Chamaedorea cataractarum

Photo by Gastσn Torres Vera


Alphabetical List


By Jorge Monteverde – Buenos Aires, Argentina

© January 2005

Reprinted with permission from the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society's

Water Garden Journal (ISSN 1069-5982).


The following is an alphabetical list detailing the species. Additional characteristics are included when possible, such as common names, origin, form of the leaves, mature height, trunk characteristic, habitat, etc.


Note: When doubts arose regarding names or synonyms, I used the nomenclature accepted by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


Acoelorrhaphe wrightii (everglades palm) – Florida, Caribbean coast; palmate; clumping; max. 6-8 m.; low-lying areas inundated by fresh or brackish water

Archontophoenix alexandrae (King Alexander palm) – Australia; pinnate; solitary; 20m.

Areca rheophytica – Borneo; pinnate; confined to the banks of fast flowing streams                                           RHEOPHYTE

Areca triandra (triandra palm) – India, Southeast Asia; pinnate; clumping; 3-4 m; tropical and subtropical.

Arenga australasica (Australian arenga palm)– Australia, Papua, New Guinea; pinnate; clumping; 5 m.

Arenga caudata (dwarf sugar palm) – Southeast Asia; pinnate; clumping; over 1.8 m.

Arenga engleri (Formosa palm) – Taiwan, Ryukyu islands; pinnate; clumping; 3-5 m.

Arenga pinnata (black sugar palm) – Indonesia, India, Southeast Asia; pinnate; solitary; 20 m.

Asterogyne guianensis – southern French Guiana; leaves simple, bifid, becomes split with age and then appear pinnate; solitary; 2m; lowland rain forest inundated area.

Astrocaryum alatum – Nicaragua, C.Rica, Panamα; pinnate (banana leaf like); 7m.; moisture loving

Astrocaryum jauari – Amazon rainforest; black water swamps, seasonally inundated; pinnate; trunks and petioles very spiny; clumping; 13m.

Astrocaryum murumuru – Amazon rainforest; pinnate; trunk and petiole very spiny; solitary; 7-10 m. Along river margins or periodically inundated areas.

Astrocaryum standleyanum – Pacific coast C.Rica and Colombia, Atlantic coast Pan; pinnate, solitary; 15m.; lowland rain forest or imperfectly drained soils.

Astrocaryum urostachys – Ecuador flood plain forest; pinnate; trunk and petiole very spiny; clumping; 8m. ; along river margins or periodically inundated areas.

Attalea butyracea  (American oil palm) – South America; pinnate; solitary; 15 m.; wet forest areas

Attalea cuatrecasana  (American oil palm) – Colombia; pinnate leaves to 6 m.; acaulescent (stemless); very wet lowland rain forest

Bactris bidentula – Venezuela, Perϊ, Colombia, Brazil; pinnate, clumping, 4m.; spiny; along margins of blackwater streams/rivers

Bactris brongniartii – Amazon region; pinnate; clumping, forming large colonies by rhizomes; 8m.; along margins of rivers and seasonally inundated areas.

Bactris campestris – Notheastern amazon; pinnate, clumping; 5m.; very spiny; wet areas, poorly drained.

Bactris concinna – Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Perϊ, Bolivia; pinnate; clumping, forming large colonies; 8m.; river margins, wet places.

Bactris gasipaes (pupunha, peach palm) – Brazil, Colombia, to Central America; pinnate, clumping; 18 m.; moisture loving

Bactris glaucescens – Brazil, Paraguay; pinnate; clumping; 4m.; along margins of rivers/streams or wet places liable to seasonally inundations.

Bactris major – Central and South American rainforest; pinnate; clumping; 8 m.; open areas but always near groundwater.

Bactris maraja – Southern (from Bolivia) to Central America, pinnate; clumping; mid-sized; usually on noninundated soil, occasionally wet areas.

Bactris militaris – Costa Rica (atlantic coast); pinnate; clumping; 5m.; low-lying swampy areas

Bactris pliniana – Guianas, Perϊ, Brazil; pinnate; clumping; 3m. very spiny; inundated areas

Bactris riparia – Amazon rainforest, blackwater swamps seasonally inundated; pinnate; clumping; 10m.

Bactris setosa – Eastern Brazil; pinnate, clumping; 6m.; wet areas

Calamus australis (lawyer cane) – Australia; pinnate; vining, clumping.

Calamus palustris – Southern China, Malaysia;

Calyptronoma plumeriana – Cuba, Dominicana; pinnate; solitary; 10m.; wet places.

