Dypsis thiryana

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Dypsis (DIP-sis)
thiryana (teer-ih-AHN-ah)
DtIMG 0438 Dypsis sp aff thiryana type rachilla 8 14.4cm.jpg
Madagascar. Photo by Clayton York, Utopia Palms & Cycads
Scientific Classification
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis)
thiryana (teer-ih-AHN-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Clustering, rarely solitary.
Leaf type: 18-28 blades.
Survivability index
Common names
Tsinkiara, Sinkarambolavo maroampototra, Taokonampotatra (Betsimisaraka).

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to Madagascar. Marojejy and Masoala to Anosibe-an-Ala. Lowland rain forest,
Antanombe, Madagascar. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
slight to steep slope or ridgetop; alt. 220-900 m.


Clustering palm in tufts of 2-4 (solitary according to Miller & Lowry 3942, Benoist 862, and in the last specimen confirmed by roots). STEMS 0.1-1 m high (the type states 5 m, which we find hard to believe), 0.4-0.6 cm in diam.; internodes 0.4-4 cm, brown, densely red-scaly; nodal scars 1-2 mm. LEAVES 8-10 in the crown, porrect; sheath 6-11 cm long, about 0.6 cm in diam., open for 1-2 cm, distally with dense red-brown and pale white scales, with rounded shoulders or with small triangular bumps to 2 mm high; petiole 1-18 cm long, 1.5-2 mm in diam., densely scaly or with scattered scales; rachis 14-30 cm long, in mid-leaf 1-1.5 mm in diam., densely scaly or with scattered scales; leaflets 9-14 on each side of the rachis, rich shiny green to dark green, almost regular or (more often) in groups of 2-3, the group interval 1-4 cm, the proximal 2-7 x 0.2-1.2 cm, the median 3-11 x 0.6-1.3 (-2.5) cm, cuneate at the base, with 1 (3) main vein(s), unequally praemorse and dentate at the apex, the distal half prolonged and with a dentate acumen, with some basal scales but glabrescent, rarely with the distal margin scaly, distal 3-10 x 0.8-3.2 cm, connate for 1.2-3.2 cm, with 4 main veins, truncate and dentate for up to 4 cm. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, erect, branched to 1 order (one unbranched in Perrier 17214); peduncle 12-26 cm long, 1.5-2 mm in diam., ± glabrous; prophyll 10-17 cm long, to 3 mm wide, borne at up to 5 cm above the base of the peduncle, opening only near the apex, pale brown with scattered scales; peduncular bract inserted at 7-15 cm from the base of the peduncle, 6-11 cm long, opening only in the distal 2-3 cm, pale brown with scattered scales; second tubular peduncular bract often (always?) present at 12-20 cm from the base of the peduncle, 0.9-2.5 cm long, shortly tubular with a long acumen; non-tubular bract sometimes present near the rachis, 1.6 mm long; rachis 0-2.5 (-11.5) cm long, glabrous, with (1-) 2-4 (-8) rachillae; rachillae (2.5-) 6-15 cm long, about 1 mm in diam., glabrous, with distant superficial triads and white flowers. STAMINATE FLOWERS with sepals 0.7-1 x 0.8-1 mm, the outer more keeled than the inner, orbicular, ciliolate; petals on a 0.6 mm high receptacle, 1.9-2.2 x 1-1.3 mm, elliptic or ovate, acute, striate; stamens 6, with the antepetalous filaments inserted slightly above the antesepalous ones, filaments connate for 0.15 mm, 0.8-0.9 mm long, thin, anthers dorsifixed and versatile, 1.1-1.2 x 0.4 mm, the locules parallel, slightly apiculate; pistillode about 0.5 x 0.2 mm. PISTILLATE FLOWERS with sepals imbricate, 1-1.3 x 1.3-1.5 mm, orbicular, ciliolate; petals proximally ovate and imbricate, distally triangular, fleshy and valvate, 2.1-3.3 x 1.2-2.6 mm, striate; staminodes 6, 0.2-0.3 mm; ovary 1-2 x 0.8-1.5 mm, ovoid or ellipsoid with pointed apex. FRUIT bright red, ellipsoid, 9-11 x 3-5 mm. SEED about 9 x 2-3 mm, with homogeneous endosperm. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

The Tsinkiara on the type has been taken for a locality, but is actually a Betsimisaraka name for any small palm. Baker briefly mentions the Meller specimen in a note under N. rhodotricha in J. Linn. Soc. 22: 526 (1887) as distinct, but refrains from naming it. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a

Comments and Curiosities

This is not only one of the most attractive small palms from Madagascar, but also one of the most easily identified. The small wedge-shaped praemorse leaflets are found only in this species and in D. trapezoidea. In the field it can easily be overlooked as the leaflets give the leaves a rather un-palm-like appearance, one more reminiscent of a fern. This would clearly be a wonderful palm to grow as a potted plant; sadly, ripe fruit seem very rarely to be produced in quantity. The name refers to the collector of the type; we have been unable to find any details about him. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

"From the photos it seems like only the younger plants seem to be regularly pinnate and as they mature they start to group there leaflets with small intervals/spacing between these groups of leaflets, in some locality’s there are many of these palms growing in large colony’s." (Clayton York, Utopia Palms & Cycads)

Conservation: Rare. Spread over a fairly large area, though never common; usually a few individuals per population. (J. Dransfield and H. Beentje. 1995)/Palmweb.

Uses: Meller says the plant is used for thatching; his specimen is all of 60 cm tall, roots included, and we would doubt his statement. (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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