Borassus sambiranensis

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Borassus (BOR-rahs-suhs) sambiranensis
689 020l.JPG
Madagascar. Photo by Dr. G.E. Schatz.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Borassus (BOR-rahs-suhs)
Species: sambiranensis
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Sambirano Palmyra Palm

Habitat and Distribution

Only a few old individuals of Borassus sambiranensis, this majestic tree survive in their native habitat,
"Borassus sambiranensis - Saziley - Mayotte island" "Photo by Olivier Reilhes".
the Sambirano area, in northern Madagascar. Locality: "Dans le Sambirano et dans l'Ifasy"

This majestic species is endemic to the lowland alluvial plains of north-west Madagascar. It has been poorly collected. Fifteen mature individuals have been found in Sambirano. Although seedlings exist there are no young trees.

"It also exists in the south of Mayotte island, in the Saziley region." (Olivier Reilhes), edric.


Large palm tree. Stems erect, up to 20 m, with a distinct swelling above the middle. Leaves crowded on top of the stem, fan-shaped, blue-green up to 4 m including the petiole. Petiole armed with recurved thorns. Flowers in large branched sprays, dioecious, on separate trees, female flowers larger than male. Fruit large, 12-18 cm in diameter, subspherical, orange-brown. The seeds are about the size of coconuts and produce a very large sinker when they germinate. Editing by edric.


They should be sprouted in very tall containers or planted in their permanent position in the garden. Borassus sambiranensis prefers a position in full sun and does best in seasonally dry subtropical and tropical climates.

Comments and Curiosities

"This variety is from northern parts of Madagascar (Sabirano) region. It has fan shaped leaves like the bismackias , but could be larger. Very few are found in the wild , due to deforestation and now of over-harvesting. Truncks are as big and imposing as the roystoneas, also have a slightly spindle form in the upper parts of old or mature specimen. Seeds germinate with a long sinker , so need to sow in a very deep and large pot or sow it directly to it's permanent spot. A very rare and difficult palm to find, due to it's rareness and of the size of the seeds." (Timrann), edric.

Conservation: This palm may have to rely entirely on cultivation for survival in the future unless the factors endangering its reproduction in the wild, such as bush fires, can be brought under control. IUCN threat status: Endangered (EN)

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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