Calyptronoma occidentalis – Jamaica; pinnate, solitary; 12m.; waterlogged places near streams margins

Calyptronoma rivalis – Dominicana, P. Rico, Haiti; pinnate; solitary; 15m.; wet areas near streams

Chamaedorea amabilis – C.Rica, Panamα; leaves simple; solitary; 1-2 m. x 1cm.; very ornamental; moisture loving

Chamaedorea cataractarum  – Mexico; pinnate; acaulescent (stemless), clumping; leaves to 2 m.                                   RHEOPHYTE

Chamaedorea pausiflora – Western Amazon; leaves simple or rarely pinnate; 0.5-2m. x 2cm.; inundated or non inundated areas.

Chamaedorea seifrizii – Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras; pinnate; clumping; 3m.; often in areas liable to inundation.

Chelyocarpus chuco – Brazil-Bolivia border, palmate, solitary or clumping, 5-12 m; swampy areas

Chelyocarpus repens – Perϊ, Amazon, palmate, solitary; leaning or creeping; 1m.; abundant in noninundated soils but also in inundated soils.

Chelyocarpus ulei (xila [Brazil]) – Colombia, Ecuador, Perϊ & Brazilian Amazon; palmate; solitary; 1-8 m.; Inundated or noninundated areas.

Copernicia alba  (caranday palm) – Paraguay, Argentina, southern Brazil; palmate; solitary; 20 m.; seasonally inundated areas. Flooding is followed by drying out.

Copernicia tectorum  (palma llanera) – Venezuela, Caribbean; palmate; solitary; 10-15m.; seasonally inundated savanna areas.

Cyrtostachys renda  (sealing wax palm) – Southeast Asia; pinnate; clumping; 10 m.; swamp areas.

Desmoncus mitis – Western amazon region; pinnate; clumping; climbing stems 0,5-1cm x 10m. long.; inundated or noninundated areas.

Desmoncus orthacanthos – Tropical America; unusual elliptical leaved climbing palm with very spiny stems and leaves (1,5-2cm x 10m.); river margins.

Dypsis aquatilis – Madagascar; pinnate, trunk absent.                                                                                              HYDROPHYTE

Dypsis crinita – Madagascar; pinnate; clumping; 4-15 m.                                                                      POSSIBLE RHEOPHYTE

Dypsis paludosa – Madagascar; pinnate; clumping; 4–6 m; grows in peat swamps on white sand.

Dypsis rivularis (sari palm) – Madagascar; pinnate; solitary; 6 m.; river margins.

Elaeis guineensis (african oil palm) – tropical Africa; pinnate; solitary; 15 m.

Elaeis oleifera – Central America, Colombia, Perϊ, Ecuador, Brazil, Surinam; pinnate; creeping at baseand becoming erect at the top; 6m.; wet areas along streams or rivers.

Eleiodoxa conferta – Borneo, Malaysia, Thailand; peat swamp forest

Euterpe longibracteata – Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana; pinnate; solitary; 20m.; inundated or noninundated areas.

Euterpe oleracea (assai palm, acai palm) – Brazil; pinnate; clumping; 25 m.; wet areas. Often near the sea in tidal areas. River margins.

Euterpe precatoria – Paraguay and Ecuador, flood plain forest; pinnate; solitary; 15-20 m.; margin of rivers in seasonally inundated areas.

Geonoma baculifera – Brazil, Venezuela, Guianas; pinnate; clumping, forming large colonies; 4m.; swampy areas.

Geonoma brevispatha – Brazil, Perϊ, Bolivia, Paraguay; pinnate; clumping; 4m.; swampy areas of stream edges                                                                                                                                                                                    POSSIBLE RHEOPHYTE

Geonoma brongniartii – Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Perϊ; pinnate; solitary; 1m.; well drained or seasonally inundated areas.

Geonoma camana – Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Perϊ; pinnate, solitary; 2m. x 4cm.; well drained or swampy areas.

Geonoma deversa – Tropical America, pinnate; solitary; 3 m.; well drained soils, rarely in seasonally inundated areas.

Geonoma interrupta – Bolivia, Brazil, Perϊ, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guianas, Central America; pinnate; solitary or clustered; 7m.; well or poorly drained soils.

Geonoma laxiflora – Bolivia, Perϊ, Brazil, Colombia; stems clustered, bamboo-like, ussually forming large colonies; leaves simple; 2-5m.; understory of seasonally inundated rain forest, along streams/rivers

Geonoma linearis – Ecuador, Colombia; pinnate; solitary or clustered forming large colonies; 3m.                                     RHEOPHYTE

Geonoma macrostachys var. acaulis – Western amazon region; pinnate; acaulescent (stemless), solitary; 1m.; seasonally inundated areas.

Geonoma macrostachys var. poiteauana – Eastern amazon region; pinnate; 1m.; inundated forests.

Geonoma mαxima – Brazil, Bolivia, Perϊ, Ecuador, Colombia, Guiana; clumping; blade very variable; 6m.; occasionally inundated areas.

