Dypsis angustifolia

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
Common Form with Thin Bifid Leaves.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Bifid
Survivability index
Common names
butterfly palm

Habitat and Distribution

Dypsis angustifolia is endemic to Madagascar. Central part of East Coast lowlands,
Madagascar. Broadleaf Form, gets divisions in leaf blade, gets NO new red leaf. Photo by Clayton York, Utopia Palms & Cycads.
Betampona and environs, northeast of Toamasina. Lowland rain forest; 400-500 m.


Slender, clustering palm of the undergrowth. STEMS to 1 m. tall, 6-10 mm in diam., internodes 12-25 mm in diam., bearing scattered brown scales. LEAVES 6-7 in crown; sheaths 9-12 x 0.8 cm., tardily abscising, ± marcescent, striate, with scattered punctiform scales, auricles small, membranous, soon tattering; petiole 4-23 cm., about 2 mm. wide, ± triangular in cross section; blade entire bifid, distinctly plicate on drying, 28-50 cm, deeply cleft to about three quarters of the overall length, the two lobes 20-40 x 1.5-3 cm., occasionally one lobe further divided into 2 narrow leaflets, segment tips shallowly lobed, adaxially with scattered punctiform scales, abaxially paler and with abundant brown punctiform scales. INFLORESCENCES interfoliar, erect or curved, branched to 1 order only; peduncle 15-32 cm. long, about 1-2 mm in diam., sparsely covered with red scales in exposed portion; prophyll 10-25 x 0.5 cm., membranous, sparsely scaly; peduncular bract inserted far above and exceeding the prophyll by 5.5-9 cm., otherwise similar; rachis 3.5-10 cm., densely brown hairy; rachillae 5-9, inserted at right angles, 1-3 cm. long, about 2 mm in diam.; rachilla bracts inconspicuous, about 0.5 x 1 mm., almost entirely obscured by dense red-brown hairs.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

Now here is a Palm that has been sold under the Name Dypsis louvelii, there are a few species that as seedlings it's very hard to impossible to tell apart from Dypsis louvelii, the first is Dypsis Pulchella with this species even when they are mature it's near impossible to tell this species from louvelii unless you look at the flowers and the stamens, then you have Dypsis mocquerysana these look very simular as small plants as well. Then we have Dypsis angustifolia this seems to have at least two forms the thin leaf form as listed in Palms of Madagascar and a broader leaf form, which can have a reddish new leaf as well...! This is what has been sold as Louvelii in the last few years so you just might want to check your plants, unfortunately you will not be able to tell that it's not Louvelii until they start to clump, and then once they flower you can be 100% sure of what you have, so i will list some photos here of the inflorescence of Dypsis angustifolia and some of the habitat photos of the mature plants so all can see what these plants are going to grow into, not all of these will have new reddish new leaves but they will all clump and they do all look to be this broader leaf form. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

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. 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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