Dypsis humilis

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
humilis (hoo-MIHL-iss)
Makira; Protected Area, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
humilis (hoo-MIHL-iss)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Northeast Madagascar, known from a single site above the Antainambalana River near the
Makira; Protected Area, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
village of Ambodivoahangy west-northwest of Maroantsetra. Disturbed rain forest on granitic ridge top, alt. 100-200 m.


Dypsis humilis is a low growing palm with no visible stem ("acaulescent"), and approximately eight leaves sprouting from the ground—described as looking "like a shuttlecock". The leaves are approximately 80 cm (31 in) long, with about sixteen leathery leaflets on each leaf. The inflorescences are inconspicuous, from 22 to 35 cm (8.7 to 14 in) long, growing at the base of the plant amidst the leaves. The pistilate flowers are 2.5 mm (0.098 in) by 1 mm (0.039 in), with sickle-shaped fruits that are approximately 1.8 mm (0.071 in) long and .3 mm (0.012 in) wide. The species is quite distinct from other Dypsis species in Madagascar, with only two other acaulescent species previously recorded—both of which have very different leaves and habitat. Editing by edric.

Clustering, acaulescent palm.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

Conservation: Critically endangered [CR (A1 + D)] (provisional assessment). Known only from one locality where fewer than ten individuals were observed. The site is outside the boundary of the Makira protected area and the forest is degraded (M. Rakotoarinivo, M.S.Trudgen and W.J.Baker. 2009)/Palmweb.

The plant is provisionally listed as Critically Endangered, the highest risk category for wild plants, by the IUCN Red List. The only known plants are in an unprotected area just outside of Makira Natural Park, so the species' survival is not very secure.[1] Madagascar has less than 10% of its native vegetation intact, with an additional 200,000-300,000 hectares of forest lost each year. Out of 172 Madagascar palm species known in 2007, only 18 are not threatened by habitat loss, with many on the edge of extinction.

Dypsis humilis grows in northeast Madagascar, near the Antainambalana River, outside of Maroantsetra, a seaport town on the Bay of Antongil. It is found in rainforest on a granitic ridge top between 100 to 200 m (330 to 660 ft) elevation. Less than ten plants were seen, in an area of forest disturbed by human activity, including logging.

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).

M. Rakotoarinivo, M.S.Trudgen & W.J.Baker. 2009. The Palms of the Makira Protected Area, Madagascar.
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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