|Group I||Group II||Group III|
A Field Key to the Palms of Belize
GROUP IV Stems
slender, cane like, usually green or brown, rarely taller than 5 m
(* potential species)
|10a.||Apparently acaulescent (stem short, underground); with 8-21 leaves inflorescences spicate.||Calyptrogyne ghiesbreghtiana|
|10b.||Stems evident in mature palms; leaves usually <8 (to 12 in Synechanthus) inflorescences branched (except in Chamaedorea nationsiana).|
|11a.||Stems green; leaves clustered at stem apex, often <7.|
|12a.||Leaflets many (>10) per side and arranged in groups of 26; sub-apical leaflets with one principal vein, rachis and petiole without a pale to yellow line beneath; monoecious; flowers arranged in rows along the flowering axes.||Synechanthus fibrosus|
|12b.||Leaflets few or many per side, not arranged in groups of 26, sub-apical leaflets without one principal vein, rachis and petiole often with a distinct, pale to yellow line beneath on the rachis, extending to the sheath; dioecious; flowers solitary or in groups.|
|13a.||Leaves leathery and leaflets <3.5 cm wide, leaflets 26 per side, rigid and with a velvety aspect, blue-gray-green; female infl. spicate, male infl. with 210 branches; rare, restricted to limestone hilltops.||Chamaedorea adscendens|
|13b.||Leaves thin and/or leaflets wider, rigid or not, green in color.|
|14a.||Leaflets mostly <11 per side of the rachis; stems usually <2 cm diameter.|
|15a.||Apex of leaf sheath white; leaflets thin, with 2-7 angular 10 nerves; stem to 3 cm diameter; female flowers greenish, male flowers joined at the tips, opening by lateral slits; female, male infl. mostly with 5-20 branches.||Chamaedorea pinnatifrons|
|15b.||Apex of leaf sheath green; male petals free.|
|16a.||Female infls. with > 2 branches.|
|17a.||Leaves usually drying grayish, submarginal primary veins obscure; stem to 3 cm; male, female greenish.||Chamaedorea oblongata|
|17b.||Leaves usually drying green, brown or black, submarginal primary veins conspicuous; stem to 1.6 cm; male, female flowers orange.||*Chamaedorea sartorii|
|16b.||Female infls. spicate or bifurcate.|
Inflorescences spicate, male infls. multiple at each node.
Inflorescences spicate or bifurcate (female), or 8-10 branched & solitary/node (male).
|14b.||Leaflets >11 per side, stems variable.|
|19a.||Small, slender palms <2 cm diameter and <2 m tall; leaf sheaths only tubular near base; leaflets 11-21 per side, linear to lanceolate; female, male infls. with 5-35 branches.||Chamaedorea elegans|
|19b.||Medium-sized, + stout palms, 210 cm diameter, 212 m tall; leaf sheaths tubular for + entire length.|
|20a.||Leaflets linear to linear- lanceolate, to 36 per side of the rachis, with 2 primary veins on each side of a midvein; female infl. with ca. 50 branches.||Chamaedorea woodsoniana|
|20b.||Leaflets sigmoid, to 25 per side, with 5-10 primary veins; female infl. with 520 flowering branches.||Chamaedorea tepejilote|
|11b.||Stems not green, and/or leaves spread loosely along the stem; leaves often >7.|
|21a.||Leaves 7-18, loosely spread apart along the stem; stemsbrown or green, usually clumped, 0.53 cm diameter.||Geonoma deversa|
|21b.||Leaves 6+, clustered at stem apex; stems not green, usuallysolitary and >3 cm diameter (except Reinhardtia, with openings between leaflet folds).|
|22a.||Leaflets 4-ranked, spreading in 4 different planes and giving leaves a plumose appearance; stem to 15 cm diameter; leaves 68; crown open; fruits red; palm of rocky places over limestone at low elevations.||Gaussia maya|
|22b.||Leaflets generally spreading in 1-2 planes; stems large or small; leaves often >8; crown usually dense; fruits red or not; on limestone soils or not.|
|23a.||Leaves with brown scales on lower surface; salt-tolerant, found near the sea in N. Belize; stem to 30 cm diameter; fruits red.||Pseudophoenix sargentii subsp. sargentii|
|23b.||Leaves without brown scales beneath; most commonly found in wet or moist forest, widespread or S. Belize; fruits brown or blackish.|
|24a.||Leaves very large (28 m long), erect and irregularly divided into wide leaflets with serrated apical margins, persistent and forming a skirt around the stem; stems 1520 cm diameter; fruits large (46 cm diameter), brown, covered in pyramidal protrusions; on wet, lowland soils.||Manicaria saccifera|
smaller, generally <3 m long, arching or erect, regularly divided,
persistent or not, but never forming a skirt around the stem; leaflets not
serrated (but apically toothed in Reinhardtia
gracilis); stem diameter large or
small; fruits small, <2 cm diameter, black or purple-black, fleshy.
Leaflets few, usually 2 per side; slender palm <2 cm diameter, leaf sheaths closed but not forming a crownshaft (forming interwoven fibers instead).
|26a.||Leaves large: leaf rachis 1123 cm long, with 1422 nerves on each side; the lower pinnae 14.525 cm long.||Reinhardtia gracilis var. gracilis|
|26b.||Leaves small: leaf rachis 3.5-6 cm long, with 811 nerves on each side; the lower pinnae 8.512 cm long.||Reinhardtia gracilis var. gracilior|
|25b.||Leaflets many, often >10/side; stem much larger; crownshaft present in Euterpe.|
Crownshaft (green or purplish) formed by open or closed leaf sheaths; leaves 5-10, leaflets ± same-shaped and linear flowers not in pits.
Stem gray; green crownshaft formed by closed leaf sheaths; infl. axes densely pubescent.
Stem brown, green or purplish crown shaft mostly open; infl. axes not densely pubescent.
Crownshaft absent (or very short, sometimes a reddish, and open "crownshaft" present in G. undata); to 20 leaves present, leaflets often irregularly-shaped; stem light brown.
Rare, presumably montane (?); reported by Henderson et al. (1995); not seen by the author in Belize; pits in flowering branches with a lower and upper lip; infl. borne below the leaves; leaflets ± linear.
Common, montane or not; pits in flowering branches without a distinct upper lip; most leaflets ± sigmoid to sickle-shaped.
|9b.||Stems clumped.||Go to Group IV, p.3|
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