Prestoea decurrens (H.Wendl. ex Burret) H.E.Moore, Gentes Herb. 9: 286 (1963)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Colombia present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)C
Costa Rica present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)C
Ecuador present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)C
Nicaragua present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)C
Panamá present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)C
Central America to Ecuador W of the Andes, in moist to wet forest below 1000 m elevation. (Borchsenius F., Borgtoft-Pedersen H. and Baslev H. 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)A

Nicaragua (Matagalpa, Río San Juan, Zelaya), Costa Rica (Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Limón, Puntarenas, San José), Panama (Chiriquí, Colón, Panamá, San Blas), western Colombia (Antioquia, Cauca, Chocó, Nariño, Risaralda, Valle), and western Ecuador (Carchi, Cotopaxi, Esmeraldas, Pichincha); rain forest at low elevations (0-800 m) but occasionally reaching 1500 m. Throughout its range it is a common palm, especially along streams and rivers. (Gloria Galeano & A. Henderson: Flora Neotropica, Monograph 72)B


  • Plants from central and S Ecuador are smaller than typical for the species, and strongly resemble P. schultzeana (Borchsenius F., Borgtoft-Pedersen H. and Baslev H. 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)A
  • Two inflorescence types occur in Prestoea decurrens, just as in P. ensiformis. Most inflorescences are straight, erect, and elongate. In scattered areas, notably coastal Ecuador, the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, and the Río Guanche area in Panama, inflorescences are curved, almost horizontal, and shortened. The latter have thicker, shorter rachillae and very closely spaced triads borne in slight depressions. (Gloria Galeano & A. Henderson: Flora Neotropica, Monograph 72)B

Common Name


    • Colombia: chapil, chichiburrú, chapilde, palmiila; Costa Rica: canna lucia, coyolilla. In Chocó, Colombia, the palm heart is occasionally eaten. (Gloria Galeano & A. Henderson: Flora Neotropica, Monograph 72)B


    • Understorey palm. Stems clustered, 1.5-5 m tall, and 4-8 cm in diameter, often yellowish green. Leaf sheathes partly closed, green, often persisting; petiole 30-80 cm long; blade 120-220 cm long; pinnae 50-80 on each side, the central ones 30-60 cm long and 3-5 cm wide, abrubtly narrowed at the tip into a 3-5 cm long filamentous point. Inflorescence with peduncle 8-40 cm long; rachis 20-50 cm long; branches 10-70, 25-50 cm long, 2-5 mm in diameter, with numerous simple, white hairs, especially when young. Fruits black, globose, 7-11 mm in diameter. Seedling leaves pinnately divided. (Borchsenius F., Borgtoft-Pedersen H. and Baslev H. 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)A
    • Stems cespitose with 2-7 stems per plant or rarely solitary, erect or occasionally leaning or procumbent, 1.4-7(- 10) m tall, 3-12 cm diam., green or yellowish with conspicuous nodes.
      Leaves 4-10, spreading; sheath semi-open and forming a partial crownshaft, this almost always obscured by persistent, dead leaf bases, 0.3-1 m long including a fibrous ligule to 10 cm long, green, green-violet, or brown-violet, fibrous on marg ins; petiole (18-)30-95(-155) cm long, densely covered, especially abaxially, with apressed, whitish brown, peltate-lacerate scales; rachis 1.2-3.1 m long, with tomentum like that of petiole; pinnae 35-58 per side, regularly arranged and horizontally spreading in the same plane, subopposite or alternate, linear-lanceolate, abruptly acuminate or almost acute apically, plicate, with prominent midvein and several lateral veins, without conspicuous ramenta on the midvein abaxially, with punctations abaxially; basal pinna 28-60 x 0.8-2 cm; middle pinnae 43-73(-81) x 2-5.5 cm; apical pinna 8- 25(-40) x 0.5-2 cm.
      Inflorescences infrafoliar, erect in bud; peduncle 8- 30(-75) cm long, 0.8-2 cm diam., terete, densely covered with whitish, stellate, short, stiff, persistent hairs; prophyll 18-45 cm long, 3-4 cm diam.; peduncular bract 0.5-1.4 m long including a 3 cm long umbo, densely covered abaxially with appressed brown scales, persistent; rachis (6.5-)13-60 cm long, with hairs similar to those of peduncle; rachillae (7-) 30-70, (30-)35-54(-75) cm long proximally, to 24 (-60) cm long distally, 1- 2 mm diam. at anthesis, 1.5- 2(-5) mm diam. in fruit, subtended by bracteoles, these occasionally prominent, densely to moderately covered with simple to stellate, 0.1-0.2 mm long, stiff, persistent, white hairs
      Flowers in triads proximally, paired or solitary staminate distally, the triads sometimes densely crowded on the rachillae, superficial or somewhat sunken; triad bracteole low, apiculate; first flower bracteole obscure, second and third flower bracteoles ± equal, deltate or rounded and apiculate, 0.3-0.5 mm long; staminate flowers 3-4 mm long; sepals deltate, 1-1.5 mm long, imbricate proximally, keeled; petals ovate to elliptic, 2.5-4 mm long, pilose abaxially especially distally; stamens arranged on a very short receptacle; filaments 1.5-2 mm long, lanceolate, flattened, adnate proximally to petals; anthers 1-1.5 mm long; pistillode 1.5- 2.5 mm long, trifid at the apex; pistillate flowers 2.5- 3.5 mm long; sepals very widely ovate, 1.5-2 mm long, ciliate; petals widely ovate, 2-3 mm long, ciliate; staminodes digitate.
      Fruits globose, 0.7-1.1 cm diam., loosely spaced or rarely crowded on the rachillae, the stigmatic remains subapical to lateral; epicarp purpleblack, scarcely minutely tuberculate; seeds globose, 5-8 mm diam.; endosperm lightly to deeply ruminate; eophyll pinnate with long rachis. (Gloria Galeano & A. Henderson: Flora Neotropica, Monograph 72)B

