Neonicholsonia Dammer
  • Gard. Chron., ser. 3, 30: 178 (1901) 

Notes: Distribution: C. America

General Description

Small, acaulescent or short, solitary (?always), unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palm. Stem rhizomatous, or very short, sheathed by leaf bases. Leaves pinnate; sheaths short, thin, fibrous, opening opposite the petiole, not forming a crownshaft; petiole moderate, slender, 4-sided; Inflorescences solitary, interfoliar, spicate; peduncle very long, slender; rachis 4-sided basally, distally angled adaxially, rounded abaxially, prophyll short, 2-keeled laterally, splitting apically; peduncular bract glabrous; leaflets lanceolate or linear, rather short, tapering to a point, much longer than the prophyll, terete, slender, beaked, splitting opposite to subopposite, single-fold, distal pair sometimes united basally, abaxially; flower-bearing portion also elongate but shorter than the thin and papery, adaxially glabrous, abaxially lightly waxy-tomentose, peduncle, densely hairy becoming glabrous, bearing spirally arranged, midrib prominent, transverse veinlets not evident or visible and short. closely crowded, shallow, pointed bracts each subtending a triad basally and pairs of or single staminate flowers distally; floral bracteoles conspicuous, shallow, pointed, the outer markedly larger than the inner. Staminate flowers lateral to the pistillate, somewhat variable, ovoid, curved in bud; sepals 3, basally connate for 1/2 their length in a short erect cupule with 3 long, narrow, pointed tips, keeled or not; petals 3, distinct, valvate, about twice as long as the sepals, striate, grooved adaxially, narrow or rather broad, tips thickened; stamens 6, distinct or briefly connate basally, filaments awl-shaped, somewhat enlarged basally, antesepalous filaments shorter, anthers elongate, medifixed, basally ± sagittate, versatile, latrorse, connective ± prolonged in a tip; pistillode short or slender and elongate, trifid apically or throughout. Pollen ellipsoidal, with slight or obvious asymmetry; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine semitectate, coarsely foveolate-reticulate or reticulate, aperture margin slightly coarsely perforate or foveolate; infratectum columellate; longest axis 55–62 µm [1/1]. Pistillate flowers ovoid; sepals 3, distinct, partially imbricate, margins somewhat fringed, tips pointed, striate; petals like the sepals but tips thickened, valvate; staminodes lacking; gynoecium ovoid, unilocular, uniovulate, style not evident, stigma with 3 fleshy lobes, briefly reflexed, papillose adaxially, ovule basally attached, form unknown. Fruit ovoid, black when mature, irregular, remnants of 2 abortive carpels present, stigmatic remains apical to subapical forming a distinct beak; epicarp thin, smooth, mesocarp thin, composed of large, flat fibres, endocarp thin, crustaceous. Seed globose, hilum basal, raphe branches few, large, deeply sunken making the endosperm ruminate peripherally; embryo large, basal to subbasal. Germination adjacent ligular; eophyll bifid, the tips further divided. Cytology: 2n = 36.

Diagnostic Description

Usually acaulescent palm of forest undergrowth in Central America, remarkable for its spicate inflorescence.


Stems, leaves and roots (Henderson and Galeano 1996), and root (Seubert 1998a, 1998b).


Found only in rain forest at low elevations from 0–250 m.


One variable species in Panama and Nicaragua.


No uses recorded.

Common Names


Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Southern America Central America Costa Rica
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panamá


  • 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.