Dypsis lutescens

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
lutescens (loo-TEHS-senz)
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
lutescens (loo-TEHS-senz)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Rehazo, Lafahazo, Lafaza (Betsimisaraka). Golden Cane Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Dypsis lutescens is found in East Madagascar and La Réunion. On littoral forest or heath vegetation
on white sand, also on rock; persists in secondary growth and may be locally common. Alt. 5-35 m.


Dypsis lutescens is one of the world's most common palms as a result of its extensive use as an indoor 'plantscaping' specimen. In this trade it is referred as an Areca Palm, although it does not belong to the palm genus of Areca. It can also be seen used extensively as a hedge in more tropical situations. It generally carries a yellow cast to its parts, although there appears to be greener variations, and even one with a bluish cast to the beautiful recurving fronds. Editing by edric.

Wendland described the genus Chrysalidocarpus and the species Chrysalidocarpus lutescens at the same time; he also mentioned that this was a common indoors palm in Europe, known as Areca or Hyophorbe indica or lutescens, and also as Areca borbonica or A. dicksoni (= Dictyospermum album); none of these names refers to the Madagascar material. [Chrysalidocarpus lutescens is not based on the Bory name Hyophorbe lutescens, since Wendland states categorically that he is describing the species as distinct from Hyophorbe. Areca lutescens Bory was described from specimens from La Réunion, and is a synonym of Hyophorbe indica Gaertn. Areca borbonica is an old garden name for Dictyosperma album (Bory) H. Wendl. & Drude. None of these palms conforms to the description Wendland gave for his new species, with its green leaf-sheaths with a waxy bloom combined with a clustering habit]. With D. arenarum and D. psammophila it forms a complex that requires further study, particularly since all three taxa occur in the same area and almost in the same habitat. This complex seems close to D. baronii and D. onilahensis, to which it bears an uncanny resemblance. We are tentatively including Chrysalidocarpus glaucescens Waby in synonymy. This species was based on a particularly glaucous and robust plant cultivated in Trinidad. It is certainly larger in all its parts than D. lutescens but we do not think it can be anything else. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Light: Golden cane palm will grow in sun or shade but looks its best in bright diffuse light (indoors or out). Moisture: It prefers moist, well-drained fertile soils. Hardiness: USDA Zones 10-11. Propagation: Golden cane palm can be propagated from seeds which take 2-6 months to germinate. Offshoots cut from the base of the palm can be used to start new plants.

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Comments and Curiosities

One of the best-known Madagascar palms (at least under its old name): this species is very widespread in cultivation all over the tropics, doing well under a wide range of conditions. This is in strange contrast to its native country, where it is restricted to a special habitat: white sand forest in a narrow strip close to the sea. The name means 'becoming yellow' and refers (probably) to the leaf sheath, petiole and rachis. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

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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