    Materials Examined

    • NICARAGUA. MATAGALPA: Comarca Wanawás, beside Río Bilampi, 12°03'N, 85°13'W, 180-200 m, 14 May 1980, Moreno & Araquistain 2389 (MO, US).
      RIO SAN JUAN: Nr. Caño Chonlaleño, 20 km NE of El Castillo (Río Indio watershed), 200 m, 7-9 Mar 1978, Neill 3320 (MO); 18 Apr 1978, Neill & Vincelli 3495 (MO, US).
      ZELAYA: "Kurinwacito", 13°08'N, 84°57'W, 80 mt 24 Mar 1984, Moreno 23880 (NY, US); Mpio. Siuna, Caño El León, rd. to Hormiguero, 2 Feb 1983, Ortiz 730 (MO); Mina Nueva America, 11.3 km N of main rd. leading W from 14.3 km N of El Empalme to Rosita, 22 Apr 1979, Pipoly 5322 (US); Caño between Cerro La Pimienta and El Hormiguero, 13°45'N, 85°59'W, 800-1000 m, 15 Mar 1980, Pipoly 6018 (MO, US); 6.3 km S of bridge al Colonía Yolonia and 0.8 km S of ridge of Serranías de Yolonia on rd. to Colonia Manantiales, 11°36'N, 84°22'W, 200-300 m, 29-31 Oct 1977, Stevens 4823 (BH, MO, NY, US); 13-14 Feb 1978, Stevens 6387 (MO, NY); Caño Costa Riquita, 1.8 km SW of Colonia Naciones Unidas, above rd. between Colonia Nueva León and Colonia Naciones Unidas, 11°43'N, 84°18'W, 150-180 m, 6-7 Nov 1977, Stevens 5034 (BH, MO, NY, US); S slope of Cerro El Inocente down to near Caño Majagua, 13°45'N, 85'00'W, 800-1000m, 9 Mar 1978, Stevens 6814 (BH, MO); trail from Cerro Saslaya to San José del Hormiguero, between Caño Majagua and Caño Sucio, 13°45'N, 84°59'W, 600-800 m, 10 Mar 1978, Stevens 6838 (BH, MO); 6.3 km S of bridge of Colonia Yolonia on rd. to Colonia Manantiales of Nueva Guinea, 200-300 m, 13 Feb 1978, Vincelli 250 (MO).
      COSTA RICA. ALAJUELA: E of San Rafael, S of hot springs, W of La Marina, 10°23'N, 84°23'W, 500 m, 19 May 1968, Burger & Stolze 5021 (F, NY); plains of San Carlos, 100 m, 3 Apr 1903, Cook & Doyle 54 (BH, US); Reserva Biológica de San Ramón, rd. from Las Lagunas to Colonia Palmateña, 10°04'N, 84°32'W, 850-1100 m, 30 May 1986, de Nevers et al. 7781 (MO, NY); km 36 on rd. from San Ramón to Santa Rita de San Carlos, 10°18'N, 84°32'W, 400 m, 1 Jun 1986, de Nevers et al. 7802 (MO); slopes of Miravalles, above Bijagua, ca. 1500 m, Nov 1982, Gómez et al. 19185 (CAS, CR, MO); Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Peñas Blancas river valley, 10°20'N, 84°40'W, 800-1000 m, 14 Jun 1986, Haber et al. 5115 (MO); vic. of Guatuso de San Rafael on Río Frío, 10°43'N, 84°48'W, 80-100 m, 4 Aug 1949, Holm & H. Iltis 996 (BH, MO); Río Cuarto, Sarapiquí valley, 1945, Langlois 12 (BH); beside Laguna María Aguilar, 780 m, 28 Mar 1969. Lent 1531 (NY); 2 km N of Santa Rosa, 15 km N of Boca Arenal on Quesada-Muelle San Carlos-Los Chiles rd., 100 m, 10°38'N, 84°31'W, 28 Apr 1983, Liesner et al. 15045 (MO, WIS); Rio Maria Aguilar between Cariblanco and San Miguel, valley of Río Sarapiquí, ca. 700 m, 23 Mar 1953, Moore 6560 (BH, K); between Corazón de Jesús and La Virgen, Río Sarapiquí, 340 m, 24 Mar 1953, Moore 6576 (BH, K); 9.1 km before Venado on rd. from Arenal, 750 m, 1974, Read & Daniels 74-26 (US).
