Dypsis sp. 'black stem'

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
sp. 'black stem'
Dypsis sp. 'Black Stem' cr.jpg
Habitat, Madagascar.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
sp. 'black stem'
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

From the high plateau of Madagascar and first "discovered" at the Vakona Lodge. In
Andasibe, Maromizaha - Madagascar (2014) - East Coast of Madagascar. Photo by "Olivier Reilhes"
November of 2014 what may be the first photos and encounter with this palm in habitat was made by Olivier Reilhes in Andasibe, Maromizaha, and his photos are included below in the gallery.


Using common names, especially when given to Dypsis, ends up becoming a lesson in frustration and confusion. Like D. sp. 'white stem,' D. sp. 'black stem' has come to mean different things to different people. The palm pictured on this page, although given the D. 'black stem' by some, is also the same palm that was later known as D. sp.'Vakona Lodge," which has subsequently been positively identified as a variation of D. baronii.

The palm initially called D. 'black stem' in California is apparently turning out to be D. psammophila. And it is possibly there are other species which have been given this name in different locations worldwide when a black stem or black petiole is apparent in a Dypsis species.


Since this is a variation of Dypsis baronii, and since the plants that have been grown from seeds collected at Vakona Lodge have been growing as one would expect D. baronii to grow, cultural conditions can be said to be the same as Dypsis baronii.

Comments and Curiosities

When photos of this palm were first made available, it created quite a ruckus. As it is such a stunning palm, and because nothing like it had been available at the time, many "theories" as to its ID began floating around. Seeds were collected in early 2007 and were grown for sale in a Hawaiian nursery. Those few survivng plants are now in a few gardens in Hawaii and California and may soon begin to produce seed of their own. Around about 2011-12, a trained palm botanist in Madagascar positively identified it as D. baronii which was already known to have some variabiltiy. It will soon be known the extent to which the unique coloration of this palm continues to display outside of its native habitat. And any particular cultural needs will become apparent as well. It can be said so far that it grows great in Hawaii, but may struggle somewhat in So. Cal. Time will tell.

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

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