Dypsis cookei

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
cookei (KOOK-ee)
Palm tc 65426 1.jpg
Madagascar, photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
cookei (KOOK-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to Madagascar. Marojejy. Humid lower montane forest on steep
Marojejy, Madagascar, photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
slope; alt. 1100 m.


Slender clustering palmlet to 2 m tall, often less. STEMS green, about 6 mm in diam.; internodes 15-17 mm long, glabrous, shining dark green when fresh, becoming striate on drying. LEAVES 6-7 in the crown; leaf-sheaths pale green, tinged purple when young, smooth when fresh, becoming striate on drying, bearing caducous, minute scattered punctiform scales, otherwise glabrous, about 7 cm long, two minute auricles present at the base of the petiole (?always); leaf without sheath 25-35 cm long; petiole 12-20 mm long, about 1.5 mm wide, subtriangular in section, bearing scattered brown scales; rachis 15-20 cm, bearing scattered scales as on the petiole; leaflets 6-8 on each side of the rachis, very narrow, dark blue-green with an almost metallic sheen, mostly composed of one fold but occasion- ally apical pair and the basal leaflets composed of two folds, proximal leaflets 12-16 x 0.6-1.1 cm, median leaflets 17-20 x 0.7-0.8 cm, distal leaflets 12-14 x 1.2-1.4 cm; lamina surfaces glabrous apart from very sparse scattered minute punctiform brown scales. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, about 38 cm long, only slightly protruding beyond the leaves, crimson-purple throughout, branching to 2-3 orders with about 28 rachillae, the whole branched part of the inflorescence more or less triangular in outline when pressed; peduncle glabrous, about 15- 20 cm long; prophyll about 12 cm long, peduncular bract exceeding the prophyll by about 8 cm, the tip reaching to the level of the basalmost rachilla, the two bracts drying brown and bearing scattered dark brown scales, especially along the margins; rachis about 10.5 cm; rachillae about 25, 2-4 cm long, the longest near the base, about 1 mm in diam. when fresh, bearing triads 1-2 mm apart, the rachilla surface densely pruinose. STAMINATE FLOWER bud about 0.7 mm in diam.; sepals 3 rounded, gibbous, about 0.5 mm in diam., abaxially minutely and densely papillose; petals broadly triangular, about 0.5 mm long, c. 0.5 mm wide, obscurely striate; stamens 3, antepetalous, anthers didymous, about 0.25 mm long, the filaments triangular about 0.2mm long; pistillode pyramidal, about 3 mm high. PISTILLATE BUDS very immature, about 0.5 mm in diam., rounded. Other parts not seen. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

This species is easily distinguished by its dark metallic green unicostate leaflets of a rather thick, coriaceous texture. The whole plant has a rheomorphic appearance but in fact grows far from water, on a steep slope in montane rain forest. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

This is a beautiful little palm, distinctive in its rather thick metallic blue green leaves with narrow leaflets. Leaf texture and colour are somewhat reminiscent of that of the Mexican palm, Chamaedorea metallica. Clearly this would make a very handsome ornamental but, sadly, it is known from only one locality (Marojejy) and has been collected once only. It is named for David Cooke, who is in charge of the Palm House at Kew, and has joined two Kew expeditions to Madagascar, helping greatly in the collection of palms and contributing his very special brand of humour and companionship. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Endangered. Although this species occurs within the Marojejy Nature Reserve, it is known from but a single population consisting of less than twenty plants. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

A very special small palm from montane rainforests of northeastern Madagascar with thin, clustering stems to usually less than 2 m tall and pinnate, thick and leathery, shiny dark blue green metallic leaves. It is an extraordinary ornamental plant and would be best suited for a protected spot in understory of the tropical garden, but has apparently not been introduced into cultivation before. (RPS.com)

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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