Iriartella H.Wendl.
  • Bonplandia (Hannover) 8: 103 (1860) 

Notes: Distribution: S. Trop. America

General Description

Usually clustered, slender, lightly armed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stem erect, conspicuously ringed with leaf scars, stilt roots well developed at the base, internodes densely covered in scales, hairs, and sometimes sharp black bristles, becoming smooth in age. Leaves few, pinnate, neatly abscising; sheaths forming a crownshaft, sparsely to densely armed with solitary or clustered black bristles and abundant scales and hairs, sometimes with a short ligule; petiole well developed, ± rounded in cross-section; armed like the sheath; rachis adaxially angled, abaxially flattened, densely hairy; leaflets regularly arranged, distant, rhombic to trapezoidal, upper margins irregularly lobed and praemorse, distal pair of leaflets truncate, joined along the rachis, ribs numerous, conspicuous abaxially, ± parallel, scaly or rough hairy abaxially, sometimes also adaxially, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences solitary, interfoliar at first, becoming infrafoliar in fruit, branching to 1 order, protandrous; peduncle elongate, flattened, elliptic in cross-section; prophyll inserted near the base, tubular, 2-keeled, membranous, included in the leaf sheath, eventually disintegrating; peduncular bracts 3–5, exceeding the prophyll, similar but not 2-keeled, the proximal included within the leaf sheath, the distal exposed; rachis shorter than the peduncle, bearing minute triangular, incomplete, spirally arranged bracts each subtending a rachilla; rachillae slender, 3 to ca. 30, short to moderately long, bearing spirally arranged, close, slightly sunken triads throughout except at the very tip where bearing paired or solitary staminate flowers, rachilla bracts not evident. Staminate flowers borne in a close pair distal to the pistillate, symmetrical; sepals 3, rounded, keeled, distinct, imbricate or basally connate, both connate and distinct sepals found in different collections of Iriartella setigera; petals 3, distinct, oblong, valvate, about 3 times the length of the sepals; stamens 6, filaments very short, broad, fleshy, anthers oblong, basifixed, latrorse; pistillode absent. Pollen ellipsoidal, bi-symmetric; aperture comprising two parallel distal sulci, narrowly separated by an ectexinous bridge; ectexine, tectate, coarsely perforate, tectum between sulci and aperture margins similar or slightly less perforate; infratectum columellate; longest axis 22–26 µm; post-meiotic tetrads tetrahedral [2/2]. Pistillate flowers smaller than the staminate; sepals 3, distinct, broad, imbricate or basally connate, splitting into 3 in fruit; petals 3, imbricate basally with short triangular, valvate tips; staminodes 6, minute, tooth-like; ovary globular, trilocular, triovulate, tipped with 3 short, recurved stigmas, ovule form unknown. Fruit usually developing from 1 carpel, scarlet, orange, or brownish, ellipsoidal, stigmatic and carpellary remains basal; epicarp smooth, mesocarp slightly fleshy with few longitudinal fibres, endocarp thin. Seed ellipsoidal, attached basally, with loosely branched raphe and tannin network, endosperm homogeneous; embryo apical. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll shallowly bifid. Cytology unknown.

Diagnostic Description

Solitary or clustered, small pinnate-leaved palms of the forest undergrowth in the Amazon basin, distinctive in the undivided praemorse rhomboid leaflets, inflorescence branched to one order only and seed with apical embryo.


Not studied.


Undergrowth palms of lowland tropical rain forests below 1000 m elevation.


Two species limited to the Amazonian drainage of Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela and Guyana


An infusion of leaf bases is used medicinally. Stems are hollowed out and used for the exterior tube of blow guns.

Common Names

Palma de cerpatana (Iriartella setigera).

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil North
  • Northern South America Guyana
  • Venezuela
  • Western South America Colombia
  • Peru


  • 1 J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008
  • 2 Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

 Information From

Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet Accessed on 21/04/2013
  • A Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
  • B
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • C Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • D See You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.