 mm, variable in shape, ovoid-ellipsoid or sometimes falciform or slightly lunate, attenuate at each end, or ± globose, shining black at maturity, epicarp thin, not transparent, mesocarp slightly fleshy, green, mucilaginous, aromatic, dense, fibrous; seeds 7-11 x 5-6 mm, ellipsoid. (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A

    Materials Examined

    • BELIZE. Belize: Bartlett 11345 (MICH); Gentle 1679 (MICH). Cayo: Dwyer 10908 (F); Gentle 2466 (MICH); Hodel 841 (BH); Lundell 6361 (MICH). GUATEMALA. Alta Verapaz: Williams 40503,42093 (F); Watson 55 (GH). Izabal: Hodel 876 (AGUAT, BH); Steyermark 38123 (F). Peten: Bartlett 12146 (MICH); Hodel 846 (BH); Lundell 2878 (MICH); Molina 15819 (F); Ortiz 1427 (F). HONDURAS. Atlantida: Bangham 230 (GH). Cortes: Molina 3474 (F). MEXICO. Campeche: Lundell 1235 (F, WIS). Chiapas: Breedlove 71299 (CAS); Martinez 6948 (F); Miranda 5920 (MEXU). Oaxaca: Martinez 127 (GH); Vera 2511 (MICH). Quintana Roo: Sanders 9828, 9945 (UCR); Tellez 3410 (MEXU). Tabasco: Matuda 3232 (F, GH, MEXU, MICH). Veracruz: Castillo 2002, 2379 (F); Hodel 951 (BH, MEXU); Nee 29737, 29891 (F); Purpus 16196 (C); Rosas 972 (GH, U). NICARAGUA. Jinotega: Standley 10460 (F). Matagalpa: Molina 20455, 31207 (F); Williams 23843, 27888 (F). (Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.)A


      A. Hodel, D. 1992. Chamaedorea Palms, The Species and Their Cultivation. The International Palm Society.
      B. World Checklist of Arecaceae