Life forms and growth strategies of Guianan palms as related to their ecology

Palm life form and species found in the main ecosystems of the 3 Guianas (savannahs, herbaceous swampy savannahs, forests) are described and listed respectively.

Stems are erect, creeping, climbing or suterranean, and palms are solitary or clustered. Leaf blades are entire, irregularly or regularly divided into pinnae which are regularly disposed in one plane or clustered or oriented in several directions from the rachis.

All these characters are considered in relation to habitat. Small, clustered palms with entires or divides leaves predominate in shady understory.

Species with creeping rhizomes are mostly found in quickly changing mediums, such as periodically flooded ecosystems, owning to their capacity to spread an to form dense clonal populations.

Erect solitary palms are particularly well adapted to fit gaps in the canopy and are therefore more frequent in disturbed forests. Most examples are illustrated.

In conclusion, it seems that palms are fairly well adapted to marginal habitats.