Dypsis tokoravina

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
Eastern Rainforest, Mananara National, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. Brian Rogers/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Tokoravina (Betsimisaraka; toko means group, ravina leaf).

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to Madagascar. Maroantsetra and Mananara. Lowland rain forest; edge of swamp in
Antanambe, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
valley bottoms and ridge tops; about 420 m.


Solitary palm. TRUNK about 20 m. high, about 60 cm in diam. at the base, 45-50 cm in diam. at breast height, 30 cm in diam. near the crown; internodes about 1.2 cm, dull reddish brown, vertically fissured. LEAVES 10-14 in the crown, subtristichous, arcuate; sheath scarcely forming crownshaft, 0.7-1 m long, very swollen, almost kneed, open for much of its length, greyish brown, bright red-brown within, with lateral auricles; petiole 6-34 cm long, about 6 x 8 cm in diam., deeply grooved; rachis grey-brown; rachis about 2.7 m long, in mid-leaf about 5 cm wide and 4 cm deep, keeled; pinnae 80-110 on each side of the rachis, stiff, held irregularly in groups of 3-8 in different planes, (plumose) curled, grey-waxy beneath, interval between the groups 4-5 cm, between the pinnae within the groups 1-2 cm, the proximal about 115 x 1.3-2.6 cm, median 100-128 x 3.3-4 cm, distal 25-37 x 1-2.3 cm, main vein 1, with thickened leaf margins, with tufts of ramenta and scattered scales on the minor veins, distal pair joined for about 2 cm, dentate. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, branched to 3 orders, huge, about 3 m, with rather spreading rachillae; peduncle about 2 m long, about 8 cm wide near the base; peduncular bract about 1 m long, curved, reddish brown tomentose; first order branches with an axis of up to 42 cm, proximally 15 x 9 mm in diam., with up to 12 rachillae; rachillae numerous, very slender (about 2.5 mm in diam.), glabrous, with shallow pits. STAMINATE FLOWERS unknown. PISTILLATE FLOWERS unknown. FRUIT obovoid, with pointed base, 15-20 x 11-13 mm; endocarp fibrous. SEED not seen entire, but with homogeneous endosperm. EOPHYLL entire, bifid. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Though this species slightly resembles giants such as D. bejofo and D. pilulifera, the open leaf sheaths make it immediately recognizable. The open sheath and large size are reminiscent of D. prestoniana, but that taxon has a more slender trunk. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

An immense and very beautiful palm of the primary forest. We have not seen the flowers, but the tree is so distinctive, especially with its enormous leaf sheaths which are open and swollen, that it deserves to be named. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Endangered. Only known from two populations, with few (< 20) individual trees known; the population at Antanambe is in an area under agricultural pressure. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

An impressive, very large Dypsis from lowland rainforest in northeastern Madagascar that forms a robust trunk to about 20 m (66 ft.) tall and up to 60 cm (2 ft.) in diameter at the base. The huge, swollen leafbases are up to 1 m (40 in.) long but do not form a closed crownshaft. The pinnate, slightly plumose leaves are about 3 m (10 ft.) long and form a large, spreading crown. A magnificent palm mainly for the tropics. (RPS.com)


This is a tillering palm, it exhibits saxophone style root growth (it has a heel), keep top third of heel above soil elevation!

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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