Hist. nat. palm. 2: 1 (1823)

Hyospathe elegans Mart.

Small, monoecious palms. Stems clustered, short or tall. Leaves pinnately ribbed, simple or irregularly divided, rarely almost regularly divided; sheath closed; pinnae falcate to sigmoid, usually of markedly uneven size, held in one plane. Inflorescence infrafoliar, pink or red, horizontal to erect, with a straight axis bearing numerous, stiff branches. Flowers unisexual, inserted in groups of one female and two males, or distally on the inflorescence branched in pairs of male flowers. Male flowers white, briefly pedicellate, with 3 sepals, 3 petals, 6 stamens, and small pistillode. Female flowers with 3 sepals, 3 petals, 6 staminodes, and a pseudomonomerous ovary formed by one large fertile carpel, with the style fixed at its base, and two reduced, aborting carpels. Fruit small, elongate, black, with a basal stigmatic residue.

and diversity:
A small genus of closed forest understorey palms. Two species. One is widespread, the other a narrow endemic.

Related to Euterpe and Prestoea, but different in its basally attached style, resulting in a fruit with basal stigmatic residue (lateral to sub-apical in Prestoea and Euterpe).