Chelyocarpus Dammer
  • Notizbl. Bot. Gart. Berlin-Dahlem 7: 395 (1920) 

Notes: Distribution: W. South America to N. Brazil

General Description

Moderate, solitary or clustered, unarmed, pleonanthic, hermaphroditic palms. Stem erect or procumbent (Chelyocarpus repens), slender, naked except for fibrous remains of leaf sheaths below the crown, closely ringed with narrow leaf scars. Leaves spreading, induplicate, palmate, or shortly costapalmate (C. chuco), sheath fibrous, not splitting opposite the petiole, densely velvety-hairy, golden-brown when young, with a prominent fibrous ligule on each side of the petiole at its apex, this disintegrating into loose fibres in age; petiole elongate, unarmed, not splitting basally, adaxially channelled basally, becoming angled distally, abaxially rounded, margins thin; adaxial hastula often large, erect, deltoid, abaxial hastula narrow, ridge-like; blade flat, thin, divided along the central abaxial fold to well beyond the middle or nearly to the base, each half further divided adaxially into paired or irregularly grouped, rather wide, single-fold segments (C. chuco), or divided to the base into elongate, wedge-shaped, many-fold segments, these again divided into several acute or very briefly bifid, single-fold, 1-ribbed segments, midribs raised abaxially, blade strongly discolorous or concolorous, transverse veinlets evident. Inflorescences interfoliar, pendulous, branching to 1 or 2 orders; peduncle flattened, short; prophyll flattened, tubular, with long fibrous beak, shortly 2-keeled laterally, surfaces and margins covered in dense soft tomentum; peduncular bracts 3(–4), like the prophyll but lacking keels; rachis flattened; first-order branches several, recurved, flattened, basally adnate to the rachis, each subtended by a prominent rachis bract similar to those on the peduncle but progressively smaller distally, at least the lower first-order branches bearing a membranous prophyll (C. chuco), or the lower rachillae sometimes fasciculate or subfasciculate on short branches but the bracts subtending first-order branches, small and not like those on the peduncle; rachillae usually adnate for some distance above an acute, sometimes elongate subtending bract and bearing spirally arranged, small to prominent, acute bracts each subtending a sessile or shortly pedicellate flower. Flowers (at least in C. ulei) strongly scented; sepals 2 or 3, distinct or briefly connate basally, or 4, distinct, and slightly imbricate; petals like the sepals; stamens 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9, one opposite each sepal, remainder opposite the petals, filaments erect, distinct, fleshy, thick and broad below, ± abruptly narrowed at the tip, anthers exserted at anthesis, dorsifixed at the middle, bifid at apex and base, latrorse; carpels 3 or 2, rarely 1 or 4, follicular, style short, somewhat recurved, stigma papillose, ovule hemianatropous, attached adaxially at the base, an aril present and basally fused to the locular wall. Pollen ellipsoidal, ± bi-symmetric, or with slight to obvious asymmetry, less frequently, oblate triangular; aperture a distal sulcus or, infrequently, a trichotomosulcus; ectexine tectate, coarsely perforate or foveolate-reticulate, aperture margin finely perforate; longest axis 22–36 µm [3/4]. Fruit usually developing from only 1 carpel, globose with eccentrically apical stigmatic remains; epicarp smooth or coarsely corky-warted, mesocarp thick, dry, endocarp membranous. Seed basally attached, globose, hilum basal, circular, raphe slightly impressed along the length of the seed and with ascending branches, endosperm homogeneous; embryo below or above the middle opposite the raphe. Germination remote-tubular; eophyll bifid. Cytology: 2n = 36 ± satellite.

Diagnostic Description

Solitary or clustered short-stemmed or creeping hermaphroditic fan palms of humid tropical rain forests of Amazonia and western Colombia; leaves often discolorous, often divided by deep and shallow splits; petiole base not split; fruit sometimes corky-warted.


Leaf (Uhl 1972c), roots (Seubert 1997), floral (Uhl 1972b).


The species occur at low elevations in areas of high rainfall. It is particularly interesting to note that the distribution of these species corresponds with three of nine refugia — Madeira-Tapajos, East Peruvian, Choco — postulated by Haffer (1969) as regions where rain forest persisted during drier epochs of the Pleistocene.


Four species in Amazonian Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and western Colombia.


Not recorded.

Common Names

Not recorded.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil North
  • Western South America Bolivia
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • 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.
  • 3 Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. Continental Publishing, Deurne.

 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
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
  • C All Rights Reserved
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • D 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
  • E 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.