      CARTAGO: Belween Río Pacuare and Grano de Oro, 7 km below Hacienda Moravia. ca. 900 m, 13 Apr 1953, Moore 6699 (BH).
      HEREDIA: Finca La Selva on Río Puerto Viejo above jct. with Río Sarapiquí, 20 Feb 1981, Folsom 9056 (DUKE); 27 Jun 1979, Holdridge 5107 (BH); 17 Oct 1980, Hammel 10189 (DUKE); 5 May 1982, Hammel 12036 (DUKE); 10 May 1982, Hammel 12168 (DUKE); 13 Jun 1984, Jacobs 2306 (DUKE); 15 Jul 1984, Jacobs & Peralta 2883 (DUKE); 28 Jan 1967, Moore & Parthasarathy 9407 (BH); 18 Apr 1972, Opler 723 (F); 13 May 1984, Wilbur & Jacobs 34374 (OUKE); 13 May 1984, Wilbur & Jacobs 34393 (DUKE); 1 Jun 1985, Wilbur 37722 (DUKE).
      LIMON: Hacienda Tapezco-Hda. La Suerte, 29 air km W of Tortuguero, 40 m, 10°30'N, 83°47'W, 7 Mar 1978, C. Davidson et al. 6737 (MO).
      PUNTARENAS: 4 mi W of Rincón de Osa, 08°42'N, 83°31'W, 30 m, 4-7 Jun 1968, Burger & Stolz.e 5568 (F, NY); along shortcut rd. to Golfito from Villa Briceño on Interamerican Hwy., W side of Fila Gamba, ca. 6 km from Golfito airport, 08°41'N, 83°12'W, ca. 100 m, 6 Mar 1985, Croat & Grayum 59925 (CAS, MO); rd. to Rincón de Osa, 16.5 km W of Chacarita, 08°45'N, 83°22'W, 25 May 1986, de Nevers et al. 7755 (MO, NY); along Camino al Pacifico, W of Rincón de Osa, Osa Peninsula, 30 m, 7 Aug 1967, Raven 21593 (DS, F, NY).
      SAN JOSE: Braulio Carillo National Park, rd. from San José to Guapiles, 10°10'N, 84?W, 1500 m, 5 Jun 1986, de Nevers & Hanunel 7821 (MO); Reserva Forestal Golfo Dulce, Cantón de Osa, Quebrada Agua Buena, Estación Agua Buena, ca. 5 km W of Rincón, 08°42'N, 83°31'W, 250 m, 7 Jun 1992, Henderson et al. 1818 (NY).
      PANAMA, CHIRIQUI: Above Chiriquí Grande on rd. To Fortuna Dam, 20 Jan 1985, Read et al. 85-20b (US).
      COCLE: Rd. to Coclesito 12 mi from Llano Grande, 08°47'N, 80°28'W, 200 m, 17 Dec 1983, Churchill et al. 4164 (MO); along river leading up mtn. to Alto Calvario and stream from La Junta nr. Limón. 800-1000 m, 12 Oct 1977, Folsom 5904 (BH, MO); forest at base of Cerro Pilón above EI Valle, 9 Jan 1972, Gentry & Dwyer 3655 (BH, MO); 46 km N from Penonomé on rd. to Coclesito. 30 m, 22 Feb 1978, Hammel 1711 (BH, MO).
