Dypsis acaulis

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
acaulis (ah-KOW-liss)
Ibetra, Masoala, Madagascar, photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
acaulis (ah-KOW-liss)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Dypsis acaulis is endemic to Northeast Madagascar, Masoala Peninsula.
Ibetra, Masoala, Madagascar, photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Lowland rain forest; alt. 40 m.


Acaulescent, forest undergrowth palm. STEM probably solitary, procumbent, 5 cm long, about 18 mm in diam., circular in cross section, drying pale buff; roots cylindrical, about 3 mm in diam. at insertion. LEAVES entire, bifid; sheath open to the base, 6 x 3 cm (opened out at the base), pale brown covered with reddish brown tomentum and dark brown punctiform scales; petiole about 26 x 0.4 cm, triangular in cross section, adaxially shallowly channelled, the margins quite sharp, ± glabrescent, pale buff or with sparse reddish brown tomentum; costa of leaf 18 cm long, outer leaf margins 45 cm long, inner margins about 28 cm, the two lobes 4.5-5.5 cm wide, the tips irregularly dentate or subpraemorse; lamina with about 8-9 major adaxial folds, adaxial surface drying grey, transverse veinlets conspicuous but short, abaxially covered in dense grey indumentum and red-brown punctiform scales. INFLORESCENCE spicate to about 22 cm; peduncle about 13 cm, about 2 mm in diam.; prophyll tightly tubular, 9 x 0.3 cm; peduncular bract about 15 x 0.3 cm, both covered in scattered brown lacerate scales; spike to 9 x 0.3-0.4 cm, cylindrical, densely covered in thick red-brown tomentum entirely obscuring bracts and flowers, only very faintly showing impressions of bracts; bracts scarcely 1 mm high forming pits. STAMINATE FLOWERS 0.7 mm high; sepals 3, about 0.25 mm, margins ciliate, chaffy, buff-coloured; petals 3, dark, about 0.7 x 0.3 mm, longitudinally striate; stamens 3, antepetalous, anthers didymous, staminodes 3, dentiform, between the fertile stamens; pistillode minute, pyramidal. FRUIT (lost), said to be bright red, fusiform, 20 x 6 mm. Known only from material with very young staminate flower buds. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

A very distinctive stemless palm, known only from a single herbarium specimen collected by Perrier de la Bâthie on the Masoala Peninsula. This is one of the very few palms in Madagascar that has whitish undersides to the leaves. This combined with the habit, the undivided blade and the spicate inflorescence should make it easy to identify. Despite this, it has not been refound. The species name (Latin for stemless) refers to the habit of this palm. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Was presumed extinct. Had not collected for more than eighty years.

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. 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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