Dypsis prestoniana Beentje, Palms Madagascar : 167 (1995)

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  • A species which was discovered through serendipity: HB was trying to refind Chrysalidocarpus midongensis (now a synonym of D. onilahensis), unaware that that taxon came from a totally different Midongy (a small hamlet in the Itremo Mountains), failed to find it, but spotted this elegant tree on the skyline of a hill. The specific epithet honours Mr. Paul Preston, President of McDonald's Restaurants Limited (UK), who sponsored the four-year Palms of Madagascar fellowship. (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
Only known from the Midongy area; an old collection from Mahanoro. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Quite distinct from other large solitary species with grouped leaflets by its long and interfoliar inflorescence with densely puberulous rachillae, and homogeneous endosperm. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Palma excelsa inter species maximas foliolis aggregatis rachillis dense puberulis endospermio homogeneo distincta. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Biology And Ecology

  • Moist forest; slight slope; clay soils derived from laterite; alt. 50-550 m. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Vulnerable. At present only known from the Midongy area, where numbers do not exceed two hundred. None occurs in a protected area. HB has visited the Mahanoro area, which is nowadays devoid of tree palms. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Common Name

  • Tavilo (Betsimisaraka); Babovavy, Tavilo (Antaisaka). (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Palm-heart edible (fide Perrier). (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Solitary palm. TRUNK 4-12 m, 24-40 cm diam.; basal boss about 15 cm high, 40 cm diam.; internodes 10-15 cm, pale grey-brown, distally green and smooth; nodal scars c. 3.5 cm, pale grey. LEAVES 8-10 in the crown, spiral, porrect to spreading, arched gracefully in the distal part; sheath 90% open, green to pale brown or grey, with waxy covering, with flaking brown tomentum of peltate scales, c. 114 x 28 cm, with distinct rounded shoulders, the sheath in cross-section slightly triangular with thick middle section and thin flat margins; petiole 0-17 cm, c. 7 x 6 cm diam., deeply channelled; rachis c. 4.4 m, channelled in its proximal part (channel 6 cm wide near petiole) but in midleaf c.
    3.5 x 3 cm diam., with slightly sunken circular waxy scales; leaflets c. 164 on each side of the rachis, grouped and fanned within the groups, the groups 3-9 in number, dense and irregular, c. 4 cm apart, the individual leaflets 0.3-2 cm apart, the proximal 76 -123 x 1-2.5 cm, the most proximal often with long pendulous reins, median 97-112 x 2.7-4.7 cm, distal 17-50 x 1.3-2.6 cm, main veins 3, plus very thickened margins, abaxially glaucous with white wax, as well as with dense patches of large (- 8 mm) red-brown ramenta on the midrib near the base, leaflet apices unequally bifid and acute. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, erect with spreading or recurved branches, branched to 3 orders, c. 226 x 90 cm; peduncle c. 118 cm long, 12 x 4 cm diam. proximally, 8 x 4.5 cm diam. distally, yellow with brown scales, turning green with redbrown scales;
    A prophyll c. 60 x 20 cm (to 1.2 m, fide Perrier), woody, densely scaly, slightly beaked, only opening near the apex; peduncular bract deciduous (inserted at 55 cm), the distal portion seen with white wax and minute peltate scales, probably beaked; non-sheathing peduncular bract at 91 cm (4.5-5 cm high, base around peduncle), at 105 cm (3.5 cm high, 9 cm wide), at 110 cm (1 x 9 cm); rachis c. 106 cm, densely puberulous, with c. 26 branched and 8 unbranched first order branches; main first order branches with a rachis of up to 42 cm, proximally up to 4 x 1.5 cm diam., with up to 12 branched and 9 unbranched secondary branches; rachillae 9-42 cm, densely puberulous, 2.5-4 mm diam., whitish or pale yellow; triads dense, set in slight pits subtended by entire, rounded bracts. STAMINATE FLOWERS in bud with sepals 1.2-1.3 x 1.2-1.3 mm; petals 1.5-1.8 x 1.3-1.4 mm; stamens 6, 1-seriate, with filaments c. 1 mm and narrowly cylindrical, anthers 1-1.2 x
    0.4 mm with parallel locules, versatile and dorsifixed; pistillode c. 0.8 x 0.3 mm. PISTILLATE FLOWERS with sepals 1.5-2.2 x 1.6-2.4 mm, concave, orbicular, rounded, minutely ciliolate; petals 2-2.6 x 2.1-2.8 mm, broadly obovate with a small apiculus; staminodes 6, 0.4-1 mm high, thin and flat; ovary c. 2.5 x 1.8 mm, asymmetrical. FRUIT ellipsoid with rounded apex, 12-15 x 6-8 mm, orange; endocarp fibrous. SEED narrowly ellipsoid, 11-12 x 5-5.5 mm, acute at base, rounded at apex, with homogeneous endosperm with slight marginal undulations. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Materials Examined

  • Mahanoro: Masomeloka, Jan. 1922 (fl.), Perrier 14202 (P). Midongy: 6 km ENE of Midongy, May 1992 (fr.), Beentje & Andriampaniry 4672 (Holotype K; isotypes BH, MO, P, TAN; type); 8 km ENE of Midongy, May 1992 (fr.), Beentje & Andriampaniry 4673 (K, TAN). (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