      COLON: Río Guanche, 3 km upstream of the rd., 27 Oct 1985, de Nevers & Charnley 6107 (MO, NY); 18 Jan 1980, Moore et al. 10515 (BH); 14 Dec 1974, Mori & Kallunki 3716(BH); 15 Mar 1976, Hammel & Trainer 14775 (MO); 6 Oct 1973, Nee 7253 (CAS, MO); ridge top leading N from Río Escandaloso toward Cerro Bruja, 450 m, 27 Apr 1978, Hammel 2707 (MO).
      PANAMA: Pipeline rd. nr. Gamboa, 09°10'N, 79'45'W, 100 m, 24 Feb 1985, de Nevers & Charnley 4942 (MO).
      SAN BLAS: El Llano-Cartí rd., km 27.6, Ríl Pingandi, downstream of rd., 09°19'N, 78°55'W, 150 m, 9 Mar 1985, de Nevers et al. 5065 (CAS, MO); El Llano-Cartí rd., km 26.5, along Río Cartí Chico, 09°19'N, 78°55'W, 200 m, 12 Apr 1985, de Nevers et al. 5346 (MO, NY); 13 Mar 1986, de Nevers 7379 (MO, NY); Yar Bired, Continental Divide between Cangandi and San José, 09°20'N, 79°08'W, 400-500 m, 5 Feb 1986, de Nevers et al. 6900 (MO, NY); Río Cangandi at confluence of Quebrada Titamibe, 09°24'N, 79°07'W, 60 m, 8 Feb 1986, de Nevers & Herrera 7017 (MO, NY); Río Taindi (Taimdi of maps), 2-3 km above confluence with Río Mandinga, 09°25'N, 79°11'W, 3 Apr 1986, de Nevers & Herrera 7629 (MO, NY); trail to Cerro Obu (Habu of maps) from Río Urgandi (Río Sidra), 09°23'N, 78°48'N, 100-300 m, 24 Jun 1986, de Nevers & Herrera 7988 (MO); Cerro Mali, nr. Colombian MO, NY); Rio Aca, 08°48'N, 77°40'W, 25-1100 m, 16 Mar 1979, Sugden 574 (K, MO).
      COLOMBIA. ANTIOQUIA: Mpio. Mutatá, 3 km from Belén de Bajirá. toward Nuevo Oriente, ca. 100 m, 18 Mar 1983, Brand & Ascanio 239 (HUA); Mpio. Turbo, Panamerican Hwy., 1 km before Lomas Aisladas, 10-20 rn, 10 Dec 1982, R. Bernal & Galeano 452 (COL, HUA); 10 Dec 1982, R. Bernal & Galeano 454 (COL, HUA); 14 Dec 1982, R. Bernal & Galeano 490 (COL, HUA).
      CHOCO: Mpio. El Carmen, vereda El Doce, km 150 on Medellín-Quibdó rd ., 700 m, 10 Jan 1980, R. Bernal & Galeano 104 (HUA); 8 Jul 1979, Galeano & R. Bernal 120 (COL, HUA); Mpio. Tadó, 33 km E of Tadó, 250 m, 17 Mar 1986, R. Bernal et al. 1002 (COL, NY); region of Río Baudó ca. 13 km upstream from estuary, 2 Feb-29 Mar 1967, Fuchs et al. 21913 (COL, NY, US); Río Tagachi, ca. 12 km W of Río Atrato, 06°15'N, 76°S0'W, 100m, 19 Jun 1982, Gentry et al. 37065 (NY); trail from N of Mecana E into Serranfa de Baudo, 06°15' N, 77°25'W, 0-100 m, 5 Mar 1983, Gentry & Juncosa 40986 (COL); Mecana, Bahía Solano, 06°16'N, 77°21'W, 2 m, 2 Jan 1984, Juncosa 1630 (BH); Mpio. Nuqui, Alto del Buey, 1000 m, 13 Jun 1940, von Sneidern 56 (COL); Mpio. Quibdó, San Francisco de Ichó nr. the mouth of the Río Necorá., 150 m, 10 Jul 1981, Galeano & R. Bemal 444A (COL).
