Dypsis glabrescens (Becc.) Becc., Palme Madagascar : 16 (1912)

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  • A small solitary or clustering palm of the undergrowth of lowland forest in the north-east of the island. The species epithet, Latin for becoming glabrous (lacking hairs) refers to the branches of the inflorescence. In some populations, the rachillae are quite hairy when they are newly expanded. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


Madagascar, only known from Î;le Sainte Marie, Mananara Avaratra and Betampona. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • This species resembles D. mocquerysiana in its small stature and entire-bifid or sparsely divided leaf and the position of the three stamens. It differs, however, in the inflorescence that has a much shorter rachis bearing many fewer rather uniform and relatively long rachillae that generally diverge at an acute angle; the rachillae are usually minutely papillose. Perrier 12037, cited in Flora of Madagascar under D. glabrescens, has antesepalous stamens, so cannot belong to D. glabrescens. It is included under D. forficifolia. A palm from Betampona, represented by Beentje 4488 matches D. glabrescens in all its parts except for lacking the minute papillosity of the rachillae of D. glabrescens. At first we thought that the specimens from Mananara Avaratra represented an undescribed taxon, but then a new collection from the type locality of D. glabrescens has illustrated a wider range of variation into which the Mananara collections fit. Razanaparany RN10018 (K, P) from nearby Ambodiriana, has similar rachillae to Beentje 4488, but has a robust leaf with many scales and of quite different texture and form and with a very much larger inflorescence. We have not been able to match this incomplete collection. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Biology And Ecology

  • Rain forest; tending to occur in valley bottoms. 50-600 m. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Endangered; despite being known from three localities, all populations are small. Only in Betampona does the palm occur within a reserve. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Common Name

  • Not recorded. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Not recorded. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Slender solitary or clustering undergrowth palmlet to 3 m tall. STEM 7-10 mm diam., internode to 9-30 mm, glabrous. LEAVES 5-6 in crown; sheath 6-8 cm long, 8-11 mm diam., striate, drying reddish brown, with scattered to dense caducous scales, auricles membranous, 12-16 x 2-3 mm; petiole 1-12 cm, 2-2.5 mm wide near base; rachis 9 -19 cm; blade entire bifid, to 33 cm long, split to almost two thirds the length or with 2-4 leaflets on each side of the rachis, diverging at an acute angle, rather close, the longest at the base to 26 x 1.5-2.8 cm, apical leaflets to 20 x 1.5 cm, apical leaflet tips somewhat contracted, blunt, only very shallowly lobed, adaxial surface with sparse minute brown punctiform scales, abaxially drying pale green, with abundant minute brown punctiform scales and bands of caducous brown hairs. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, shorter than the leaves, branching to 1 order; peduncle 18-23 cm long, c. 2 mm diam., with scattered dark brown trichomes; prophyll 6-11 x 0.4 cm, dull brown, with scattered caducous scales; peduncular bract similar, but exceeding the prophyll by 7-9 cm; rachis 6-11 cm, sparsely to densely covered with caducous brown trichomes, eventually glabrescent; rachillae c. 14-25, diverging at a ± acute or right angle, 4-7 cm long, with scattered dark brown trichomes or almost glabrous, but covered in numerous minute papillae or smooth (Beentje 4488), triads c. 1-3 mm distant, rachilla bracts inconspicuous, entire. STAMINATE FLOWERS c. 1.1 mm diam.; sepals c. 0.7 x 0.8 mm, rounded, broad imbricate, erose at margin, keeled; petals at anthesis very fleshy, striate, c. 1.5 x 1.6 mm, basally very briefly joined, the lobes gaping slightly; stamens 3, antepetalous, alternating with 3 antesepalous staminodes, anthers didymous, c. 0.2 x 0.1 mm, pistillode conical, minute. PISTILLATE FLOWER bud rounded, c. 1 mm diam.; sepals erose margined, broadly imbricate, c. 0.8 x 0.9 mm;petals valvate apically, strongly imbricate at base, fleshy, 1.2 x 1 mm; staminodes 6 (fide Beccari); ovary c. 0.8 mm diam. FRUIT cherry-red at maturity, ovoid, 13-15 x 10-11 mm. SEED 10 x 6 mm, endosperm homogenous. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Materials Examined

  • Mananara Avaratra: 10 km west of Antanambe, April 1992 (fl.), Beentje & Dransfield 4631 (BH, K, MO, P, TAN); idem, Oct. 1994 (fl., fr.), Dransfield & Beentje JD7501 (K, TAN). Î;le Sainte Marie: Tafondrou, July 1849 (fl.), Boivin 1709 (Holotype P; isotype fragment FI); Forêt de Kalalao, Nov. 1994 (dead infl.), Dransfield et al. JD7530 (K, TAN). Toamasina: Betampona, Oct. 1991 (fl.), Beentje 4488 (BH, K, MO, P, TAN). (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


    A. Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar