Dypsis lutea

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Dypsis (DIP-sis) lutea (loo-TEH-ah)
Dypsis lutea forêt de Vohimana.JPG
Vohimana réserve, Madagascar. Photo by Jean Pierre Riviere.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
Species: lutea (loo-TEH-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering & solitary.
Leaf type: Entire bifid.
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to Madagascar. Masoala and the Moramanga area. Lowland and submontane rain
Vohimana réserve, Madagascar. Photo by Jean Pierre Riviere.
forest; ridge top (?always); alt. 40-1100 m.


Clustering or solitary palm. STEM 2.5-3 m high, to 0.8 cm in diam., the distal internodes about 7 cm, blackish brown, covered in laciniate scales. LEAVES about 9 in the crown, entire; sheath 10-17 cm long, about 1 cm in diam., pale green, distally covered in dense red-brown laciniate scales when young, with or without triangular auricles to 3 mm long and laciniate; petiole absent or to 4.5 cm long, about 1.5 mm in diam., with brown laciniate scales mixed with silvery scales; blade obtriangular, 30-55 cm long, pale green, midrib/rachis 21-43 cm long, lobes 9-17 x 2.3-4.2 cm, main veins 7-17, scattered scales on the midrib and to a lesser extent on the veins, apices 5-15 mm wide and dentate, also dentate on the distal outside margins. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, yellow to orange, branched to 1 or 2 orders, 33-77 cm long; peduncle 19-60 cm, 2.5-5 mm in diam., densely scaly but glabrescent; prophyll 14-37 cm long, 0.5-1 cm wide, borne at 2.5-9 cm above the base of the peduncle, split for the distal 2.5 cm, with scattered scales; peduncular bract deciduous or persistent, inserted at 12-27 from the base of the peduncle, 13-31.5 cm long, split in the distal 4 cm, with scattered scales; rachis 4-16 cm long, glabrous, without or with up to 5 branched, and 4-11 unbranched first order branches, the proximal of the branched ones with up to 4 rachillae; rachillae 4-17 cm, with dense triads and dark yellow flowers. STAMINATE FLOWERS with sepals 1-1.5 x 1-1.4 mm; petals 2.1-2.5 x 1.4-1.6 mm; stamens 6, equal or offset for up to 0.3 mm, filaments 0.8-1 mm long, 0.2-0.3 mm diam., cylindrical with slightly triangular base, anthers 1-1.5 x 0.7-0.8 mm, dorsifixed, versatile, the locules parallel and obtuse; pistillode 0.4-1.1 mm high, 0.3-0.4 mm diam. PISTILLATE FLOWERS with sepals 1-1.2 x 1.2-1.6 mm, ciliolate; petals 2.8-3 x 2.2-2.7 mm, ciliolate?; staminodes 6, 0.3-0.6 mm long; gynoecium 2.8-3 mm high, 1.6-2.7 mm in diam. FRUITS (young) oblong, incurved, attenuate towards an obtuse apex. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Var. transiens was separated on the base of the peduncular bract being deciduous, not split at the apex, and beaked, whereas var. lutea has peduncular bract remaining, opening only at the apex, not beaked. Perrier 12002 has one inflorescence which differs strongly from the others on that specimen and looks very much like that of var. transiens, including the stouter prophyll, the deciduous peduncular bract and the inflorescence branched to two orders. Perrier 18391 shows a peduncular bract with a 1 cm long beak, just as in var. transiens. We see no reason to uphold the varieties. Decary 5064 is from Ivohibe: Ifandana, Sept. 1926 (bud), (P), and is very like D. lutea. It is 5 m high; the leaf is 62 cm long, with lobes 42 cm long; the inflorescence is branched to 2 orders, with a rachis of 24 cm with 15 branched and 10 unbranched first order branches; rachillae are 5-9 cm long. The staminate flowers are smaller in all dimensions, but they are in bud. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

A distinctive undergrowth species with fairly large, entire, pale green leaves and a branched inflorescence. The name lutea means golden yellow, and this alludes to the colour of the inflorescence. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Critical. There is only one recent collection, from an unprotected area which is being destroyed; the other collections are over eighty years old. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/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).

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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