Desmoncus chinantlensis Liebm. ex Mart., Hist. Nat. Palm. 3: 321 (1853)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Belize present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Guatemala present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Honduras present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Gulf present (Henderson, A. 2011: A revision of Desmoncus (Arecaceae). – Phytotaxa 35: 1-88)A
Mexico Southeast present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Mexico Southwest present (Henderson, A. 2011: A revision of Desmoncus (Arecaceae). – Phytotaxa 35: 1-88)A
Nicaragua present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
From 13°03'-18°35'N and 84°5896°24'W in southern Mexico (Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, and Veracruz), Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua at 187(10-550) m elevation in lowland rainforest, often in limestone areas (Henderson, A. 2011: A revision of Desmoncus (Arecaceae). – Phytotaxa 35: 1-88)A


  • Taxonomic notes:-There are three original collections from Oaxaca of Desmoncus chinantlensis- Liebmann 6594, 6595, and 6596, none of which was cited by Martius. Bailey (1933; see also Schultes 1940) designated Liebmann 6595 from C as lectotype, and this specimen is illustrated by Dahlgren (1959, plate 180). Bailey noted that this specimen was somewhat different from the other two specimens, both at US. This is probably because the leaf represented by the lectotype is from a young plant. Leaves of young plants, which are frequently collected, have rachises which often lack spines and pinnae which are shorter, ovate, strongly clustered, and lack spines at the bases. Bartlett (1935) described five species from Belize and Guatemala, none of which are recognized here. One of these, D. anomalus has narrow pinnae and pistillate flowers with unusual staminodes. Another specimen (Cook 53) from the same locality has normal pinnae and staminodes. Both Desmoncus quasillarius and D. uaxactunensis were said to have peduncular bracts 'entirely or nearly unarmed' or 'almost unarmed', but both are spiny as in other specimens.
    Subspecific variation:-There is no geographic disjunction except for an outlying specimen from Nicaragua, but this is likely to be an artifact of insufficient collecting. Two specimens from Honduras (Evans 1702, Saunders 553) have somewhat tomentose rachillae, more like those of Desmoncus moorei. Other specimens from Honduras have less pronounced beards of spines at the pinnae bases, although this may be because they represent young leaves. (Henderson, A. 2011: A revision of Desmoncus (Arecaceae). – Phytotaxa 35: 1-88)A


  • Plants 8.1(2.5-20.0) m tall; stems 2.5(1.4-3.8) cm diameter, solitary or clustered. Leaf petioles 2.2(0.5-4.7) cm long; rachises 108.0(96.0-128.0) cm long, 10.5(5.7-15.0) mm wide, the spines usually >1 cm long, mostly adaxial or lateral, straight with briefly swollen bases; pinnae 23(18-35) per side of rachis, without long, filiform apices, with an adaxial beard of spines at the bases, without spinules or dense tomentum at the bases adaxially; basal pinna 21.6(7.5-31.0) cm long, 1.9(1.0-2.5) cm wide; cirri well-developed, with acanthophylls, without spines abaxially, with intermediate acanthophylls present, without a wide gap between pinnae and acanthophylls. Inflorescences with the rachis ridged, not twisted, much thicker than the numerous, closely spaced and spirally or irregularly arranged rachillae, each rachilla not or only briefly adnate to the rachis, subtended by an acute bracteole and with a well-developed axillary pulvinus; peduncles 7.2(5.0-13.1) mm wide; peduncular bracts 37.3(26.5-69.0) cm long, broad, the surfaces ribbed, brown tomentose, sparsely to densely covered with long, straight or sinuous, briefly swollen-based, diagonally or vertically oriented spines, these flattened or triangular in cross-section, whitish-brown proximally, black or brown distally, with tomentose margins; rachillae 38(28-43), glabrous or scarcely tomentose initially; proximal rachillae 13.0(9.0-19.0) cm long, 1.2(0.9-1.7) mm wide; stamens 9(8-11); fruits 15.2(12.1-18.6) mm long, 12.7(10.3- 16.2) mm wide, the surfaces uneven with numerous, subepidermal, short, often branching (Y-shaped) fibers; fruiting corollas less than one quarter as long as fruits, splitting irregularly into 3 lobes, the lobes often splitting again; endocarps globose to obovoid with rounded or slightly peaked apices, the pores lateral. (Henderson, A. 2011: A revision of Desmoncus (Arecaceae). – Phytotaxa 35: 1-88)A


    A. Henderson, A. 2011: A revision of Desmoncus (Arecaceae). – Phytotaxa 35: 1-88
    B. World Checklist of Arecaceae