Dypsis plumosa

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
plumosa (ploo-MOHS-ah)
Dypsis plumosa large.jpg
Vero Beach, FL. Photo by Dave-Vero
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
plumosa (ploo-MOHS-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
"Fakey Ambositrae," "Fine "Leaf," "Ballerina Palm"

Habitat and Distribution

Dypsis plumosa, also known as D. "fine leaf", "fakey ambositrae" is a single trunked Dypsis
Dypsis plumosa
species, apparently native to Madagascar, though no one knows exactly where. The palm pictured here has incorrectly been referred to as Dypsis ambositae for many years now. It has been renamed Dypsis plumosa.


In California, cultivated specimens have trunks about 4 - 6 inches across, with gently recurved leaves about four feet long. The pinnae are arranged in a "V" shape, they often flop and twist giving a pseudo-plumose look to the fronds, and are a bright green with a leathery texture. Editing by edric.


Cultivated specimens in places like Florida and Hawaii appear to be much faster-growing, with more robust trunks to about 8 - 10 inches across, with longer, less recurved leaves to about six feet long.

They are quite hardy to cold, surviving temperatures of 27 F with only minor damage. They appear to take any soil, including clay. They are very deep-rooted -- babies in pots root straight down, out the drain holes, and into the soil if they can. They will take sun or partial shade, though they don't appreciate heavy competition from "rootier" plants, including Queen Palms.

PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

This palm, though readily available from palm dealers as seed and young plants, is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. The only thing that's truly clear is that it's not the Dypsis ambositrae listed in Palms of Madagascar by Dransfield and Beentje. The real ambositrate is very different, with much more colorful leaf bases and more strongly recurved leaves.

Young plants are very wispy-looking, which belies their toughness. They are easily recognized as juveniles by their reddish leaves, and purple stems, which turn green and glaucous white respectively as the plant matures.

They are best appreciated in a group, instead of as single specimens, since their slender shape makes them blend into the background. In a mass, they look like a troupe of ballerinas, poised to dance.

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).
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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