Chrysalidocarpus loucoubensis

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Madagascar. Photo by Dr. Mijoro Rakotoarinivo/Kew.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Chrysalidocarpus
Was Dypsis nauseosa, Dypsis ceracea?
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Lavaboka (Tsimihety).

Habitat and Distribution

Chrysalidocarpus loucoubensis is endemic to Madagascar. Restricted to Nosy Be and Manongarivo
Ampasindava, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Mountains. Moist lowland forest, on steep mid slope; alt. 10-200 m.


Large solitary palm. TRUNK 12-15 m high, 18-25 cm in diam., with basal swelling 20 cm high and 40-55 cm in diam., with surface roots; internodes 10-17 cm long, pale brown; nodal scars 1-3 cm, grey; near the crown 17 cm in diam., and the internodes here about 17 cm long, nodal scars 2 cm. LEAVES 9-11 in the crown, tristichous, porrect to arching with pendulous pinnae; sheath 110-146 cm long, 20-23 cm. in diam., pale green with some wax, half open, without auricles or with slight auricles to 1 cm high; petiole absent or up to 18 cm long, 5-8.5 x 3-4.5 cm in diam., channelled, green and with scattered scales or glabrous; rachis 3.6-5 m long, in mid-leaf 2-3 x 1.8-2.5 cm in diam. and keeled, with scattered scales; leaflets 84-103 on each side of the rachis, regular, pale or mid-green, in one plane but with the distal part pendulous, the proximal 105-137 x 0.8-2.1 cm, median 105-170 x 2.7-5.1 cm (interval 2.5-4 cm), distal 18-30 x 0.4-2.3 cm, the distal pair joined for about 10 cm, main veins 1, quite glabrous, apices acute and bilobed. INFLORESCENCE infrafoliar, erect and spreading, 1.3-1.5 x 1.2-1.4 m, branched to 3 orders; peduncle 25-34 cm long, proximally 6.5-12 x 3.5-7 cm diam., with scattered scales; prophyll 50-60 x 10 -13 x 4 cm, borne at 7-9 cm above the base of the peduncle; peduncular bract inserted at 15-16 cm from the base of the peduncle, about 90 cm long, 14 x 9 cm. in diam., green with a white bloom, beaked for 6 cm; rachis 90-120 cm long, pale whitish green, with 18-22 branched and 15-21 non- branched first order branches, the most proximal of these with a rachis of up to 32 cm, at its base to 2.5-5 x 1.2-1.5 cm diam., with up to 21 second order branches and rachillae; rachillae whitish green, 24-58 cm long, 3.5-5 mm in diam., glabrous; triads distant, in slight pits; rachilla bract small, acute. STAMINATE FLOWERS cream; sepals 1.5-2.1 x 1.4-1.8 mm, broadly ovate, gibbous proximally, keeled, acute to truncate, with ciliolate membranous margins; petals 3-3.4 x 1.7-2 mm, ovate, acute; stamens 6, uniseriate, filaments 1.2-1.5 mm long, thin, anthers 2-2.3 x 0.5-0.6 mm, dorsifixed, versatile, the locules parallel and obtuse; pistillode about 1.5 mm high, columnar, 0.5 mm in diam. PISTILLATE FLOWERS cream; sepals 1.8-2.4 x 2.2-2.6 mm (- 3.6 mm in fruit), broadly ellipsoid, rounded, concave, ciliolate; petals 2.7-3.4 x 2.3-2.5 mm (-4 x 4.5 mm in fruit), concave, striate, with membranous margins, ciliolate; staminodes 6, flat, obtuse, 0.2-0.8 mm long; gynoecium 3-3.4 x 2.2-2.7 mm. FRUIT ovoid, 10-13 x 7.5-9 mm, apex obtuse with an asymmetrical point; endosperm fibrous, the fibres slightly anastomizing. SEED ellipsoid, 9-11 x 7-8 mm, pointed at the base, rounded at the apex, with a subaequatorial depression; endosperm ruminate, the ruminations distant and 1-2 mm deep. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Closest to the other large tristichous species, D. tsaravoasira and D. pilulifera. Distinct in its longer rachillae and homogeneous endosperm. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

Old name: Dypsis ceracea?, Dypsis nauseosa.

A rare species, with the leaves in three ranks. The new name refers to the village nearest to the forest where the type was found, and where HB stayed when he refound the species ('the sand across the bay' in Malagasy). NOTE: The epithet 'loucoubensis' is too close to that of Chrysalidocarpus lucubensis Becc of 1906, a synonym of D. madagascariensis. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Endangered. Known from only two sites, both of which are protected; but tree poaching is a severe threat in Lokobe Special Reserve (see Adany et al. 1994). HB has seen less than 25 trees in the two sites. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Uses: Used in house construction; palm-heart eaten.

A spectacular, large Dypsis native to lowland rainforest in northernmost Madagascar and on Nosy Be Island. Its trunk can grow to 15 m (50 ft.) tall and supports a long, pale green, lightly waxy crownshaft that holds an ascending crown of regularly pinnate leaves arranged in three ranks. It is endangered in the wild by poaching for palm heart. (

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric. Edit by João Santos Costa

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to, 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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