Dypsis dransfieldii

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
dransfieldii (dranz-FEELD-ee)
27298383352 5e3d54ddda o.jpg
Tampolo - Masoala - Madagascar (2016) - East Coast of Madagascar. Photo by "Olivier Reilhes".
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
dransfieldii (dranz-FEELD-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Height: 6-8 meters
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to North East Madagascar: Masoala Peninsula. Littoral forest, on steep or
Tampolo - Masoala - Madagascar (2016) - East Coast of Madagascar. Photo by "Olivier Reilhes".
level slope; alt. 2-20 m.


Clustering palm in clumps of 3-5, basally with short stilt roots. Mature STEMS unbranched, 6-8 m tall, 7-8 cm. in diam.; wood very hard; internodes about 10 cm (2 cm near the crown); bark dull reddish brown, distally with red-brown tomentum, ringed with that were formerly included in Vonitra. In fact D dransfieldii, as an intermediate between Vonitra close leaf scars. LEAVES 6-12 per crown, porrect, marcescent; sheaths with thick reddish brown tomentum, 36-48 cm, proximally about 16 cm wide when flattened, deeply channelled, distally 0.5-1.8 x 0.6-1.2 cm, with pale brown fibrous tattering, margins 2.5-3 cm wide, red-brown tomentose; on the opposite side from the petiole with a long, mid-brown, 12-16 cm fibrous tongue; petiole absent, but pseudopetiole appearing after disintegration of sheath material, 15-30 cm, channelled, straw-brown with scattered minute scales; rachis 1.3-1.7 m, puberulous or with flaking grey-brown tomentum, in mid-leaf 0.7-1.2 x 0.5-0.7 cm and keeled; leaflets 33-34 on each side of the rachis, regular, slightly sigmoid, proximal leaflets 28-57 x 0.4-1.8 cm, median 52-62 x 1.9-3.2 cm (leaflet interval 4-5 cm), distal 15-39 x 0.5-2.9 cm, with bifid apices, main veins 3-5, midrib prominent adaxially, apices attenuate, glabrous. Sucker shoots with bifid leaves; young leaves tinged pink. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, branched to two orders, erect, 2-2.6 m, projecting beyond the leaves, dull reddish brown; peduncle 141-200 cm, round in cross-section, proximally 1.2-2 x 0.5-1.5 cm, green overlaid with red-brown tomentum, glabrescent, distally 0.7-1.8 x 0.5-0.8 cm, pinkish; prophyll 72-91 cm long, borne at 7-16 cm above the base of the peduncle, cylindrical, split only near the apex, with flaking redbrown tomentum; peduncular bract pale cream, inserted at 30-44 cm above the base of the peduncle, 124-126 cm long, with scattered scales, beaked for about 8.5 cm, abscising and carried upwards by the lengthening inflorescence; non-tubular peduncular bracts inserted at about 89 cm (1.5-6.5 x 0.7-1.6 cm), 102 cm (1 cm); rachis 30-45 cm, angular in parts, with about 15 branched and 14 unbranched first order branches, these flattened, swollen and 6 x 2-3 mm at base; rachillae 18-32 cm, slightly flattened, somewhat pitted, 1.2-2 mm. in diam. at anthesis, 2.5-3 mm. in diam. in fruit, covered with dense simple scales; flowers cream-coloured. STAMINATE FLOWERS with sepals 0.8-1.4 x 1.4-2.2 mm, unequal, keeled, hooded; petals 2.4-2.5 x 1.6-1.8 mm, ovate, acute; stamens 6, in 1 series (only on large magnification a slight distinction in 2 series apparent), the filaments 0.5-0.8 mm, anthers 1.6-1.8 x 0.4-0.6 mm, dorsifixed, the locules parallel; pistillode 0.8-1 mm high, c. 0.4 mm. in diam. PISTILLATE FLOWERS only known in bud stage, with sepals about 1.5 x 1.8 mm, petals about 1.3 x 1.2 mm, gynoecium about 1 x 0.7 mm. FRUIT ovoid, 15-20 x 12-14 mm, with persistant sepals 2-3 mm and persistent petals 3.5-6 x 5 mm, fruit verrucose when mature. SEED about 13 x 9 mm; endocarp with loose fibrous strands 10-22 mm long, the basal ones longest; endosperm ruminate for 2- mm. EOPHYLL bifid, with scaly petiole; scale leaves 2 (respectively 2 and 5-7 cm long). (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

This species differs from D. nossibensis in the number of leaves, the number of leaflets, and the size of the peduncle. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zoone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

This species is distinctive in its rather open clustering habit, fibrous leaf sheaths that do not form a well defined crownshaft (but lacking pendulous piassava) and the surprisingly long peduncle that projects beyond the leaves. Such inflorescences are reminiscent of those of the group of Dypsis species and Neodypsis, was one of the first pieces of evidence we discovered for the general blurring of generic boundaries within Dypsidinae, which has lead to the recognition of the single large genus Dypsis. Curious rather than beautiful, this palm is a distinctive feature of coastal white sand forests along the western side of the Masoala Peninsula and has been found nowhere else. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Endangered. Single site status, in a fragile habitat.

An interesting and very rare, newly described species that represents a link between the former Madagascar palm genera Neodypsis and Vonitra. It is known only from a single site in coastal forest on the Masoala Peninsula in north-eastern Madagascar. D. dransfieldii produces a small cluster of three to five stems that grow up to 8 cm (3 in) in diameter, each topped with a fairly compact crown of ascending, flat leaves. (RPS.com)

This is a very slow growing species in the subtropics and is best suited to the tropics but does still grow fine in a protected area in the subtropics in a frost free area, Dypsis dransfieldii is still very rare in cultivation even today but is a very attractive palm and once established it seems to be a lot harder and has lovely golden stems. (Utopia Palms & Cycads, Queensland, Australia.)

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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