Chamaedorea cataractarum

Chamaedorea cataractarum
Source: Forest & Kim Starr

Chamaedorea cataractarum or cascade palm is a small elegant palm from Mexico that is very easy to grow as a houseplant.

In summer it can be placed outside, but never in direct sunlight, which would cause leaf burn.

Growth is slow and inside it does not exceed 1 m in height.

Description:

The cascade palm produces dense clumps of palms without trunk, with many suckers.

The leaves are graceful, green, pinnate, up to 1 m long, with 30-50 pinnae 30 cm long and 2.5 cm wide.

The inflorescences are male or female but they appear in the same cluster of plants. The male flowers wither after flowering, the female flowers produce fruit.

The fruits are oval, shiny, dark green and then black at maturity. They measure about 1.25 cm long and 1 cm wide.

Nomenclature:

Common names:

Cascade Palm, Cat palm, Cataract palm, Mexican hat palm

Synonyms:

Chamaedorea atrovirens, Chamaedorea flexuosa, Chamaedorea martiana, Encheila transversa, Nunnezharia cataractarum, Nunnezharia flexuosa, Nunnezharia martiana, Stachyophorbe cataractarum, Stephanostachys martiana, Vadia atrovirens, Vadia jotolana

Etymology:

Chamaedorea: from the Greek chamai (on the ground) and dorea (gift), referring to the low growing fruit that is easy to reach
Cataractarum: from the Latin cataracta (waterfall)

Origin:

Mexico

Habitat:

It grows in humid forests or near streams.



Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9-11, -4 °C

Care:

Soil:

Any soil but well drained

Exposure:

Shade, partial shade

Water:

Keep the soil moist: in its habitat it grows in very humid conditions and sometimes with feet in water

Fertilizer:

Fertilize every two weeks during growing period

Temperature:

During winter, keep at minimum 13 °C

Propagation:

From seed and by division.

Sowing instructions:

  • sow in a light and moist mix
  • 28-30 °C
  • germination: a few weeks to a few months, depending on the freshness of the seeds

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