T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Chamaedorea elegans (Parlour Palm)

Kingdom:   Plantae
(Unranked):        Angiosperms
(Unranked):        Monocots
(Unranked):        Commelinids
Order:       Arecales
Family:      Arecaceae
Subfamily: Arecoideae
Tribe:        Hyophorbeae
Genus:      Chamaedorea
Species:     C. elegans
Binomial name: Chamaedorea elegans
Synonyms: Parlour Palm, Collinia elegans, Neanthe Bella, .

Chamaedorea elegans a small palm tree native to the dense rainforests in Southern Mexico and Guatemala.
It grows to 2–3 m tall palm with a spread of 1m.  It has a slender, cane-like stem.
It is very slow growing and tolerats low levels of humidity and light, though it prefers medium to high humidity and bright indirect light.
The lanceolate, green, alternate leaves are up to 20cm long.
C. elegans flowers periodically throughout the year. The white flowers produce a 1.3cm round fleshy black fruit.

The inflorescences have a slightly bitter taste, and are considered a delicacy in El Salvador and Guatemala. They are usually eaten in salads, or covered in egg batter and fried. The latter dish is called "rellenos de pacaya", and is often served with tomato sauce, like chilies rellenos.
This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Photographed at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.

The flower stalk.

The palms trunk.