Dypsis pembana

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
pembana (pehm-BAH-nah)
Photo by Ken Johnson
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
pembana (pehm-BAH-nah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Mpapindi, less often Mpopo wa mwitu (Swahili).

Habitat and Distribution

Dypsis pembana is endemic to Tanzania: Pemba Island. Moist lowland
Clayton York's Garden, Utopia Palms & Cycads, Queensland, Australia. Photo by Wal.
forest, littoral forest; alt. 1-50 m.


Clustering palm. STEMS 4-12 m high, 6-15 cm in diam.; internodes to 24 cm long, pale brown to green, strongly ringed with leafscars. LEAVES about 10 in the crown, arching, arranged in ± 3 ranks; sheath 50-60 cm long, waxy green, sparsely tomentose when young; rachis to m long, in mid-leaf to 1.5 cm wide; leaflets 40-50 on each side of the rachis, regular, arching, the leaflets on opposite sides of the rachis at an angle of about 90° with each other, dark green adaxially, abaxially waxy, the proximal 70-76 x 1.3-2.8 cm, median 46-74 x 3-3.9 cm (interval 4-5 cm), distal 14-45 x 1.4-2.4 cm, main vein 1, with 2 marginal veins, midrib prominent adaxially, apices acuminate or attenuate, abaxially with a dense cover of minute waxy scales, with small shining brown scales on all the veins, with one or a few irregularly spaced large bifid ramenta with brown centres and laciniate margins on the midrib. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, branched to 3-4 orders with spreading branches, lengthening in fruit by some 40%; peduncle c. 60 cm long, stout, ± flattened, densely reddish tomen-tose, distally curving through 90°; prophyll > 30 cm, about 5 cm wide, glabrous, dull waxy; peduncular bract 30-55 cm long, splitting over its length, rustypubescent or glabrous and waxy, beaked for 2-3 cm, deciduous; first order branches slightly reddish-pubescent but glabrescent, with up to 15 second order branches; rachillae glabrous, 11-19 cm long, 1-2 mm in diam.; triads distant; rachilla bract 0.5-0.7 mm, obtuse to acute. STAMINATE FLOWERS only known from buds, with sepals 1.3-1.6 x 1.4-1.8 mm, concave, proximally gibbous, keeled, ciliolate; petals 2.3- x 1.5-1.8 mm; stamens 6, slightly biseriate, offset 0.2 mm, the filaments 1.4-1.5 mm and thin-cylindrical, the anthers 1.3-1.5 x 0.4-0.7 mm; pistillode columnar, 1.8-2.8 x 0.6 mm. PISTILLATE FLOWERS unknown at anthesis, the petals in fruit 2-2.6 mm long. FRUIT dark red, oblong-ovoid, 12-15 x 5-7 mm; endocarp fibrous, the fibres anastomosing. SEED 10.5-11 x 5-5.5 mm; endosperm homogeneous. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

A curious 'outlier' of the genus, only known from Pemba Island, just off the African mainland, from which it takes its name. Pemba has several more links with Madagascar: there is the fruit bat Pteropus voeltzkowi, with the other members of its genus in Madagascar, the Comoro Islands and through to southeast Asia and the Pacific; and the Aroid Typhonodorum lindleyanum occurs in Pemba, Zanzibar/Unguja and Madagascar. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Vulnerable. Numbers are estimated at 3000, but these are all within a single forest. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Uses: HB has seen trunks of this species used to construct a football-goal near Ngezi forest; no other uses known. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb

D. pembana is known only from a single forest on Pemba, an island just off mainland Africa belonging to Tanzania. A clumping species, its stems vary from 13 to 39 ft. high and from 2 to 6 in. in diameter, and, like those of D. cabadae, bear strongly-defined leaf scars. Native to moist lowland habitat, it appreciates ample irrigation in cultivation. With the advantage of warm winters in Florida for the past five years, D. pembana has performed well at least as far north as inland Sarasota County, and it may well be that its cold tolerance is greater than initially presumed. Its IUCN Red List conservation status is Vulnerable, with a stable population trend. (fairchildgarden.org)

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

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

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, 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).

Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995. The Palms of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and The International Palm Society.
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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