Pholidostachys H.Wendl. ex Hook.f.
  • Gen. Pl. 3: 915 (1883) 

Notes: Distribution: C. & W. South America to NW. Brazil

General Description

Small to moderate, solitary, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palms. Stems slender, erect, closely ringed with leaf scars. Leaves pinnate, marcescent; sheath tubular at first, later splitting opposite the petiole, not forming a crownshaft, thin, coriaceous, margins fibrous, lightly hairy adaxially, with dense reddish-brown tomentum abaxially; petiole long, very slender, adaxially shallowly to deeply grooved, abaxially narrowly ridged, V-shaped in cross-section, ± tomentose, becoming glabrous; blade short, leaflets broadly lanceolate, tapering to a point, median leaflets much longer than the proximal or distal, all leaflets several-fold, folds narrow, midribs ca. 4–5, elevated adaxially, interfold ribs conspicuous abaxially, blade adaxially lightly tomentose near the base, abaxially sparsely covered in scales and a dense layer of wax, transverse veinlets inconspicuous. Inflorescence solitary, protandrous, erect, becoming pendulous and infrafoliar, spicate or digitately or paniculately branched to 1(–3) orders; peduncle short, rounded or ± flattened; prophyll short, tubular, adaxially flat and 2-keeled, keels toothed, inserted near the base of the peduncle, splitting abaxially at the tip, irregularly covered in dark reddish tomentum; peduncular bract tubular with a short solid tip, much longer (3 or more times) than the prophyll, inserted well above the prophyll, splitting adaxially near the tip, caducous or marcescent, thinly covered in dark red tomentum; other peduncular bracts several, small, spirally inserted, the lowest often shortly tubular, the others open, stiff, pointed; rachis lacking, very short, or elongate, bearing spirally inserted, short, stiff, irregular bracts each subtending a rachilla; rachillae bearing obovate bracts, alternating in 5–11 closely appressed rows, ± immersed in the axis, basally tomentose, margins thin, sometimes overlapping the margins of bracts of adjacent rows, each bract subtending a triad of flowers enclosed in a pit, floral bracteoles 3, narrow, keeled, chaffy, sepal-like. Staminate flowers only about 1/2 exserted from the pit at anthesis; sepals 3, imbricate basally, keeled, chaffy, truncate or rounded to subacute and often toothed at the apex; petals 3, ovate with pointed tips, connate ca. 1/2 their length, valvate, briefly adnate to the receptacle basally, tips chaffy; stamens 6, filaments fleshy, connate for 2/3 their length in a thick tanniniferous tube, free parts angled–awl-shaped, anthers sagittate, medifixed, erect in bud, exserted and spreading at anthesis, introrse, connectives with pointed tips; pistillodes 3, minute, pointed. Pollen ellipsoidal, usually ± symmetric; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate or semi-tectate, finely perforate-rugulate, or finely reticulate with slightly ridged supratectal spines, aperture margin similar; infratectum columellate; longest axis 35–42 µm [2/4]. Pistillate flowers with only free parts of staminodes and stigmas exserted from the pit at anthesis; sepals 3, free, narrow unequal, imbricate basally, truncate or rounded to subacute, often toothed apically, keeled, chaffy; petals 3, fleshy and connate to about 1/3 to 1/2 their length basally (or perhaps sometimes less), with valvate, ± chaffy, free tips; staminodes 6–8, fleshy, connate in a tube 2/3 their length, adnate to the corolla for a short distance basally, the free portions angled, awl-shaped, exserted and spreading at anthesis; gynoecium trilocular, triovulate, with a central elongate style terminating in 3 exserted, spreading, slender stigmas, ovules anatropous, only one maturing. Fruit moderate, obovoid, purple when ripe with basal remains of abortive carpels and stigmas; epicarp smooth, mesocarp with outer tannin layer, fleshy granulate, with thick, curved and anastomosing included fibres, endocarp tough, whitish, thinner over the hilum, with a small operculum over the embryo. Seed ellipsoidal, rapheal lines arched from the rounded hilum over the apex to the base, endosperm homogeneous, sometimes with a central hollow; embryo basal. Germination adjacent ligular; eophyll bifid. Cytology not studied.

Diagnostic Description

Small or moderate pinnate-leaved palms from Central and South America, with distinctive long slender petioles.


Leaf (Tomlinson 1961), leaf and stem (Wessels Boer 1968), root (Seubert 1998a, 1998b), and flower (Stauffer and Endress 2003).


All species are found in the understory of tropical rain forest.


Four species from Costa Rica to Peru.


Common names not recorded.

Common Names

Common names not recorded.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil North
  • Central America Costa Rica
  • Nicaragua
  • Panamá
  • Western South America Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru


  • 1 Henderson, A. (2012). A revision of Pholidostachys (Arecaceae). Phytotaxa 43: 1-48.
  • 2 J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008
  • 3 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.