Dypsis tsaravoasira

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
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Ambodiriana reserve - Manompana, Madagascar. "Photo by Olivier Reilhes"
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Tsaravoasira, Hovotravavy, avaboko (Betsimisaraka).

Habitat and Distribution

Madagascar. Only known from Marojejy, Maroantsetra and Mananara. Open primary forest, steep upper
Madagascar. Photo by Dr. Mijoro Rakotoarinivo/Kew.
slopes or ridgetop hollows; 275-1050 m.


Solitary palm. TRUNK 10-25 m. high, 18-40 cm. in diam, prominently ringed above, scarcely below, 7.5-25 cm across near crown, internodes 5-15 cm, pale brown, distally green. Crownshaft green, swollen, 1-1.5 m. Wood pink. LEAVES 5-9 in the crown, tristichous, porrect, stiff to arcuate; sheath 69-150 cm long, 12 cm across, green, distally densely scaly, with or without irregular ligule c. 22 mm; petiole 0-13 cm, distally 4.5 x 4 cm, densely scaly to glabrous; rachis strongly arcuate, 2-3.5 m long, glabrous or scaly, in mid-leaf 2-3 cm wide; pinnae 102-120 on each side of the rachis, regular, stiff to arcuate, dull dark green, the ones on opposite sides of the rachis in one plane or at a slight angle, less conspicuously so near the tip, mid-green, proximal pinnae 68-135 x 0.5-3.1 cm with conspicuous pendulous reins, median 81-127 x 2.2-3 cm (interval 1.5-3 cm), distal 10-48 x 0.2-2 cm, apex single or bifid, unequal, main vein 1, thickened margins, rest faint, scattered tufts of ramenta, and with a few scattered scales on the minor veins. INFLORESCENCE infrafoliar, branching to 3 orders, arching with pendulous rachillae; peduncle 22-26 cm, strongly curved, distally about 4 x 3 cm, with scattered scales; prophyll 41-54 cm, borne at 6-9.5 cm above the base of the peduncle, about 14 cm wide, persistent, pale brown abaxially, chestnut-red adaxially; peduncular bract inserted at about 14 cm above the base of the peduncle, deciduous; rachis 47-50 cm, first order branches 14-20, 15 x 9 mm across, glabrous or with minute scattered scales, all axes green; rachillae cream-coloured, pendulous, 13-53 cm, 3-4 mm across, glabrous; triads spaced to dense, sunken; rachilla bract obtuse. STAMINATE FLOWERS only known in young bud. PISTILLATE FLOWERS in young fruit with sepals 2.8-3.7 x 4-5.2 mm, ciliolate; petals 4.5-5 x 5.6-6 mm; staminodes about 1.2 mm long. Young FRUIT 4-5 x 5-5.5 mm. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

This taxon resembles D. pilulifera but is distinct by the regular leaflets and the presence of scattered scales on the leaflets. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

A majestic, tristichous palm (the leaves are in three ranks). Although the material is incomplete, this is clearly a distinct taxon. The name derives from the local name. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Sunny, moist, but well drained position. Filtered light when very young. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

The name tsaravoasira apparantly means "good with salt" in the local language. It thus doesn't really need to be said that the palm heart is eaten.

Conservation: Endangered. Only known from three sites, two of which are under agricultural pressure; numbers within the populations are low, and we have seen less than thirty altogether. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Uses: Palm-heart edible and highly esteemed.

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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