This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, dwarf and gift). Palmaceae. Spineless, erect, procumbent or rarely climbing usually pinnatisect or pinnate palms.
Trunks solitary or cespitose, slender or reed-like: leaves simple, bifid at the apex or variously equally-pinnati-sect; lobes broad or narrow, straight or oblique, acuminate, plicate-nerved, usually callous at the base, the basal margins folded back or recurved; petiole usually cylindrical; sheath tubular, oblique at the throat: spadices among or below the leaves, simple or paniculately branched; spathes 3 or many, often appearing much below the leaves, alternate, sheathing, elongated, split at the apex, membranous or coriaceous, usually persistent; pistillate flowers very small, solitary, in small pits in the spadix: fruit small, of 1-3 globose or oblong-obtuse carpels, coriaceous or fleshy. - Species about 60. Mex. to Panama. G.C. II. 23:410, and Dammer's articles inG.C. III. 38:42-44 (1905), and 36:202, 245 (1904).
Peat or leaf-mold, loam and sand in equal parts, with a little charcoal added, form the best soil. The species common in cultivation are quick-growing. They are well suited for planting out in greenhouse borders. The sexes are on different plants; therefore several should be planted in a group if the handsomely colored fruit is desired. All of the kinds require warm temperature in winter. Increased from seeds. Of the many species, only a few appear in the American trade. (G. W. Oliver.)
a. Leaves simple.
stem 3-4 ft., reedy, erect, radicant at base: blade obovate, cuneate at the base, deeply bifid, coarsely serrate along the margins; petiole shorter than blade; sheath amplexicaul: sterile spadix 8-9 in., the simple branches 6-8 in., attentuate, slender; fertile spadix simple; flowers red. Mex. B.M. 4837. F.S. 13:1357.
aa. Leaves pinnate.
b. Plant becoming of climbing habit.
Leaves 2-3 ft. long, with drooping, narrow leaflets a foot long, and glaucous petiole: plant tending to climb after it becomes a few feet high. Mex.
bb. Plant not climbing.
c. stem or trunk evident.
d. leaflets 40-50, glaucous on both sides.
Fig. 895. stem 20 ft.: leaves long, pinnate; leaflets 40-50, narrowed, long and slender, dark green, glaucous: flowers on a tall spadix which often exceeds the leaves and comes out from between them. Guatemala. G.F. 8:507 (adapted in Fig. 895). - Horti-culturally one of the best of all chamaedoreas.
Fig. 895. Chamaedorea glaucifolia.
dd. leaflets less than 40, bright green, at least above.
E. Spadix appearing among or with the leaves, not conspicuously cauline.
stem 8-14 ft., ringed, clothed above with If -sheaths: leaves 3-3 1/2 ft. long; petiole terete, sul-cate, dilated at the base; sheath, petiole and rachis white on the back; leaflets 12 in. long, 1 1/2-2 in. wide, alternate, falcate, acuminate, narrowed at the base, sometimes almost confluent: spadix among or just below the leaves Mex.
stem strict, 6 ft. high, scarcely more than 1-1 1/2 in. thick, closely ringed, often sending out roots from above the base: leaves 6-8 in a cluster, broadly lanceolate; leaflets about 14, the upper pair sometimes confluent, acuminate, straight: flowers reddish orange: fruit globose. Mex. B.M. 4845.
ee. Spadix appearing much below the leaves, conspicuously cauline.
6. Tepejilote, Liebm. stem 10 ft. high, closely ringed, about 1 1/2 in. thick: leaves 4 ft.; leaflets 20-30, 7-nerved, close alternate, falcate, acute, narrowly lanceolate, 13-15 in. long, 1 1/2 in. wide; rachis convex on the back, canaliculate above: flowers yellow. Mex. B.M. 6030.
(C. Karwinskiana, Wendl.). stem 20-30 ft., bamboo-like: leaves 6 ft. long, the sheath 18 in. long; leaflets 15 or 16, the lower very narrow, opposite or nearly so, the upper lanceolate, acuminate at each end; petioles 1 1/2-3 ft. long: spadix simply branched, appearing at least 6 ft. below the leaves; flowers reddish orange: fruit globose, ovoid. Mex. - Intro, by Fran-ceschi in 1898.
(C. latifolia, Hort.). stem slender, 5-6 ft., green: leaves usually only 5 or 6, erect-spreading; leaflets 10-15 pairs, alternate and drooping, very long-pointed, plicate and many-ribbed: flowers yellowish white. Guatemala. B.M. 6838.
cc. stem or trunk none.
Acaulescent or nearly so: leaves usually rather stiff, erect, pinnate, 3 ft.; leaflets 12-15 on each side, linear-lanceolate, acuminate, 6-8 in. long,1/4_ 1/3in.wide; rachis triangular: spadix simple, 8 in. long. San Louis Potosi, Mex.
C. atrovirens, Mart. stem bamboo-like, stiff and simple, about 9 ft. high: leaves bright green, spreading, about 2 1/2 ft. long. Mex. Not common in the trade but grown in fanciers' collections. - C. bambusoides, Hort.. stems tufted, thin, reed-like, with feathery light green leaves Honduras. - C. formosa, Hort. A showy pinnate-Ivd. palm of unknown botanical status. G.C. II. 5:724. - C. geonomae formis, Wendl. stem 4 ft.: leaves simple, deeply cut, about 9 in. long: spadix from among the leaves long-pendulous. Guatemala. Gn. 24, p. 244; 30, p. 593. - There are said to be a number of unidentified species scattered about Calif.
Jared G. Smith.