Tomlinson has suggested (1961) that the palm-collector is a somewhat quixotic character. This statement is illustrated by a quotation from Bailey: “to procure material of the great palms is like setting forth to collect a windmill except that one does not have the advantage of steps built on the derrick”. In general, indeed, palms are unattractive to collect and to handle in the herbarium. The tribe of the Geonomoid palms, however, represents a rather pleasant exception being a group of unarmed and mostly rather small plants with often arundinaceous stems up to a few meters tall. Consequently they are more frequently collected and studied than other palms resulting in a large number of collections and publications. The first author dealing with these palms was Willdenow (1805). He established the genus Geonoma with two species based on Bredemeyer collections from Venezuela near Caracas. The next contribution to our knowledge of this group was Poitbau’s (1822) but he misinterpreted the proterandrous inflorescences as being unisexual. His genus Gynestum, including 5 species from French Guiana, was merged by Kunth (1841) into Geonoma. Contemporaneously with Poiteau and unaware of the efforts of the latter Martius (1823) published the results in Geonoma of his Brazilian itinerary.