Dypsis lantzeana

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
lantzeana (lahnt-zeh-AHN-ah)
Sahavary, Masoala, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
lantzeana (lahnt-zeh-AHN-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary & clustering.
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to Northeastern Madagascar, particularly around the Bay of Antongil. Lowland
Hiaraka, Masoala, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
rain forest; alt. up to 350 m.


Slender solitary or clustered forest undergrowth palm. STEM to 4 m tall, 0.7-2 cm in diam., internodes 0.8-3 cm long, stem surface with scattered brown scales. LEAVES 6-15 in the crown; sheath 8-9 x 1.5-2 cm, pale green to ivory-coloured, striate, with abundant caducous dark scales, auricles present, to 8 x 4 mm, or not evident; petiole absent or to 10 cm, about 3.5 mm wide with scattered dark brown scales; rachis 19-47 cm; blade entire bifid to 40 x 15 cm, split to half its length, or leaflets 3-9 on each side of the rachis, generally leaflets somewhat sigmoid, tinged pink when newly emerging, 4.5-26 x 0.5-7 cm, sometimes several very small leaflets crowded at base of rachis, apical leaflets 10-16 x 3.5-6 cm, diverging at a rather wide angle, adaxial surface sparsely dotted with minute brown scales, abaxially with scattered punctiform scales and often with conspicuous ramenta to 20 mm long on ribs. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, branching to 2-3 orders, the branches often somewhat reflexed; peduncle 21-50 cm long, about 2.5 mm in diam. near base; prophyll 10-30 x about 0.7 cm, membranous, sparsely scaly; peduncular bract exceeding prophyll by 7-25 cm; rachis 21-35 cm; rachillae about 50 to over 120 in number, 2-6 cm long, about 0.8-1 mm in diam., often reflexed, usually cherry-red when young, densely covered with long branched brown hairs, triads about 1.5 mm distant, rachilla bract laciniate, it and flowers almost completely obscured by rachilla hairs. STAMINATE FLOWERS spherical, about 1x 0.85 mm; sepals imbricate, rounded, irregularly splitting, c. 0.3 x 0.4 mm; petals 1.0 x 0.8 mm; stamens 3 (rarely 2 or reduced to 1), antesepalous, filaments connate in basal 25 mm, free filaments about 0.3 mm, anthers sagittate, about 0.1 x 0.1 mm, staminodes absent; pistillode dome-like. PISTILLATE FLOWERS about 1.2 mm in diam.; sepals 0.3 x 0.4 mm, broadly imbricate, irregularly erose; petals striate, triangular about 1.2 x 1.0 mm; staminodes 6; ovary globular about 0.7 mm in diam. Mature FRUIT ellipsoid, cherry-red ripening dark purple, 10 x 7 mm. SEED 7 x 4 mm, endosperm homogeneous, embryo lateral near the base. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

In the habit, leaf form and inflorescence branching, D. lantzeana is very similar to D. forficifolia. The rachillae of the present species are densely covered in trichomes, whereas in the latter they are usually glabrescent and only rarely with scattered trichomes. Furthermore, the rachilla bracts in the present species are usually so hairy that the bracts and the sub-tended flowers are partially obscured. In one remarkable collection, Dransfield JD6363, staminate flowers consistently (at least in the Kew duplicate) have only one stamen. This is a particularly tomentose form. It would be interesting to investigate further into this unistaminate condition. In another collection Henderson et al. 756, some staminate flowers have only two stamens. We have pondered at length over the correct orthography of the specific epithet. Baillon originally published "lantzeana"; the type annotation and all subsequent authors have used "lanceana". We suggest, however, that because Baillon used the spelling Lantze, the collector must have been Lantze rather than Lance (though it is not certain to us whether these are different collectors or the same), and thus favour the former rather than the latter spelling. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

This is a common palm in the rain forests surrounding the Bay of Antongil. It grows in the forest undergrowth and rarely exceeds about 4 m tall. It could be confused with D. forficifolia but can be distinguished by its very hairy rachillae. It is in cultivation in the Palm House of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. This is a most attractive species with its neat habit, young leaves tinged reddish and cherry-red inflorescence branches. The species is named for the collector of the original specimen. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Vulnerable. The distribution is limited, and the forests are under some threat from shifting cultivators. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

A very pretty, small Dypsis from lowland rainforest in northeastern Madagascar that produces a very thin, solitary or rarely clustered stem to no more than 4 m (13 ft.) tall, holding numerous, short-stalked leaves that are entire and undivided or split into a few, broad segments. The new emergent leaf is reddish-pink and the inflorescence intensively red. A beautiful, dainty palm for the understory in the tropical garden, still rare in cultivation. (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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