Geonoma oldemanii – French Guiana, Brazil; solitary or clumping; leaves simple; 2m.; inundated or noninundated areas

Geonoma schottiana – Brazil, Ecuador; pinnate; solitary; 5 m.; deep shade near little streams, sometimes in streaming water

Hydriastele rheophytica – New Guinea ; clumping,; 2-3 m.; edges of streams                                                      RHEOPHYTE

Iriartella setigera – (Macanilla [Ven]); Amazon rainforest Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Guyana; clustering; palmate; 2-12m.; occasionallly in inundated areas.

Itaya amicorum – (xila [Bra], Miraρa [Col]); palmate, solitary 4m.; wet areas along rivers or noninundated areas.

Kerriodoxa elegans (white elephant palm) – Thailand; palmate; solitary, acaulescent; leaves to 3 m.

Korthalsia rigida – Thailand, Philippines

Leopoldinia major (Morichita [Ven]); Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil; pinnate; clumping; 8m.; margins blackwater streams/rivers

Leopoldinia piassaba – Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil; pinnate; solitary; 10m.; sandy soils near blackwater streams/rivers

Leopoldinia pulchra (piassaba palm) – Amazonian Brazil; pinnate; solitary; 3-5 m.; sandy beaches of blackwater streams/rivers.

Lepidocaryum tenue var. casiquiarense – Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil; palmate/fan form; solitary; 3 m.; well drained or inundated soils.

Licuala paludosa (swamp fan palm) – Southeast Asia; palmate; solitary or clumping; 4 m.

Licuala ramsayi (Australian fan palm) – Northeastern Queensland, Australia; palmate; solitary; 15 m; one of the most cold-tolerant licualas.

Licuala spinosa (mangrove fan palm, spiny licuala palm) – Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo; palmate; clumping; 3-4 m.

Manicaria saccifera (mancaria palm, troolie palm) – Central America, northern South America, Caribbean; leaves entire or partially pinnate; clumping; + 6 m.; inundated areas near the sea but also in inundated areas inland in lowland forest

Mauritia flexuosa (moriche palm) – Ecuador, northern South America, Trinidad; palmate; solitary; 25 m.; usually permanently swampy areas.

Mauritiella aculeata – Colombia, Venezuela, Brasil; Palmate; clumping, with spiny stems; along inundated margins of blackwater streams/rivers.

Mauritiella armata (ghost palm) – Amazon black water swamps; palmate; clumping, with spiny stems; 15 m.; river margins.

Mauritiella macroclada, (Quitasol palm) – Colombia, Eastern Andes, palmate; seasonally or permanently inundated areas.

Metroxylon sagu (sago palm) – Southeast Asia, South Pacific; pinnate; clumping; 10 m.

Metroxylon warburgii – South Pacific; pinnate; clumping; 10 m.

Nypa fruticans (mangrove palm) – Southeast Asia to Australia, Trinidad; pinnate; clumping, acaulescent (stemless); leaves to 5 m.; also grows in freshwater.                                                                                                                                         HYDROPHYTE

Oenocarpus bataua (milpesos palm) – Tropical South America; pinnate; solitary; 15 m.; inundated or noninundated soils.

Oncosperma tigillarium (nibung palm) – Sumatra, Borneo, Java, peninsular Malaysia; pinnate; clumping; 15 m.

Phoenix paludosa (mangrove date palm) – India, Southeast Asia; pinnate; clumping; 5-7 m.; swampy or dry places.

Phoenix reclinata (senegal date palm) – Africa; pinnate; clumping; 5-7 m.

Phoenix roebelenii – Laos (Mekong river); pinnate, clumping, 3 m. ; swampy or dry places

Pholidocarpus majadum – Borneo; solitary; flat ground, impeded drainage, near still fresh water

Pholidostachys kalbreyeri – Panamα, Colombia; pinnate; solitary; 3m.; wet areas near streams or in swamps

Phytelephas aecuatorialis – Ecuador; pinnate; solitary; 15 m.; wet lowlands, large groups along river banks.

Phytelephas tenuicaulis (ivory nut palm, tagua nut palm) – Ecuador flood plain forest; pinnate; solitary ; inundated places near streams/rivers.

Pinanga auriculata – Myanmar to Borneo

Pinanga chaiana – Borneo; pinnate; periodically flooded, near running fresh water

Pinanga lepidota – Borneo; pinnate; shrub; flat ground, impeded drainage near still fresh water

Pinanga limosa – Malysia; pinnate; less than 1 m.

Pinanga mooreana – Borneo; pinnate; periodically flooded, waterfall spray zone, near fresh water running

Pinanga palustris – Malaysia; pinnate

Pinanga pectinata – Malaysia; pinnate; 5m.; river banks, periodically inundated places.

