The most important of the use of Chamaedorea species by the local population is the consumption of male inflorescences (pacaya). Pacaya is a popular and important vegetable, eaten raw or cooked, and sold in the markets. It is harvested before the inflorescence opens, at which stage it looks like an ear of corn. It is mostly harvested from plants of C. tepejilote, which has been cultivated for centuries, especially in Guatemala.
Pacaya PalmScientific Name: Chamaedorea tepejilote Liebm.
Size: Rapidly up to 15 feet tall (4.5 m) up to 8 feet in diameter
Min. Temperature: 28°F (-2°C)
Water Requirements: Regular water
Sun Requirements: Light shade to shade
Origin: Southern Mexico to Northern Columbia
3 to 7 leaves, with 12 to 50 leaflets,
4 feet long.
Trunk: Bamboo looking, with swollen rings,
1 to 4 inches in diameter (2.5 to 10 cm).
Flower: separate male and female plants. Yellow flowers.
Flower stalk coming from below the leaves, female flower stalks turn orange when they bear fruit..
Fruit: black with persistent petals.
up to 0.6 inch long by 0.3 inch in diameter (15 by 8 mm).
Some cultivars are clustering. It is difficult to know when you get them from a nursery, since nurseries put generally several plants in the same pot.
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