Chrysalidocarpus hovomantsina

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"Hovomantsina Palm"

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Soanierana-Ivongo, Madagascar, photo by Jason Schoneman
Scientific Classification
Genus: Chrysalidocarpus
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Hovomantsina (Betsimisaraka; 'mantsina' means stinking).

Habitat and Distribution

Madagascar. Only known from Maroantsetra and Mananara. Rain forest, steep slopes either
Ambodiriana reserve - Manompana, Madagascar. "Photo by Olivier Reilhes"
near valley bottom or near ridge crest; 50-300 m.


Solitary palm. TRUNK 6-15 m tall, 20-30 cm. in diam., near the crown 15-20 cm. in diam.; internodes 10-35 cm, pale to reddish-brown basally, grey-green distally, nodal scars 1-1.5 cm, pale brown; crownshaft well-developed, 1-1.2 m, about 25 cm. in diam., grey-green and covered in white wax except distally, where red-brown furry. LEAVES spirally inserted, occasionally tristichous, 6-7 in the crown, curved, with an untidy look, the pinnae held in all directions (plumose); sheath pale green to whitish, proximally waxy and glabrous, with distal dense soft pale reddish brown persistent tomentum, adaxially peach coloured; petiole 10-56 cm, 7 x 5.5 cm. in diam., channelled with sharp edges, with dense red-brown indument; rachis 3-3.5 m long, in mid-leaf 3.5 cm wide, with keel; pinnae 80-96 on each side of the rachis, grouped and fanned in 3s-6s, the group interval 3-7 cm, bent downwards at two-thirds of their length, the proximal 120-242 x 0.7- 2.4 cm, median 123-135 x 3.3-4 cm, distal 22-50 x 0.6-2 cm, connate for 1.5-4 cm, with a few large laciniate ramenta, without scattered scales. INFLORESCENCE infrafoliar, c. 0.5-1 x 0.5-1 m, branched to 2-3 orders; peduncle 18-26 cm. 7 x 3 cm. in diam.; prophyll 21-30 cm, borne at 3-4 cm above the base of the peduncle; peduncular bract deciduous, inserted at 9-11 cm from the base of the peduncle, 45-66 x 10-12 cm, not beaked or briefly beaked with triangular beak, split for 90%; non-tubular peduncular bract occasionally present on upper peduncle, to 20 cm; rachis 48 cm, with 14 branched and 10 unbranched first order branches; rachillae stiff or sub-pendulous, green to yellow-green, 16-40 cm long, 4-8 mm. in diam., glabrous, with dense flowers. STAMINATE FLOWERS only known in rather young bud, with sepals 2.1-3 x 2.5-2.8 mm, very hooded; petals < 1.5 mm; stamens 6, < 1.3 mm, probably versatile. PISTILLATE FLOWERS only known from the young fruit stage, with sepals 2.7-3.1 x 3-3.3 mm; petals 3.5-3.8 x 3-4 mm; staminodes 6, flat, tooth-shaped, 0.5 mm. FRUIT not known, except for the fibrous endocarp. SEED obovoid with pointed base, 9-10 x 7-8 mm, with homogeneous endosperm. EOPHYLL entire, deeply bifid. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Possibly closest to D. tokoravina, but with a totally different leaf sheath. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

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Comments and Curiosities

An impressive tree; we found a second site only three months before the book went to press. The leaf-sheaths are distinct from any other, with their lower parts white-waxy and a golden-brown furry part at the very top. The name comes directly from the local name, which means stinking and refers to the smelly palm-heart. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Critical. Only known from two sites, both of which are under pressure from agriculture; populations consist of few individuals. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Uses: Palm-heart smelly but still eaten; no other uses.

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. 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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