Marojejya darianii

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Marojejya (mahr-oh-jeh-JEE-yah)
darianii (dar-ee-ahn'-ee)
Bill Langer giving scale. Hawaii.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Marojejya (mahr-oh-jeh-JEE-yah)
darianii (dar-ee-ahn'-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Entire, with serrations.
Survivability index
Common names
Ravimbe ("big leaf", Betsimisaraka).

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic to northeast Madagascar where it occurs between Ampasimanolotra and Masoala Peninsula.
Lyon Arboretum, Hawaii. Photo by Dr. William J. Baker, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Remote upland swamp in valley bottom; 400-450 m. The population of this species is small as only about 80 mature trees in total are estimated across the five sites where it occurs. The population is probably decreasing.


Solitary, monoecious medium-sized palm. TRUNK 8-15 m tall, 15-35 cm. in diam., when young covered in leaf bases and then appearing wider, when older becoming bare with warty lumps, pale grey-brown, very obscurely ringed; internodes short, with scattered short spine-like adventitious roots. LEAVES 20–30 in the crown, stiffly erect, entire, bifid, pinnately ribbed, becoming tattered with age; sheath bright green with 2 conspicuous large rounded auricles, 10–12 cm wide; petiole absent; rachis about 15 cm wide near base, spongy in texture, abaxially covered in white indument, adaxially glabrous; blade 3.5–5 m, bifid in apical 20–50 cm or sub-praemorse, proximally with margins decurrent into the sheath, gradually widening, 1–1.2 m wide at widest point at 66%, multi-fold, each fold with a distinct midrib and faint veins, margins finely serrate, adaxially glabrous, abaxially with abundant pale floccose scales on ribs, with scattered minute dotlike scales on blade. INFLORESCENCE with peduncle c. 50 cm long; peduncular bract and prophyll membranous. STAMINATE INFLORESCENCE with peduncle distally about 3 x 2.8 cm. in diam.; rachis about 8 cm long, with about 35? closely packed erect rachillae; rachilla catkin-like, about 18–25 cm long, 7–8 mm across, apparently bearing flowers to the tip; bracts about 2 x 1.75 mm, spirally arranged, congested, horizontally inserted, joined laterally and forming pits about 2 mm across and deep, the free tips apiculate, distally pointing, the exposed part densely tomentose except at the tip, the tip extending between the staminate flowers; floral bracts minute.


"These palms definitely do best in a shaded, or at least partly shaded, area when they are smaller. As they get larger they can take a fair amount of sun even though they will probably always look their best in partial shade - no matter what size. The more rain they get, the better they will look and the better they will grow. So, it's important to plant them under canopy that will allow the rain to come straight through. Or in a little clearing where they get shade from taller palms/trees most of the day, but where the rain can fall straight onto them. I've planted a bunch of these, because they really like it here. Initially planted five of them in July 1996, from 1G and 2G pots. They were all less than 2 ft tall at the time. Lost one of them in July 2003 after a period of dry and hot weather. That individual was the one (of the initial five) that was most exposed to full sun. It was about 10 ft tall at the time. All the other four continue to grow and thrive, and after the initial five I've planted quite a few additional ones. Here are two different groups. The first one is underneath a large (native) Tetraplasandra hawaiensis trees, and those palms are probably marginally better looking than the second group, which is a bit more exposed to sun." (Bo-Göran)

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Comments and Curiosities

Ever since its discovery in 1983 this has been one of the most sought-after of all Madagascar palms. Tales of the presence of a huge entire-leafed palm growing in the hills near Maroantsetra began circulating in the early 1980s, and through dogged persistence Californian palm enthusiast Mardy Darian, with the help of Jean Gerard and Dominique Halleux, tracked it down. JD can remember the excited phone calls from Mardy Darian describing it. The first description that appeared in Principes (Dransfield & Uhl 1984a) was based on fragments and photographs, sent by Mardy Darian. These could not prepare one for the sheer size and beauty of the palm as it grows in a small peat swamp in the hills above Sahavary.

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to, 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. 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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