Dypsis gronophyllum

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
gronophyllum (groh-NO-fill-uhm)
growing in the Vondrozo area of Southeast Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
gronophyllum (groh-NO-fill-uhm)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to Madagascar. Southeast Madagascar, known only from the forest of Vondrozo. Lowland
From the forest of Vondrozo, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. Mijoro Rakotoarinivo.
humid evergreen forest on white sands, in valley bottoms in very humid forest; alt. 590 m.


Clustering palm with 2 - 4 stems. Stems slender, to 4 m tall, 1 - 1.5 cm in diam., erect, grey brown, internodes 1 - 4 cm long, covered with red scales below the crown, lenticels present in the lower part of the stems, nodal scars 1 - 2 mm wide. Leaves 7 - 12 in the crown, pinnate, porrect to spreading; sheaths 11 - 13.8 cm long, 1.4 - 2 cm in diam., open for 2.2 - 7 cm in the upper part, forming a well defined crownshaft, sparsely to densely covered in red hairs on the abaxial surface, auricles 1.8 - 3.4 × 0.3 - 0.7 cm; petiole 1.7 - 5 cm long, about 4 mm wide, adaxially flattened, abaxially rounded, scaly; leaf rachis 19.5 - 37 cm long, in midleaf 1 - 1.5 mm wide, triangular in cross section; leaflets irregularly arranged, 7 - 9 on each side of the rachis, at intervals of 1.4 - 8 cm, blade leathery, dark bluish green, proximal leaflets 9 - 18 × 0.8 - 1.4 cm, median leaflets 7 - 15 × 2.2 - 3 cm, distal leaflets 5 - 9 × 2.4 - 3.5 cm, irregularly praemorse, bands of scattered red scales along margins and occasionally on the major and minor veins. Inflorescence interfoliar, branching to 1 or 2 orders, peduncle 28 - 42 cm long, 4 - 5 mm in diam., densely hairy in exposed parts; prophyll 9 - 13 × 0.8 - 1 cm, inserted at 2 - 5 cm from the base of the peduncle, distal part open for 2 - 3.5 cm, 2-keeled, sparsely to densely scaly; peduncular bract inserted at about 10 cm from the base of the peduncle, 24 - 27 cm long, about 7 mm in the cross section, split to 3 - 5 cm, scaly, persistent; rachis 14 - 20 cm long, densely puberulous, with 4 - 6 branched and/or 7 - 11 unbranched first order branches; rachillae 3.6 - 8 cm long, 1 - 1.5 mm in diam., glabrous, triads inserted at a distance of 1.5 - 3 mm, axis in first order branches up to 3 cm long. Staminate flowers with sepals about 0.8 × 1 mm, imbricate, slightly waxy; petals 3, ellipsoid, valvate, striate, about 1.5 × 1 mm; stamens 6, uniseriate, filaments about 0.4 mm, anthers 0.8 - 1 × 0.2 - 0.5 mm, elongate, medifixed, versatile; pistillode minute, about 0.8 mm. Pistillate flowers with sepals , about 0.8 - 1 × 1 - 1.5 mm, imbricate, keeled, irregularly waxy, dentate at the margins; petals 3, about 2 × 1 mm, ellipsoid, striate; gynoecium about 1 mm high, staminodes 6, much smaller and encircling the gynoecium. Fruits not seen. (M. Rakotoarinivo and J. Dransfield. 2010)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Related to the species defined by Dransfield & Beentje (1995) in group 8 of Dypsis. This species differs from Dypsis thiryana and D. trapezoidea in its much larger habit, its much broader and thicker leaflets and much more robust inflorescences. It differs from D. schatzii (Beentje) by its larger size and the pinnate leaves, with praemorse leaflets instead of possessing an entire bifid leaf. The species epithet is based on the Greek for eroded or grooved leaf, referring to the praemorse leaflet tips, but it also alludes to the striking resemblance in habit between this Dypsis, and the completely unrelated Hydriastele pinangoides (Becc.) W. J. Baker & Loo from New Guinea, previously included in the now synonymised genus Gronophyllum. (M. Rakotoarinivo and J. Dransfield. 2010)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

Conservation: Critically Endangered [CR (B2a+b(iii); D)]. Known only from Vondrozo where it is restricted to humid areas, all of these in an area less than 10 km2. About 40 mature individuals have been seen in the field while its habitat is subject to human exploitation for wood or for other natural resources. (M. Rakotoarinivo and J. Dransfield. 2010)/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).

Rakotoarinivo, M. & Dransfield, J. 2010. New species of Dypsis and Ravenea (Arecaceae) from Madagascar.
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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