Dypsis lastelliana (Baill.) Beentje & J.Dransf., Palms Madagascar : 175 (1995)

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  • This is a very elegant species, now widespread in cultivation. The densely red-brown hairy crownshaft is particularly ornamental. In cultivation it seems to require warmer and moister conditions than D. leptocheilos. The name refers to the collector of the type, de Lastell√©. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (https://github.com/tdwg/wgsrpd)
Madagascar present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
NW, NE and E Madagascar. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • The type consists of a partial inflorescence with staminate and pistillate buds, but there is no doubt that it is conspecific with the other cited material; Miller & Randrianasolo 4491 is at the same stage of development and is an almost exact match.
    Baillon mentions another de Lastellé specimen in the protologue, this one with fruits, and states this probably belongs to another species. The fruit has homogeneous endosperm. Beccari (1906, l.c.) describes the proper fruit of D. lastelliana from a Baron collection, and identified the fruiting specimen of de Lastellé as Chrysalidocarpus piluliferus (= D. pilulifera). (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Biology And Ecology

  • Moist lowland forest on slopes (gneiss, quartz, granite), often rather open or near forest mar
    gins, or near water, in ravines, also in coastal forest on white sand; 1-450 m. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Not threatened. Seems to be fairly widespread, over a wide altitude range. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Common Name

  • Menavozona (Betsimisaraka, meaning Red Neck, referring to the leaf sheath), Sira or Ravintsira (Betsimisaraka, meaning Salt or Salt Leaf, referring to the former practice of making salt from the pith). (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Pith formerly used to make salt; palm-heart bitter, inedible, said to be poisonous by the Sakalava and Tsimihety. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Solitary palm. TRUNK 5-15 m tall, 18-25 cm diam., with swollen base; wood hard; internodes 8-10 cm, pale green to grey waxy green, nodal scars c. 4 cm, pale brown; crownshaft 70-75 cm tall, rich velvet red-brown. LEAVES 9-15 in the crown, spirally inserted; sheath 40- 60 cm long, partially open, adaxially brilliant cherry-red, abaxially densely red-brown pubescent; petiole 0-10 cm long, proximally to 11 x 3.5 cm, distally c. 6 x 3.7 cm, channelled; rachis yellowish, to 3.8 m long, in mid-leaf 1.2-2.2 x 1.5-1.6 cm diam. and here either channelled or keeled, glabrous, sometimes waxy; leaflets (50 -) 94-102 on each side of the rachis, regular, somewhat pendulous, the proximal 39-66 x 0.7-2 cm, median 56-89 x 2.4-4.3 cm, distal 18-54 x 0.4-2.3 cm, with a few tufts of laciniate ramenta on the proximal part of the abaxial midrib, but otherwise glabrous, main veins 1, prominent adaxially, as well as margins thickened, apices bifid and acute. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, branched to 3 orders, spreading, 1.3-2.2 x 1.2 m; peduncle 60-96 cm long, distally 2.5-3.2 x 1.7-1.5 cm; prophyll 30-52 x 6.5- 11 cm, borne at 3-13 cm above the base of the peduncle, rusty pubescent; peduncular bract deciduous, inserted at c. 30 cm from the base of the peduncle, 80-110 cm long, c. 12 cm wide when flat, splitting along its length but for the upper c. 28 cm, with a beak of up to 7 cm long, densely reddish pubescent; rachis c. 97 cm long, yellow-green, sometimes tinged red, with 13-17 branched and c. 10 unbranched first order branches, the proximal of these with a rachis 2.5-3.5 x 1-1.3 cm diam. at the base, to 45 cm long, and with up to 15 second order branches; rachis bracts up to 3 cm long, triangular and acute; rachillae pale or yellow-green, 27-47 cm long, 3-6 mm diam., glabrous, with dense, slightly sunken triads. STAMINATE FLOWERS only known from rather young buds, with sepals 2-2.3 x 1.4-2.3 mm, keeled, slightly gibbous, concave, with membranous wings, truncate or nearly so; receptacle 0.2-0.6 mm high; petals 1.7-2.7 x 1.3-1.6 mm, ovate, acute; stamens 6, very slightly biseriate, the antepetalous stamens inserted slightly higher up, filaments 0.5-0.6 mm and thin-cylindrical, anthers 1.3-1.6 x 0.5-0.7 mm, the locules parallel and obtuse; pistillode c. 2.2 x 0.6 mm. PISTILLATE FLOWERS with sepals 1.7-2.4 x 2.2-2.6 mm; petals 2.4-2.8 x 1.8-2.4 mm; staminodes c. 0.5-0.6 mm high; gynoecium c. 2.5 x 1 mm. FRUIT obovoid with a narrowed base, slightly asymmetrical, 18-24 x 12-17 mm, with obtuse apex; endocarp fibrous, with anastomosing fibres. SEED 12-21 x 10.5-16 mm, the base apiculate with a small depression just above the apiculus, this corresponding to the position of the embryo, the apex rounded; endosperm deeply ruminate, the intrusions many and 2-4 mm deep. SEEDLING with two scale leaves, the distal one densely scaly; eophyll pinnate, with petiole scaly with reddish and silvery scales; leaflets of eophyll 4-6 on each side of the rachis. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Materials Examined

  • Ambanja: Manongarivo Mts, Ambalafary, Feb. 1992 (fr., seedling), Beentje & Zo Lalaina 4580 (K, MO, TAN). Sambava: near Maroambihy, March 1949 (bud, old seed), Humbert 23391 (K, P). Andapa: Mt Beondroka, (fl.), Miller & Randrianasolo 4491 (K, MO, TAN). Maroantsetra: Maroantsetra, Oct. 1986 (ster.), Dransfield et al. JD6358 (K, TAN) and (bud) 6359 (K, P, TAN). Mananara Avaratra: Antanambe, Oct 1991 (dead infl.), Beentje 4452 (K, TAN). Soanierana-Ivongo: Soanierana, Sept. 1912 (old infl.), Perrier 12023 (P); E of Antasibe (Andasibe), Dec. 1938 (bud, fr.), Lam & Meeuse 5863 (K, L). (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


    A. Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar
    B. World Checklist of Arecaceae