      NARIÑO: Mpio. Tumaco, Tangarial, 80 m, 4 Oct 1985, R. Bernal & Galeano 890 (COL, NY); Mpio. Barbacoas, 5 km SE of Barbacoas on rd. to Junín, 200 m, 19 Nov 1986, R. Bernal & Hammell 309 (COL); Barbaeoas, Corregimiento Santander, Río Telembí, 200-840 m, 3-5 Aug 1948, Garcia-Barriga 13214 (BH).
      RISARALDA: Mpio. Mistrató, Jeguadas, 05°25'N, 75°54'W, 900-1400 m, 19-21 Sep 1991, Betancur et al. 2782 (COL).
      VALLE DEL CAUCA: Rd. between Queremal and Buenaventura, 1200-1300 m, 22 Mar 1988, R. Bernal & Prado 1447 (COL, TULV); Río Naya, Puerto Merizalde, 5-20 m, 20 Oct 1943, Cuatrecasas 13963 (COL, F); Pacific coast, Río Yurumanguí, Caimanero, 10 m, 5 Feb 1944, Cuatrecasas 16012 (COL, F); Río Calima, La Trojita, 5-50 m, 19 Feb-10 Mar 1944, Cuatrecasas 16504 (COL. F); Pacific Coast, Rio Cajambre, Barco. 5-80 m, 28 Apr 1944, Cuatrecasas 17207 (COL, F); Silva, 5-50 m, 5-15 May 1944, Cuatrecasas 17659 (COL); Cordillera Occidental, Hoya del Rio Calima, camp Calima III, 450-600 m, 16-19 Feb 1989, R. Bernal et al. 1527 (COL); Yotoco Forest, W of Buga, 03°50'N, 76°30W, 1500 m, 20 Nov 1981, Gentry 34857 (BH); Bajo Calima, ca. 15 km N of Buenaventura, Cartón de Colombia Concession, ca 50 m, I5 Feb 1983, Gentry et al. 40328 (COL).
      ECUADOR. CARCHO: El Pailon, ca. 45 km below Maldonado, 800 m, 30 Nov 1979, Madison & Besse 7193 (BH, K). COTOPAXI: 20 km E of La Maná on rd. to Latacunga from Quevedo via Pilaló, 0°53'S, 79°4'W, 1100 m, 6 Apr 1986, Balslev et a1. 62029 (AAU).
      ESMERALDAS: New rd. from Lita to San Lorenzo, km 15 from Lila, 00°50'N, 78°32'W, 900 m, 14 Oct 1987, Skov & Borchsenius 64749 (AAU, COL, NY, QCA).
      PICHINCHA: Rd. Quito-Puerto Quito, km 113, 00°05'N, 79°02'W. 800 m, 28 Dec 1983, Arguello & Betancourt 339(K, NY, QCA); 23 Feb 1984, Argüello 423 (NY, QCA); 25 Feb 1984, Argüello 427 (K, NY, QCA); rd. Santo Domingo-Quevedo, 12 km S of Santo Domingo, 00°17'S, 79°15'W, 300 m, 24 Jul 1985, Balslev et al. 60700 (AAU, QCA); Centinela, km 12 rd. Patricia Pilar- 24 de Mayo, Montanas de Ila, 650 m, 19 Jul- 11 Aug 1977, Dodson 6760 (MO); 30 jul 1984, Gentry et al. 14643 (NY). (Gloria Galeano & A. Henderson: Flora Neotropica, Monograph 72)B

    Use Record

    • Prestoea decurrens (H.Wendl. ex Burret) H.E.Moore: Construcción. Tallo. (Galeano, G. 1992: Las palmas de la región de Araracuara)
      Use CategoryUse Sub CategoryPlant PartHuman GroupEthnic GroupCountry


      A. Borchsenius F., Borgtoft-Pedersen H. and Baslev H. 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
      B. Gloria Galeano & A. Henderson: Flora Neotropica, Monograph 72
      C. World Checklist of Arecaceae