Dypsis pulchella

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
pulchella (pool-KEHL-lah)
GBPIX photo 515054.jpg
Andasibe, Madagascar - (2012) - East Coast of Madagascar. "Photo by Olivier Reilhes"
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
pulchella (pool-KEHL-lah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering.
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

East Madagascar, Andasibe and lower Mangoro. Rain forest; 300-1000 m.
Andasibe, Madagascar - (2012) - East Coast of Madagascar. "Photo by Olivier Reilhes"
(J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)/Palmweb.


Slender, ?clustering palm of the forest undergrowth. STEMS probably not exceeding 1 m tall, 4-7 mm in diam., internodes 8-13 mm, with sparse scattered dark brown scales. LEAVES 5-8 in the crown; sheath 3-6 cm long, about 1 cm in diam., covered with scattered dark brown scales, auricles triangular, to 15 x 5 mm, membranous, soon disintegrating; petiole absent or to 2 cm long, about 2 mm wide, with scattered dark brown scales; blade entire, bifid, plicate, 20-23 cm long, 8-10 cm wide, divided to just under to over half the length, costa 6-11 cm long, the two lobes 12-15 x 2.5-3 cm, adaxially with scattered brown punctiform scales, abaxially densely covered with brown punctiform scales and larger laciniate scales in bands, leaf tips shallowly lobed. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, shorter than the leaves, branched to 1 order; peduncle 13-17 cm long, 1-1.5 mm in diam., with scattered dark brown laciniate scales; prophyll inserted about 2.5 cm above the base of the peduncle, 5-12 cm long, about 7 mm wide, membranous, with scattered dark brown scales; peduncular bract inserted 3-8 cm above the prophyll insertion, 6-9 cm long, about 7 mm wide; rachis 2.5-4 cm long, straight or somewhat zigzag, bearing scattered dark brown scales; rachillae 6-9, 2.5-3.5 cm long, about 1 mm in diam., dark brown scaly, triads about 1-3.5 mm distant, rachilla surface with scattered dark laciniate scales and minutely papillose. STAMINATE FLOWER about 2.5 x 1.5 mm; sepals rounded, 1.1 x 1.1 mm, irregularly keeled; petals triangular, 1.6 x 1.3 mm, striate; stamens 6, biseriate, antepetalous filaments 0.8 x 0.2 mm, antesepalous filaments 0.5 x 0.2 mm, anthers didymous, the antesepalous about 0.4 x 0.4 mm, the antepetalous smaller; pistillode scarcely evident. PISTILLATE FLOWER bud immature, about 1 mm in diam. FRUIT, only immature known, fusiform, 6-7 x 2-3 mm. (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

S. This taxon was included in the folders of D. louvelii in the Paris Herbarium. However, the inflorescence has a relatively shorter peduncle and the sometimes zigzag rachis gives the inflorescence a different appearance, but it is the staminate flowers which immediately separate the taxon from D. louvelii. There are six biseriate stamens, in form reminiscent of those of D. nodifera. The two collections from the lower Mangoro are clearly conspecific; the collection from Andasibe differs slightly in having a zigzag inflorescence rachis. (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)/Palmweb.

Trunks erect, clustered, less than 15 cm in diam., clustering, erect, with conspicuous nodal rings, unarmed, occasionally branching near base. Leaves: leaf bases unarmed, yellowish, forming distinct crownshaft; blade pinnate [undivided], unarmed; plication reduplicate; segments lanceolate, evenly spaced, strongly ascending; apices acuminate. Inflorescences axillary below crown of leaves, paniculate, with 3 orders of branching; prophyll small; peduncular bracts caducous, tubular. Flowers unisexual, sessile, in triads of 1 pistillate flower flanked by 2 staminate flowers. Staminate flowers: sepals 3, imbricate, free; petals 3, briefly connate basally, valvate; stamens 6, free; anthers dorsifixed; pistillode present. Pistillate flowers: sepals 3, imbricate, free; petals 3, imbricate, free; staminodes 6, minute; pistil 1; ovules 1; stigmas 3. Fruits drupes, ellipsoid; exocarp yellow, smooth; mesocarp fleshy; endocarp thin, fibrous, terete in cross section. Seeds ovoid; endosperm homogeneous; embryo subbasal; eophyll 2-cleft; segments lanceolate. (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

Conservation: Critically endangered (ICUN Redlist). Known from three widely separated locations but the species was not recorded since 1925 in Andasibe and Mahanoro area. The recent collection is from Andilamena where fewer than 20 individuals have been recorded. Based on this population information, this species is listed as Critically Endangered (CR). It would probably also qualify for CR under criterion C2a(i) but that requires additional data on the population structure. Surveys are required to determine if this is the only remaining population and if so, urgent steps are required to prevent it from going extinct. This is a very rare palm with fewer than 20 individuals recorded. The population trend is unknown but possibly declining. The main threat to this species is habitat loss through clearance for shifting agriculture and logging. There are also impacts to the habitat from illegal ruby mining. The species does not occur in any protected areas. Further surveys are required to see if the species occurs elsewhere. Given the small population size, urgent action may be required to prevent this species from going extinct.(Rakotoarinivo, M. & Dransfield, J. 2010-12-17)

Loose in cover, Species presumed extinct, not seen for sixty eight years (www.efloras.org).

A dwarf palm from the understorey of high altitude rainforest (to 1000 m (3300 ft) a.s.l.) in eastern Madagascar. It is similar to D. louvelii. Its thin stems are only about 5 mm (1/5 in) in diameter and the crown consists of a few small, bifid leaves. This plant was believed to be extinct and has not been seen in the wild for over 70 years, let alone introduced into cultivation. It would do well in tropical and subtropical climates and probably also make a nice potted plant. (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).

J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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