Dypsis curtisii

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
curtisii (kuhr-tihs'-ee)
Ampasipotsy, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
curtisii (kuhr-tihs'-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to Madagascar. Unfortunately, we are not sure where Curtis collected, and his number
Ampasipotsy, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
117 (the only other specimen we have seen made by this collector) is an unidentifiable palm leaf, also without locality. Jumelle & Perrier, in the Flore de Madagascar, state Imerina (= northern central Madagascar) for the type - which they also call Curtis s.n. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995). Montane forest; alt. 1500-1800 m. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


STEM solitary, 1.5 - 5 m tall, with internodes 3-3.5 cm long distally, 8-9 mm across, glabrous. LEAVES: sheath 12-13 cm long, with rounded shoulders and laciniate margins, with red-brown scattered scales; petiole 40-10 cm long, 2-4 mm in diam., with scattered reddish scales; rachis 34-39 cm, in mid-leaf 2-3 mm in diam., densely to sparsely dark reddish scaly; leaflets 9 -12 on each side of the rachis, in groups of 2-3, the group interval 4.5-6.5 cm, sigmoid, narrowly ovate, folded or rarely slightly connate (for up to 1 cm) with the rachis, the proximal 8-18 x 0.3-2.3 cm, median leaflets 9-20 x 1.2-4 cm (interval 1-2 cm), distal 9-13 x 2-4.6 cm, the distal pair joined for 1-5 cm, dentate on the outer bend for 0.5-1.5 cm with quite long teeth, other leaflets with the apices longacuminate, with 1-6 main veins, dark green adaxially with some red (almost spiny) scales on midrib, pale green abaxially with sinuous transverse veinlets and glabrous or with a few reddish scales on the midrib and the margins, but only rarely on the main veins. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, unbranched or bifurcate; peduncle 22-34 cm, 1.5-3 x 1-2 mm in diam., densely to sparsely scaly; prophyll 16-35 cm long, 0.5 cm wide, borne at 5-11 cm above the base of the peduncle, pale brown with few scales, opening near the apex for 1-2 cm; peduncular bract inserted at 14 -19 cm from the base of the peduncle, 12-15 cm long, opening near the apex for about 2 cm but not at the beak which is up to 3 mm long, with scattered scales; rachilla 16-23 cm long, or (in Perrier 12039) with 2 rachillae about 12.5 cm long (broken?), about 2 mm in diam., densely scaly with dark red to almost black small scales, with about 147 distant triads in slight pits. STAMINATE FLOWERS in bud ovoid; sepals concave, keeled, slightly gibbous at base, only slightly ciliolate; receptacle c. 0.6 mm high; petals 2.2-2.3 x 1.4-1.5 mm, concave, ovate, slightly acute, striate; stamens 6, equal, filaments connate for 0.2 mm, 1.2 mm long, linear, anthers dorsifixed, versatile, 1.3- 1.5 x 0.4 mm, linear, slightly apiculate, the locules parallel; pistillode 1.2 mm long, about 0.3 mm in diam. PISTILLATE FLOWERS ovoid-conical, slightly acute; sepals 0.6-1.3 x 1.2-2 mm, orbicular, hardly ciliolate, not really keeled; petals imbricate proximally, valvate distally, 1.8 -2.9 x 1.4-2 mm, concave, ovate, obtuse, striate; staminodes 0.3-0.4 mm; ovary somewhat trigonous, 2.2-2.3 x 0.7-0.8 mm. FRUIT unknown. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Close to D. pervillei, and possibly not distinct. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

Only represented by two ancient collections, this remains one of the lesser known palms of the island. The name refers to the collector of the type, Charles Curtis (1852-1928), who collected in Madagascar in 1881. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Uncertain; Tsaratanana has not been visited by botanists in the recent past. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

A small and extremely rare high-altitude palm from northern Madagascar, where it grows in montane rainforest between 1500 and 1800 m on the Tsaratanana massiv. This palm has not been seen for almost 100 years. It grows a slender stem, topped by an open crown of pinnate leaves with grouped leaflets. (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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