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Costa Rica - native palms

31 posts in this topic

Starting this topic takes a little guts - because some of my pics are not the best. I invite others to post better pics of these species (they might even end up in my library). Andrew Henderson was with our group a couple of days, and helped with identification.

Here's Astrogyne martiana and a closeup of a new, developing multi-branched inflorescence:

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I thought I had a good photo of a large Astrocaryum alatum, but my camera must have malfunctioned. Here is a juvenile:

post-279-1211691247_thumb.jpg

MM

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Here are two of Calyptrogyne ghiesbreghtiana:

post-279-1211691676_thumb.jpgpost-279-1211691691_thumb.jpg

MM

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The second C. ghies..... above shows two of the spicate inflorescences that separate the genus from Asterogyne. Here's another Astrocaryum alatum, rather small:

post-279-1211691930_thumb.jpg

MM

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Here are a couple of my favorite shots. Can always post more if anyone is interested...

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post-1659-1211698584_thumb.jpg

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Mike, I love the Geonoma photo. Good job.

Robert

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Good pic of the deversa leaf. Now, here are some Bactris spp.

These three are of B. coloradonis, a clustering species. First, a group seen along the forest trail:

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Now, this fascinating photograph of another cluster seen from the aerial tram car.

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Seen from the trail, these palms might be considered unimpressive. But from above, they seem to open to the sun like sea anemones on the reef. This pic, BTW, is "borrowed" from BGL's earlier posting.

Finally, the impressive spines on a stem of this species:

post-279-1211744292_thumb.jpg

MM

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Some more Bactris spp. This is the only pic I could get of B. gracilior:

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Here is B. hondurensis (furry leaf undersides):

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And this is B. maraja:

post-279-1211744709_thumb.jpg

MM

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Mike, super pics...post more if you've gottem!

Rusty

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Responding to popular demand, here are some more. Unfortunately, several Chamaedoreas were not identified. Of the two that were, here is C. deckeriana in a slightly blurry pic:

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And the well-known C. tepelijote in another not-so-great pic:

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Here is a pic of the aerial roots (correct term?) of C. tepelijote:

post-279-1211779620_thumb.jpg

MM

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Working our way to Geonoma, here are three more. First, Cryosophila warscewiczii:

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Andrew Henderson used the species name albida, but this is synonymous with warscewiczii. "Albida" is easier to spell, though. Now, here is Desmoncus costaricensis:

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Euterpe precatoreas were common and I didn't photograph one, but here is a fascinating pic of the aerial roots they developed in the forest environment:

post-279-1211780047_thumb.jpg

MM

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Well, its time to do Geonoma. Here's G. congesta, which we usually found as large clumps of relatively tall stems within the forest:

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And here's G. ferruginea:

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mm

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Now, here's three views of G. cuneata:

post-279-1211872334_thumb.jpgpost-279-1211872350_thumb.jpgpost-279-1211872362_thumb.jpg

The last one, though a little blurry, shows the long brownish-purple spicate inflorescence that cuneata produces.

MM

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Here are a couple of views of G. interrupta, a rather tall, robust forest dweller with a red or purplish-red branched inflorescence that developes below the leaves, as shown in the second of these shots:

post-279-1211872718_thumb.jpgpost-279-1211872738_thumb.jpg

MM

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Forgot to mention that the second pic above was not actually ID'd by Andrew Henderson, but it lookds like a good pick. G. undata is similar to G. interrupta, but occurs at a higher elevation and has different size fruits. Now, here is a palm Andrew ID'd as G. pinnatafrons:

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Reading his field guide, pinnatafrons is an old name synonymous with interrupta, so this is probably just a juvenile interrupta. There is also a Chamaedorea pinnatafrons, but it is very different from this palm.

At the Herrera Farms, we saw a similar Geonoma (shown below). A Spanish gentleman ID'd it as G. undata. A study of fruits collected from this tree showed them to be intermediate in size and shape between the descriptions of interrupta and undata. Since these palms were cultivated, the elevation provides no information.

post-279-1211873336_thumb.jpg

MM

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Here are two shots of different varieties of Hyospathe elegans:

post-279-1211873821_thumb.jpgpost-279-1211873835_thumb.jpg

The first is the variety I have more commonly seen in CR and a previous trip to the Amazon, with coarsely-divided leaf in three or more segments. The second is the variety described by Andrew as ssp. costaricensis. This palm, BTW, is the same one in the pic posted earlier by fellow bus #1 rider and photo documenter extraordinaire Mike Locke.

MM

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Great photos. Hmmmmm.....Hyospathe elegans is one that I missed.

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Ray's appreciation propels me forward. Here are two shots of Iriartea deltoidea. The first is a juvenile in the forest, and the second is a giantemerged above the canopy as seen from the tram car:

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Andrew Henderson's lesson about Iriartea and Socratea is that vertically (upward) oriented leaflets of Iriartea are straight, whereas those of Socratea droop.

