Dypsis mcdonaldiana

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

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to Madagascar. Only known from the mountains of SE Madagascar. Lowland or
Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
submontane rain forest edge; slight midslope or wet valley bottom among boulders; alt. 300-1100 m.


Clustering or subcolonial palm in groups of 8-20. STEMS 3-5 m, 1-3 cm in diam.; internodes 1-5 cm, brown, more distally green. LEAVES 7- 10, spiral, flushed reddish when young; sheath 12-20 cm, pale green with distal red-brown pubescence, with tiny rounded ligules, the outer sheaths half open; petiole 5-10 cm long, 4-9 x 2-4 mm in diam., abaxially with scattered scales, adaxially flat with sharp edges; rachis 37-90 cm, abaxially with scattered scales, in mid-leaf keeled, 3-5 mm diam.; leaflets 12-21 on each side of the rachis, regular or slightly irregular (in mid-leaf 2-4 cm apart), with top flabellum, the proximal 14-28 x 0.3-1.5 cm, median 21-43 x 1.6-2.4 cm, distal 0.8-29 x 0.8-2.9 (-7) cm, the distal pair joined for up to 7.5 cm and at the apex dentate over a width of 3-15 mm, main veins 1-3 (to 6 in the distal ones), apices attenuate, unequally bifid, no ramenta or scales. INFLORESCENCE (interand) infra-foliar, 45-90 cm, branched to 2 orders; peduncle 18-33 cm, proximally 5-8 x 2-3 mm, distally 4-7 x 2-6 mm diam., with sparse red-brown scales; prophyll 16-27 x 0.9-1 cm, borne at 4-8 cm above the base of the peduncle, with scattered scales, split in the distal 1-4 cm only; peduncular bract deciduous, not seen; rachis 16-27 cm, glabrous or nearly so, with 4-6 (-16) branched and 11-13 unbranched first order branches, the proximal of these to 8 cm long with up to 8 rachillae; rachillae 4-20 cm, 1-1.5 mm in diam., puberulous to glabrous. STAMINATE FLOWERS unknown. PISTILLATE FLOWERS with sepals 0.8-1 x 1-1.2 cm; petals 1.6-2.5 x 1.5-1.8 cm; staminodes not seen; ovary subglobose, about 1.5 mm high, about 1.3 mm in diam., with a trifid stigma. FRUIT red, 6-9 x 3-4 mm; remnant sepals 1 x 1 mm, petals 2.2-2.4 x 1.8 mm, with lower part imbricate and minutely ciliate, upper part valvate and triangular; endocarp fibrous, fibres not anastomosing. SEED with homogenous endosperm. EOPHYLL bifid. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Probably closest to D. scottiana, but with more robust inflorescences with longer rachillae. The (Guillaumet) specimen from the highest elevation has much shorter and scaly rachillae while the lowland ones have longer glabrous ones. Close to this species is Bosser 18599 from Vondrozo: W of Vondrozo, alt. 700 m, Dec. 1963 (bud); the sheath is longer (29 cm), the petiole shorter (5 mm), the rachis is 28 cm with only 6 leaflets on each side; the peduncle is 68 cm, but the rest of the inflorescence is similar. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Warm, sheltered and moist. Heavily filtered light. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

Named after the company that funded HB for four years of the project on Madagascar palms: McDonald's Restaurants (UK). This is in the tradition of Linnaeus, the father of Botany, who named taxa after his benefactors (and nasty weeds after his enemies, so we have to add that this is a beautiful palm!). (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Vulnerable. Restricted to a small area, which is only partially protected. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

A smaller species, generally similar to D. scottiana, that forms clusters of up to 20 slender canes, each with a small crown of finely pinnate leaves. Only known from the southeast of Madagascar, it grows in humid, rainforested valleys between 300 and 1100 m (1000 to 3600 ft.) a.s.l. (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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