Chamaedorea elegans

Common name

parlor palm, good-luck palm

Description

Stems: Solitary, erect (or sometimes leaning) stems, to 2 m tall (occasionally taller), up to 1.5 cm in diameter and ringed with leaf scars. Stems of older, decumbent individuals may form adventitious roots. Leaves: Pinnate, reduplicate, to 1 m long, with linear to lanceolate leaflets evenly spaced along the rachis and spreading in a single plane. Upper and lower leaf surfaces are green, without spines or obvious tomentum; the midrib is prominent and yellowish. Flowers and fruits: Inflorescence erect, to 1 m long, green when in flower, turning orange-red in fruit, branched to two orders with up to 35 branches. Yellow male and female flowers are borne on different plants. The spherical fruits (4-7 mm in diameter) are black when ripe.

Diagnostic features

Field: Slender, green stem (sometimes rooting at the nodes) with leaves congested at the stem apex. Erect inflorescence branches of female plants orange-red with black fruit.

May be confused with

Other Chamaedorea species, but C. elegans often has adventitious roots at nodes all along the stem.

Distribution

Native to eastern (primarily) Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize in rainforest understory

Additional comments

Often used as a house plant; cultivated outdoors in Florida and Hawaii; sometimes sold as "Neanthe Bella"

Scientific name

Chamaedorea elegans Mart.

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Synonyms

Chamaedorea humilis Mart.

Chamaedorea pulchella Linden

Neanthe elegans (Mart.) O.F.Cook

Nunnezharoa elegans Kuntze

Nunnezharria humilis (Mart.) Kuntze Revis.

Nunnezharria pulchella (Linden ex. Helmsl.) Kuntze

Last Updated May 2014

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