Chamaedorea metallica (or “Metallic Palm”) is endemic in Southern Mexico, occurring naturally in the understory of dense, moist, humus-rich soil in forests along the Atlantic slope and lowland rainforests of the area. The metallic palm will also often grows in alkaline limestone soils up to 2,000 feet above sea level.
The popular and much loved Metallic Palm is the only palm we know that has foliage with a dark metallic blue green sheen -similar to the color of gunmetal. The metallic luster shows up particularly well when the leaves are moist. This single stemmed palm has leaves in the shape of a chalice or fish’s tail being simple, undivided and notched at the tip. Every once in a while, they will produce flowers. Though small, they are often brightly colored.
There are six Chamaedorea metallica palms thriving in the Merwin Palm Forest, both male and female.
The genus Chamaedorea is endemic to sub-tropical forests of the Americas and is comprised of roughly 80 species. They are understory palms that are most at home under the deep shade of the canopy. Most species are generally pretty small, rarely growing over 10 feet. The genus name Chamaedorea comes from the Greek words that mean ‘near-the-ground gifts’, and refers to the easy-to-reach fruits (pronounce it “kam-ah-DOOR-e-ah”).
Want to “virtually explore” the Merwin Palm Collection? Search through our archive of Palm Facts of the Week, featuring palms hand-planted by W.S Merwin. To search through the Online Merwin Palm Database, visit this link.
If you’re inspired to help The Merwin Conservancy preserve and care for the world-renowned Merwin Palm Collection into the future, please consider making a tax-deductible donation.
Featured photos are by Ed Vaile and found on the Palmpedia website.