Dypsis brevicaulis

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
brevicaulis (brehv-ih-KAH-liss)
P1010725 Dypsis brevicaulis,Sainte Luce.JPG
Sainte Luce, Madagascar. Photo by Phil Arrowsmith.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
brevicaulis (brehv-ih-KAH-liss)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary, but grows in clumps.
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Dypsis brevicaulis is endemic to Madagascar. East Coast just N of Manantenina and Manafiafy/Sainte-Luce.
Habitat, St. Luce - Photo Phil Arrowsmith.
Evergreen forest on white sand or laterite; alt. 1-700 m.


Dypsis brevicaulis grows from a 15 cm (5.9 in) long stem that is mostly below the ground. It has 5-8 erect leaves covered with reddish scales, with two small lobes at the base of each leaf and ragged edges. The leaves are deeply notched at the end, narrowly triangular in shape, and grow up to 1.5 m (4.9 ft) long. The inflorescences reach up to 40 cm (16 in) long, typically on a single stem, are covered with small hairs, and hold approximately 60-80 flower clusters each. The individual flowers are up to 3 mm (0.12 in) in diameter. Editing by edric.

Solitary (?) dwarf palm, almost acaulescent (Humbert 20671 has "suffrutex 1 m"). STEM largely underground, 5-15 cm, 0.9-2 cm in diam. LEAVES 5-8 in the crown, entire; sheath 7-11 cm long, densely covered with reddish scales but glabrescent, with 2 small auricles, almost open in outermost leaves, then with ragged margins; petiole 0-8 cm long, 2-2.5 mm in diam., adaxially flat, abaxially concave, withscattered scales; lamina narrowly triangular, 28-150 x 2.7-4.5 cm, with attenuate base, with about 4 main veins on each side, adaxially with the proximal part of the midrib scaly, abaxially with the midrib scaly, and with minute scattered scales all over, lobed for 3.5-12 cm, the lobes 1.6-2 cm wide and with rather narrow, dentate apex, the outside margin also with one or two indistinct teeth at 6-10 cm from the apex. INFLORESCENCE unbranched or rarely branched into 2 rachillae; peduncle about 13 cm; prophyll about 13 x 0.3 cm; peduncular bract not seen; rachilla 9-17 cm, about 1 mm in diam., lepidote, with 60-80 triads, these protrandrous; rachilla bract wide, concave, rounded-triangular. STAMINATE FLOWERS with keeled sepals 1.3-1.5 x 1-1.2 mm, acute, slightly gibbous; petals 2-2.2 x 1.2 mm, ovate, acute; stamens 6, didymous, biseriate, the antepetalous inserted 0.2-0.5 mm higher up, filaments 0.8-0.9 x 0.3 mm, anthers about 0.4 x 0.6 mm; pistillode 0.8 x 0.5 mm, club-shaped. PISTILLATE FLOWERS with cucullate sepals; petals ovate, staminodes 6, very short at the base of an oblong ovary, this trigonous, with connivent stigmas. FRUIT unknown. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

This species has very distinctive long, narrow, leaves.

The leaves of this species appear to come directly from the ground, but there is a small underground stem. The Latin name means 'short-stemmed'. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

This small species is immediately recognized by its distinctive long, narrow, entire leaves that are bifid at the tip and held atop a short underground trunk. Native to the understorey of lowland and mountain forests in the very southeast of Madagascar, the very small remaining population is critically endangered by the destruction of its habitat through human activities. (RPS.com).

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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