Chrysalidocarpus bejofo

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"Brain Seed Palm"

bejofo (beh-YO-foh)
Floribunda Palms, Hawaii, Jeff Marcus for scale, photo by BGL.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Chrysalidocarpus
bejofo (beh-YO-foh)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: May cluster.
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Bejofo, Hovotraomby (Betsimisaraka).

Habitat and Distribution

Madagascar. Chrysalidocarpus bejofo is only known from Maroantsetra and Mananara, around the
Habitat - Photo Marcus.
Bay of Antongil. Moist lowland forest; steep slope; 200-400 m.


This palm has been unavoidably confused with a more widely available cultivated palm, invalidly named when it was originally introduced, as Dypsis bejofa, This imposter is now being referred to more correctly as Dypsis sp. 'Bejofa'. But because of this similarity, the confusion continues. The differences are apparent, but the confusion will persist until the Dypsis sp. "Bejofa" is described and/or identified.

Solitary canopy palm. TRUNK 15-25 m high, 25-40 cm in diam., near the crown about 20 cm in diam.; internodes 20-35 cm, pale reddish brown, near the crown 2-10 cm, dark green to ashy grey; crownshaft white, waxy. LEAVES 7-10 in the crown, sub-tristichous, porrect and arching; sheath 1-2 m, 25-40 cm in diam., abaxially white waxy and distally dense red-brown scaly, adaxially peach-coloured; petiole 12-34 cm long, 4.5-15 cm wide, densely pubescent; rachis 3-6 m long, brown-scaly, in mid-leaf 2.5-5 x 1.5-4 cm, channelled in the proximal 2 m; pinnae 80-100 on each side of the rachis, in groups of 5-7 and fanned within the groups, group interval 8-10 cm, rich green, stiff or arched, the distal part often bent down, the proximal 90-200 x 0.4-1.7 cm and often with the most proximal pendulous, median 72-144 x 1.3-4 cm (interval 0.5-2 cm), distal 30-69 x 0.6- 1.8 cm, main vein 1, with few ramenta 5-6 mm long on the midrib, otherwise glabrous and waxy, apices unequally bifid, attenuate. INFLORESCENCE infrafoliar, branched to 2 (- 3) orders, 0.5 x 0.5-1 m, yellow-green with sub-pendulous rachillae; peduncle 13-20 cm long, 5-10 x 3-7 cm in diam., green with scattered scales; prophyll 20-30 cm long, to 19 cm wide, borne on the peduncle at 2-4 cm, with scattered scales; peduncular bract inserted at 5-9 cm from the base of the peduncle, 54-91 cm long and 10-17 cm wide, with scattered scales, flushed pink or pale lavender, split except for the beak; non-tubular peduncular bract rarely present, once seen 18 cm long; rachis 20-52 cm long, glabrous or with scattered scales, with 15-17 first order branches, these proximally 1.3-6 x 0.5-2.2 cm in diam.; rachillae 20- 44 cm long (to 73 cm in fruit), green, stiff, 3.5-10 mm in diam., glabrous, with dense, slightly sunken triads; rachilla bract 2 mm long.


Still relatively uncommon in cultivation, and as yet not 100% positively identified as such. However, the palms tentatively identified as the "real Bejofa" have been extremely slow growing, even in the optimum growing conditions of Hawaii. Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

One of the most impressive palms of Madagascar. The massive trunk and enormous leaves, sometimes arranged in three rows in an arching crown, give this tree a majestic appearance. This would be a spectacular ornamental tree for grand landscaping in the tropics. Seeds have been widely distributed. The local name has supplied us with the specific epithet. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Endangered. Only known from two sites, where numbers are low. The following quotes are illustrative of some of the previous confusion, hopefully straightened out above. They remain here to help deliniate the path to correct IDs that has taken place over the years.

"This is one of the rarer palms from Madagascar, but it is slowly making its way into cultivation. I have been able to keep one alive in zone 9b, but don't think that's really in this palms best interest. It is a semitropical species that develops a massive crown and tall, thick trunk. However, no know adults outside Madagascar at this time, and since I haven't been to Madagascar, it will be some time before I can post a photo of a mature plant. Great fuzzy orange-brown color on the new spike and leaf bases. Large, relatively wide leaflets... very ornamental seedling."

"I have some photos of larger, flowering seedlings in Hawaii, and now there is some questions as to what this palm really is.. and it may not be but another few years before it will finally be officially described and named. Turns out the 'true' D bejofo, as Cfish mentioned below, is a different looking palm... less robust and with plumose leaves. I have added this one to the plant files now, but only have one pic of it. Soon this one will be reclassified but until then, it will be referred to as Dypsis sp. Bejofa- since it so many think it was bejofo, guess they decided to keep the name similar to keep the confusion down a tad." (Geoff Stein).

"There are two, possibly three variations of D. bejofo being sold currently. There is a broadleaf, regularly pinnate version as shown in the pictures provided. There is as well a plumose version that has irregularly spaced leaflets - this is known as the true bejofo as shown in habitat pictures. I took no pictures of this plant, but it is very "alien" looking." (Christian Faulkner).

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. 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. 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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