Hist. nat. palm. 2: 84 (1824)

Small to large, monoecious lianas, armed with needle-like spines. Stems long, slender, and flexible, usually clustered, bearing leaves for most of their length. Leaves pinnate, regularly divided, with the axis continued beyond the apical leaf segment into a short cirrhus; sheath tubular, persisting; leaf axis sometimes armed with short, recurved spines used in climbing; pinnae one-ribbed, elliptic, symmetrical around the midrib, the terminal ones usually transformed into climbing hooks. Inflorescences once branched, with one prophyll and one, usually densely spiny peduncular bract. Flowers unisexual, borne in groups of one female and two males, or distally on the branches in pairs of male flowers. Male flowers with 3 small, more or less united sepals, 3 free petals, and 6 stamens borne upon the petals. Female flowers with a cupular calyx and a tubular corolla. Fruit small to medium sized, red, elongate; endocarp bony with three germination pores slightly above the middle. Seedling leaves simple and bifid.

and diversity:
A genus of seven species distributed in lowland areas in the Amazon and Central American regions.

Desmoncus is the only genus of liana palms in the Neotropics. Inflorescences and flowers resemble those of Bactris.