Dypsis catatiana

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
catatiana (kah-taht-ee-AHN-ah)
QLD. Australia, photo by Utopia Palms & Cycads.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
catatiana (kah-taht-ee-AHN-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Sinkaramboalavo (Betsimisaraka); Varaotra (Antanosy).

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to Northeast and East Madagascar, between Tsaratanana and Andohahela. Lowland to
Madagascar, photo by "Olivier Reilhes".
montane rain forests to bamboo forest, slight to steep mid slope; alt. (150-) 450-1900 m.


Solitary small or dwarf palm (Schatz et al. 1694 is described as colony-forming, to 1.5 m; Perrier 12026 and 15985 are said to be clustering). STEM 0.2-1 m high, 4-9 mm in diam.; internodes 0.5-3 cm, dark green, often with a vertical pale green stripe; nodal scars 0.1-0.2 cm. LEAVES 4-10 in the crown, porrect to spreading; sheath 3-8 cm long, the outermost often open for about 50 %, pale green with minute brown or reddish scales, in young leaves with clear triangular ligules 3-6 mm long on each side of the petiole; petiole absent or to 5 cm long, 1.5- 2.5 mm in diam., slightly channelled adaxially; lamina entire or with (2-) 3-5 (-7) pairs of flat leaflets, shiny medium green, slightly paler on the abaxial surface, young leaves reddish; when entire shortly bifid, 14-32 cm long, the midrib 10-22 cm long, the lobes 5-12 x 2-5 cm, with 10-16 main veins, the base peduncle, 2.5-4 mm wide, opening only at the apex, pale brown cuneate, the apices truncate and dentate, 5-15 mm wide, and den with scattered scales; peduncular bract inserted at 4-14 from the base tate on the outside bend, with lines of small reddish and whitish of the peduncle, 3-9 cm long, 2.5-4 mm wide, opening only near scales on the abaxial midrib and veins; when pinnately divided the the apex, pale brown with scattered scales; second peduncular rachis 9-24 cm long with scattered reddish scales, the individual bract often present as a tiny, 1.5-4 mm long, briefly tubular bract leaflets flat and at intervals of 1-4.5 cm, the proximal 4-16 (-21) x situated just above the apex of the first peduncular bract; rachilla 0.5-3 cm and connate for 2-6 cm, the median 8-21 x 0.5-3.5 cm and 2-14 cm long, 1-2 mm in diam., yellow-green to pale yellow, glabrous connate for 0.5-8 cm, both the proximal and the median sigmoid, or with dense minute scales all over, with 20-50 distant superficial with acuminate apices and 1-6 main veins, the distal leaflets 5-14 triads; flowers yellow-green.


Shady, sheltered, and moist. Likes it very humid. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

This is the commonest small palm of the island, occurring in nearly all East Coast forests over a wide altitude range. It would make a good ornamental, with both the entire-leaved form and that with pinnate leaves being handsome, but will require a humid atmosphere. The name refers to the collector of the type, Louis Domingue Maria Catat (1859-?, who collected in Madagascar in 1889).(J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Dypsis catiana is one of the small under-story palms common across a wide altitudinal range, in the humid, eastern forests. The distribution of this species is similar for many eastern plants and animals - they are absent from the moist forests of the north of Madagascar.

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

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

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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