Dypsis makirae

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
makirae (mah-KEE-reh)
In habitat. Photo-Rare Palm Seeds.com
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
makirae (mah-KEE-reh)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Tsingovatra (Betsimisaraka).

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to Northeast Madagascar, known from several localities in the eastern central
In habitat; Makira Protected Area, Ankirindo, Madagascar, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
part of the Makira protected area. Primary rain forest, on steep slopes near ridge tops, alt. 600-900 m.


Solitary palm. Stem 4-5 m high, about 6 cm in diam. Leaves 10-13 in the crown, spiral; sheath 14-16 cm, 1.8-2.2 cm in diam., closed, forming well-defined crownshaft, brown with dense red pubescence in the upper part, triangular auricles up to 8 mm; petiole 4-15 cm long, 3-6 mm wide, slightly or densely pubescent/scaly, adaxially flattened; leaf rachis 20.5-25 cm long, 3-6 mm wide in mid-leaf, triangular in section, pubescent/scaly; leaflets lanceolate, strongly cucullate, 4-8 on each side of the rachis, in groups of 2-4 leaflets, groups 11-12.5 cm apart, the proximal leaflets 12-17 × 2.4-5.2 cm, median leaflets 20.5-24 × 2.7-5.5 cm, distal leaflets 14-17 × 3-7.5 cm, width of leaflet base at insertion on rachis 0.5-3 cm, distal leaflet pair often multifold, acumen 0.8- 4 cm, abaxial surface with scattered to abundant scales in proximal part and occasionally bands of minute punctiform scales on the margin and along the blade. Inflorescence interfoliar, branched to 2 orders, erect; peduncle 38-40 cm long, 0.8-1.7 cm wide, densely pubescent; prophyll 28-34 cm long, 2-3 cm wide, borne 7 cm above the base of peduncle, with sparse to dense reddish tomentum, 2-keeled, opening distally 5.5-9 cm; peduncular bract not seen, deciduous, inserted at 23-25 cm from the base of peduncle; rachis 23-37 cm long including terminal rachilla, slightly to densely pubescent, with 2-4 branched and 7-10 unbranched first order branches, the proximal with a secondary rachis up to 7.5 cm, with up to 3 rachillae; rachillae 16-32 cm long, 2-5 mm in diam., densely puberulous, triads rather closely packed in shallow pits. Flowers not seen. Fruits yellowish, ellipsoid, slightly curved 9-12 × 3-4 mm, mesocarp fleshy, endocarp fibrous. Seeds about 9 × 2 mm, pointed at the apex, homogeneous endosperm. (M. Rakotoarinivo, M.S.Trudgen and W.J.Baker. 2009)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Vegetatively, this palm superficially resembles Dypsis bonsai or some forms of D. procumbens. However, the inflorescence is composed of long, thick rachillae with flowers and fruits borne in shallow pits, suggesting a relationship with the species of Dypsis Group 7 (e.g. D. boiviniana, D. sanctaemariae, D. mangorensis) defined by Dransfield and Beentje (1995). It is easily distinguished by the almost disproportionately robust, erect inflorescences. (M. Rakotoarinivo, M.S.Trudgen and W.J.Baker. 2009)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

Conservation: Vulnerable [VU (D1+2)],(provisional assessment). A common palm along the eastern edge of the central part of Makira. The population is estimated to exceed one thousand indviduals, many occurring within the protected area. (M. Rakotoarinivo, M.S.Trudgen and W.J.Baker. 2009)/Palmweb.

The discovery of this marvelous small palm in the montane rainforests of northeastern Madagascar in 2005 caused quite a stir in the palm world (See PALMS Vol. 53(3). It is always surprising what jewels the ever diminishing forests of Madagascar still yield! Dypsis makirae is a medium-sized, slender palm to about 5 m (16 ft.) tall with a smooth trunk to 6 cm (2 in.) in diameter. A small, furry reddish brown crownshaft holds a relatively dense crown of arching leaves with up to 16 very broad, elliptic, leathery, dark glossy green leaflets that are curled downwards and finely pointed towards the tip. They are arranged in a few dense groups and give the plant a very unique and beautiful look. It is perhaps best suited to cultivation in a tropical climate, but since it does occur at some altitude (600 to 900 m / 2000- 3000 ft.), it may well adapt to warm temperate conditions, ideally in a protected spot under established canopy. (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).

M. Rakotoarinivo, M.S.Trudgen & W.J.Baker. 2009. The Palms of the Makira Protected Area, Madagascar.
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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