Pinanga polymorpha – Malaysia; pinnate; 3m.; moisture loving.

Pinanga ridleyana – Borneo; flat ground, periodically flooded

Pinanga rivularis – Borneo; pinnate, clumping, 1 m.                                                                                                     RHEOPHYTE

Pinanga simpicifrons – Thailand; pinnate; less than 1 m.; periodically flooded valley bottoms

Pinanga subintegra var. beccariana – Malaysia, Sumatra                                                                    POSSIBLE RHEOPHYTE

Pinanga tenella var. tenella –Borneo; pinnate, clumping 2 m.                                                                                                    RHEOPHYTE

Pinanga tenella var. tenuissima –Borneo; pinnate; clumping 1,5 m.

Prestoea decurrens – Nicaragua, C. Rica, Panamα, Colombia, Ecuador; pinnate; clumping (stems green); 7 m. x 12 cm.; common along streams/rivers.

Prestoea schultzeana (Palma de pantano [Ecu]) – Colombia, Ecuador, Perϊ; pinnate; clumping; 5m. ; flat areas liable to inundation, usually near streams.

Pritchardia martii (koolau range pritchardia, Lo'ulu hiwa) – Hawaii; palmate; solitary; 5 m.

Raphia australis (kofi palm) – southern Africa; pinnate; clumping; 10 m.

Raphia farinifera (raffia palm) – eastern and central Africa; pinnate; clumping; 15 m.; leaves to 18-20 m.

Raphia taedigera – Venezuela, Caribbean, Nigeria, Cameroon; pinnate; solitary; 10 m.;                                   HYDROPHYTE

Ravenea musicalis – Madagascar; pinnate; short, swollen trunk; solitary; 4-8 m.                                                                  RHEOPHYTE

Ravenea rivularis (majesty palm) – Madagascar; pinnate; short, swollen trunk; solitary; 5-20 m.; usually grows on river-banks, but will happily grow in shallow water (as long as it does not move too fast!). A beautiful and fast-growing tree, becoming quite popular as an horticultural subject.

Rhapidophyllum hystrix (needle palm) – Southeastern USA; palmate; acaulescent (stemless), clumping, spiny; 1m. ; sporadically occuring on the coastal plain wet areas or swamp forests, usually moist soils; hardy –20Ί C

Rhapis excelsa (lady palm) – China; palmate; clumping; 3-4 m.

Rhapis humilis (slender lady palm) – Southern China; palmate; clumping; 6 m.

Roystonea dunlapiana  (Yagua [Hon, Nic ]) – Caribbean coast, Mex, Hon, Nic; pinnate; solitary; 20m. ; inundated areas, tidal estuaries or mangrove swamps.

Roystonea oleracea – Lesser Antilles, Venezuela, Colombia; pinnate; solitary (whitish gray); 40 m.; wet areas, savannas liable to inundation.

Roystonea princeps – Jamaica; pinnate; solitary (whitish gray); 20 m.; wet areas.

Roystonea regia (royal palm) – Cuba, southern Florida; pinnate; solitary; 20 m.; wet places.

Sabal bermudana Bermuda – solitary, palmate, 7m. ; dry and marshy habitats.

Sabal minor (dwarf or swamp palmetto) – southeastern USA; palmate; acaulescent (stemless), solitary; leaves to 1.5 m.; along creeks and rivers, usually found in wetlands, not subject to annual floodings

Sabal palmetto (sabal palm, cabbage palm) – southeastern USA; palmate; solitary; 15 m. ; tidal flats, river banks, seasonally inundated savannas.

Salacca magnifica – Borneo; pinnate; clumping, acaulescent (stemless); leaves to 5 m.

Salacca wallichiana (salak) – Indonesia; pinnate; clustering; 5 m.

Salacca zalacca (snake palm, salak) – Indonesia, Thailand; Java; Sumatra; pinnate; clustering; acaulescent 5 m.

Serenoa repens (saw palmetto) – Southeastern USA; palmate; clumping, usually prostrate; trunks to 10 m; moisture to wet soil.

Syagrus romanzoffiana (queen palm) – Argentina, Peru, southeastern Brazil; pinnate; solitary; 15 m; subtropical and temperate zones ; variety of habitats: seasonally dry forest to swampy areas.

Wettinia augusta (Ponilla) –  Perϊ, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia; pinnate, clumping; 12m. ; occasionally inundated areas.

Wettinia drudei (pachuba [Col]) –  Perϊ, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil; pinnate, clumping; 6m. ; inundated or noninundated areas.

Wettinia radiata (Palma sapa [Col]) – Panamα, Colombia; pinnate; solitary; 9m. ; abundant in inundated areas.

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