MM

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A fascinating forest dweller was Neonicholsonia watsonii. Here are two shots of the same specimen:

post-279-1211954677_thumb.jpgpost-279-1211954658_thumb.jpg

The second, closer shot shows, if one looks closely, the long brown spicate inflorescence that characterizes this species. This species is considered to be closely related to the Chamadoreas.

MM

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Another forest dweller was Pholidostachys pulchra:

post-279-1211954993_thumb.jpgpost-279-1211955014_thumb.jpg

Not really apparent in these photos is the brownish-maroon coloration of the petioles which is one of the quick ways to ID this species in the forest.

MM

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And here are a couple of shots of Prestoea decurrens. These palms were not easy to photograph because they tended to have long stems with relatively horizontal crowns that were hidden in the trees. The typical white Prestoea inflorescence (maybe drooping a little more here than is usual) is shown in the first photo. The second photo is a leaf detail showing, if one studies it carefully, the long, pointed leaflet tips that look almost like spines:

post-279-1211955433_thumb.jpgpost-279-1211955453_thumb.jpg

MM

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Mike,

Your pictures of Geonomas are really fantastic :blink::mrlooney:

Thank you for sharing them.

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Next, here is a pic of a plant in a cultivated setting that a park official at Braulio Carillo NP said was Reinhardtia gracilis:

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Back in the forest, I can offer a picture of the root system of Socratea. (I missed getting a pic of a mature Socratea.) The instruction from Andrew Henderson was that the root system of Socratea was sparse and easy to see through, but the root system of Iriartea (no photo available from me) was very dense and formed a mass that could not be seen through. The Socratea roots:

post-279-1212042937_thumb.jpg

MM

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One of the climax trees of the forest at Braulio Carillo NP was Welfia regia. It's tough getting pictures of large palms in the forest, but here are some attempts. The first is a massive specimen in the forest:

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Here is a pic of a "seedling":

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Apparently Welfias keep getting red new leaves at the "seedling" stage:

post-279-1212043252_thumb.jpg

MM

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Finally, an interesting cycad was found in Braulio Carillo NP:

post-279-1212044028_thumb.jpg

This is one of the pleated-leaf Zamias. I thought it might be Z. neurophyllidia rather than Z. skinnerii, but an inquiry to the cycad list brought the expert-level response that "much work still needs to be done on the pleated-leaf Zamias in Costa Rica". Apparently, most of the work done to date on this confusing and variable family has been in Panama. Here is another plant with what loooks like a female cone:

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This concludes my presentation of Costa Rica indigenous/endemic palms pictures. As said before, I invite anyone else to join in. I know that there are others who have better pics than mine, or who got pics of ones that I missed. Let's see them! They don't have to be great. Just images that show what no one else has yet shown.

MM

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Hi Mike

Thanks for the great coverage of the Palms of Costa Rica.

Regards

Clayton

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The variety of palm species is staggering, just one right after another. For those of us still learning it's mind bending. Pretty exciting stuff seeing all the palms in habitat, looking forward to the next biennial.

Tim

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Mike, thanks for posting your pics! I really enjoyed them although I can't find much info on B. coloradonis. There are some similar palms growing here on the property that I have not been able to identify. I was looking it up on the internet to find more pictures but there is not much out there.

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Jeff,

Andrew Henderson identified this numerous times on our Braulio Carillo walk, but in the first several ocasions, this was followed by an emphatic "I think". B. coloradonis is included in his field guide, but there it is described as solitary or clustering and having leaflets "irregularly arranged and spreading in different planes". The ones I imaged have the leaflets regularly arranged and spreading in the same plane and were always in clusters. This fits Andrew's description of Bactris major, which is also found in Costa Rica. B. coloradonis leaflets are supposed to usually have prominent cross veins, but I don't see this in my pictures. So maybe it is just Bactris major?

MM

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Jeff,

Andrew Henderson identified this numerous times on our Braulio Carillo walk, but in the first several ocasions, this was followed by an emphatic "I think". B. coloradonis is included in his field guide, but there it is described as solitary or clustering and having leaflets "irregularly arranged and spreading in different planes". The ones I imaged have the leaflets regularly arranged and spreading in the same plane and were always in clusters. This fits Andrew's description of Bactris major, which is also found in Costa Rica. B. coloradonis leaflets are supposed to usually have prominent cross veins, but I don't see this in my pictures. So maybe it is just Bactris major?

MM

Mike, I think it is B major then because the leaflets are on one plane. Thanks for the info!

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Jeff, received a response from Andrew Henderson on this issue, to wit: "Bactris major usually grows in dryer areas, often at low elevations. If you look at the bases of the leaves you can see that the leaflets are slightly irregularly arranged, not regularly as in B. major. Having said all that, it is difficult to identify any Bactris just from a photo, but I think these are probably B. coloradonis."

Looking at the overhead photo, I can observe some leaflet grouping, and some leaflets in two planes.

However, your palms could be the true Bactris major.

MM

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Thanks again Mike for the info! I will have to take some pictures of the palms in question and post the pics.

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