Dypsis sahanofensis

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
Vatovavy, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Sahanofo Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to East Madagascar; only known from the type and one recent
Floribunda Palms, Hawaii.
collection (1995). Rain forest; 315-1400 m.


Clustering palm in groups of about 12. STEMS 5-6 m long, 3 (-8, fide Perrier) cm. in diam.; internodes 12-13 cm long. LEAVES with sheath 20-31 cm long, with sloping shoulders, adaxially dark red-brown, abaxially pale green to mid-brown with some wax and orangebrown caducous scattered scales; petiole 17-18 cm long, proximally about 1.5 x 0.5 cm, distally c. 1.1 x 0.5 cm, densely scaly on both surfaces, convex on both surfaces with sharp margins; rachis about 1 m long, in mid-leaf 0.5-0.7 cm wide, abaxially with scattered scales, adaxially with a few scales, slightly keeled; leaflets 23-24 on each side of the rachis, grouped to irregular and slightly fanned within the groups, in mid-leaf in groups of 3-5, the groups at intervals of 3-13 cm, the leaflets within the groups at intervals of 0.2-2.5 cm, proximal 26-33 x 0.6-1.4 cm, median 29- 38 x 1.7-3 cm, distal 13-23 x 0.5-1.5 cm, glabrous or nearly so, main vein 1, apices attenuate. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, branched to 2 orders; peduncle about 43 cm, proximally 1.7 x 0.4 cm, distally 1.3 x 0.9 cm, densely reddish-scaly; prophyll 29-44 cm long, borne at 9-25 cm above the base of the peduncle, glabrous or nearly so; peduncular bract inserted at 20-33 cm from the base of the peduncle, c. 34 cm long, deciduous; non-tubular peduncular bract inserted at about 27 cm from the base of the peduncle, 5 mm long; rachis about 27 cm, puberulous, with about 5 branched, and 11-16 unbranched first order branches, the proximal of these with a secondary rachis of up to 5 cm long and 7 x 2.5 mm diam. at base, with up to 3 rachillae; rachillae 19-33 cm long, 1-3.5 mm in diam., puberulous, with very distant triads in pits with proud acute rachilla bracts. STAMINATE FLOWERS only seen in young bud: sepals to 1.5 x 1.3 mm, keeled and slightly hooded; petals still smaller than the sepals at this stage; stamens still less than 0.3 mm, but clearly 6, anthers probably versatile. PISTILLATE FLOWERS with sepals 2.6-3.2 x 2.5-3 mm; petals connate for 0.6-0.8 mm, free for 5.1-5.7 x 3-3.5 mm; staminodes 6, 0.8-1.2 mm long; ovary 5-5.3 x 2-2.2 mm. FRUIT not seen. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

The type at P consists of three sheets. Two sheets of Perrier 12049, Neophloga littoralis, (sheath and middle part of rachis) were originally excluded by us as not belonging to that taxon. In fact the two pieces not only match those of the type of D. sahanofensis, but fit parts of the rachis on the type sheet! There is no doubt that they are the same number; the sheath is figured in Jumelle & Perrier (1913). (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

This was one of our mysteries, only known from the type (collected in 1911) with very fragmentary material and no description to speak of. Then, just before taking this book to press, we visited Mt Vatovavy, some 70 miles/100 kilometers from the type locality, and we collected a medium-sized palm which turned out to match the type material beautifully. This kind of discovery gives a real thrill! (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Conservation: Endangered. The forest on Vatovavy is not protected, except by local fady (taboos), and population numbers were low. If forest clearance in the area continues, the status will become Critical within a few years. (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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