Beccariophoenix madagascariensis Jum. & H.Perrier, Ann. Fac. Sci. Marseille 23: 35 (1915)

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  • A truly wonderful palm, beautiful, somewhat mysterious, and totally special. When this tree is in bud (and it often is) there seem to be torpedoes poking out of the crown; these are the extraordinary peduncular bracts at the tips of the long peduncles. A very rare species. The genus is most appropriately named for O. Beccari. Until the mid 1980"s the palm was virtually unknown and had been assumed to be extinct. The story of its rediscovery is told in Principes (Dransfield 1988). After the publication of this article, enthusiasts turned their attention to obtaining seeds, and soon large quantities were being exported from Madagascar. Seedlings from these introductions are already growing well around the world. In fact, young plants with their "windowed" leaves can be remarkably handsome! (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)A


Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Madagascarpresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B

Biology And Ecology


  • . Critical. At Mantady the cutting down of this beautiful tree continues; in July 1992 nine mature trees were seen that had been felled for their palm-heart. At the last count there were less than 20 mature trees left in Mantady, as well as some 20 in the southern population on white sand, in an area threatened by strip-mining. There are unconfirmed reports of another population near Toamasina where seed is said to be harvested for export. (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)A

Common Name



  • Solitary palm. TRUNK 2-12 m, 24-35 cm diam.; internodes 2-8 cm, very pale grey or pale brown, nodal scars 1.5-2.5 cm, stepped distally (to 5 cm proud); wood hard. LEAVES 11-30 in the crown, straight, 3.5-5 m; sheath 80-160 cm long, 20-26 cm in diameter, green to brown with a thin grey to rich brown tomentum, with large fibres at right angles, with 2 large triangular, slightly obtuse auricles, decomposing into large greyish fibres; petiole absent, but leaf base fibres disintegrating to give a "false petiole" to 80 cm long; rachis 3.5-3.7 m long (to 6 m in young plants), yellow-green, proximally 8.5 x 5 cm diam., in mid-leaf c. 2.5 cm wide; leaflets 100-130 on each side of the rachis, regular, stiff and spreading, not very rigid, rich shiny green, abaxially with white waxy bloom, proximal 44-100 x 1-1.5 cm, median 110-176 x 2.7-4.5 cm, distal 20-40 x 0.5-1.7 cm, transverse veinlets very conspicuous, brown ramenta conspicuous on the abaxial midrib, scattered red or pale brown scales present (but sometimes difficult to see) on the minor veins. INFLORESCENCE massive, interfoliar, several per tree, c. 120 cm; peduncle thick, 83-100 cm long, distally 10 x 6 cm in diameter; prophyll 45-90 cm long, c. 25 cm wide, borne at the base of the peduncle, two-keeled, brown, persistent; peduncular bract inserted at the apex of the peduncle on a thickened collar c. 3 cm wide, 68-80 cm, c. 14 cm in diameter, woody, thick (2-3 cm), beaked for c. 8 cm, splitting except at apex, circumscissile and deciduous, adaxially peach-rose to pale cream and slightly spongy, abaxially brown, occasionally with deep grooves while still in bud; second peduncular bract 21 cm long, thick and woody; rachis 5.5-10 cm long, with 31-46 first order branches; rachillae 43-62 cm, 5-8 mm across, each with a grossly swollen basal pulvinus; proximally with a few quadrads, medially with triads, distally with pairs or solitary staminate flowers; rachilla bracts narrow, rounded; flowers covered in white wax, otherwise yellowish, tinged with red. STAMINATE FLOWERS oblong, 7 mm wide; sepals 3 mm, keeled; petals 5 x as long as the sepals, 15 x 7 mm, ovate, woody, with small incurved mucro; filaments 1.5-2 mm, anthers 9 mm. PISTILLATE FLOWERS with 2 bracteoles, one small and ovate, the other much larger, forming a cupule; bud conical, 11 mm wide; sepals concave, 13 x 9 mm; petals less coriaceous, c. 11 x 11 mm; ovary irregularly globular. FRUIT purple-brown, brown-tomentose, ovoid, 35 x 25 mm, somewhat beaked with an acute tip, at the base with persistent perianth which is slightly accrescent; pulpa 3-4 mm thick; endocarp hard, woody, 1.5 mm thick. (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)A

Materials Examined

  • Moramanga: Analamazaotra area, without date (fl.), Perrier 12014 (Holotype P; isotype FI); Mantady, November 1986 (fl., fr.), Dransfield et al. JD6433 (AAU, BH, K, MO, P, TAN); Mantady, Dec. 1991 (fl., fr.), Beentje & Andriampaniry 4537 (BH, K, MO, P, TAN). Tolanaro: Manampanihy valley near Ampasimena, March 1947 (fl.,, Humbert 20572 (K, P); Ste. Luce, Dec. 1992 (, Beentje 4758 (K, TAN). (J. Dransfield & H. Beentje, The Palms of Madagascar. 1995)A