Greek chamai – on the ground, dorea – gift, apparently referring to their small stature.
Small spineless solitary or clustering palms. Trunks absent or very slender and cane-like, prominently ringed. Crownshafts absent. Leaves simple (cleft) or feather-shaped, often with the apical leaflets united. Leaf stalks short to long, spineless. Leaf sheath tubular. Flowers unisexual, the sexes on separate plants. Inflorescences panicles or spikes arising among the leaves, the male and female inflorescences often very different. Fruit small, often colourful, generally red or black and 1-seeded. [Nunnezharia Ruiz & Pavon, Eleutheropetalum Oerst.].
A complex genus of small palms ranging from true dwarf palms which lack a trunk to slender solitary or clustering species. One is a true climber. All species grow in wet sheltered forests, some at high altitudes.They are very popular in cultivation and new species are continually being trialled. Most species make excellent container plants.
Fresh seeds germinate readily. The fruit flesh contains caustic crystals. Clustering species can be divided.
Widely grown as ornamentals with many species successfully used indoors. The unopened male inflorescences on some species are harvested and cooked as a vegetable (termed pacaya).
Dwarf to small palms, either trunkless or with slender cane-like stems, feather-shaped or undivided leaves and small colourful fruit.
About 100 species from Mexico, Central & South America.
Source: (2005). Arecaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.