Dypsis hildebrandtii (Baill.) Becc., Palme Madagascar : 14 (1912)

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  • Despite having been collected by almost every botanist to visit the forest at Analamazaotra, D. hildebrandtii remains the commonest palm of the forest undergrowth in the montane forest there. The plant cultivated as D. hildebrandtii in Australia illustrated by Stewart (1994) is D. procera. True D. hildebrandtii is cultivated in the Palm House at Kew; it is one of the smallest palms of Madagascar and is altogether a very pretty plant. Occurring as it does in montane forest, one might expect it to be relatively tolerant of cool growing conditions. The species is named for the veteran plant collector, J.M. Hildebrandt (1847-1881). (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


Central Madagascar, in montane rain forest. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • It is easily distinguishable by its small stature, slender stems, leaves bifid or with two to three (rarely more) broad leaflets and its inflorescence that is branched to two orders and bears numerous very hairy rachillae. The collections from Vatomandry, the lower part of the Mangoro Basin and Ambatovola made by Perrier (the last four collections cited above) differ from typical D. hildebrandtii in having few rather robust rachillae in the inflorescence. They are all from relatively low elevations; however, although they present a rather distinctive facies, we have found no clear distinguishing features. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Biology And Ecology

  • Montane forest, hill slopes and ridges; usu ally 700-1000 m, rarely as low as 300 m. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Vulnerable. Restricted to the Moramanga area, but probably occurs in the forests more to the south of Anosibe-an-Ala, which are botanically not well known. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Common Name

  • Tsirika (Merina). (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 palmlet of the forest undergrowth. STEMS to c. 2 m tall, rarely to 4 m, 3-13 mm diam., internodes 4-32 mm long, pale to dark green, with a sparse to dense covering of laciniate dark brown scales. LEAVES 4-10 in crown; sheaths 5-10 x 0.4-1.5 cm, longitudinally striate, sparsely covered in caducous red-brown scales, forming a well-or ill-defined crownshaft, the sheath mouth with two triangular, acute or acuminate auricles to 7 x 6 mm; petiole absent or very short, with the blade somewhat decurrent along its edges, to 30 x 1.5-3 mm, very rarely longer, sparsely brown scaly; rachis 6-30 cm; blade entire bifid or with 2 (or rarely-4) leaflets on each side of the rachis, occasionally leaves of two types borne in the same crown; entire bifid blade 12-21 x 4-9 cm with an apical notch 4-10 cm; leaflets usually broad, 5.5-22 x 1.2-3 cm, occasionally 1-2 slender leaflets at the very base of the rachis, 5-15 x 0.3-0.7 cm; adaxial surface of leaf with minute punctiform scales, abaxial surface with minute punctiform scales, bands of scattered caducous laciniate scales and occasionally with a few ramenta on main veins; emerging leaves tinged reddish, leaves drying dark brown. INFLORESCENCES interfoliar, occasionally also infrafoliar on the same plant, branching to 2 orders; peduncle 10-29 cm long, c. 2 mm in cross section, densely brown laciniate hairy in exposed parts; prophyll 10-35 x 0.4-0.8 cm, with scattered grey and brown laciniate scales; peduncular bract similar to the prophyll, usually exceeding the prophyll be about 2-5 cm; rachis 11-33 cm, rarely 6.5-8 cm, densely covered in grey and brown, curled laciniate scales, the rachis and rachillae together ± elongate triangular in outline; rachillae usually numerous, c. 20-50 or more, rarely as few as 12, 1.5-4 cm, in populations with few rachillae, the rachillae sometimes longer (to 7 cm), c. 0.6 mm diam., usually diverging at an acute angle and curved towards the tip, covered with pale or dark brown laciniate scales; rachilla bracts c. 3.5 mm apart, rounded, c. 0.6 mm, with laciniate margins. STAMINATE FLOWERS rounded, to 1.2 x 1 mm at anthesis; sepals broad triangular, keeled, 0.5 x mm, ciliate-margined; petals c. 0.8 x 0.8 mm, striate; stamens 3, antepetalous, with 3 minute staminodes, filaments united in a ring c. 0.3 mm high, anthers ± didymous, 0.2 x 0.3 mm; pistillode minute. PISTILLATE FLOWER in young bud globular; sepals broad, ± rounded-triangular, imbricate, striate, 0.8 x 0.7 mm, the margins ciliate; petals c. 0.8 x 0.6 mm, imbricate with valvate tips; staminodes 3, minute, dentiform; ovary c. 0.4 x 0.3 mm. Mature FRUIT red, 10 x 5.5 mm, ellipsoid to fusiform; mesocarp c. 0.4 mm thick; endocarp thin, fibrous. SEED 8 x 3.5 mm; endosperm homogeneous, embryo lateral near the base. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Materials Examined

  • Moramanga: Analamazaotra, Feb. 1912 (fl.), Perrier 11956 (P); idem, Feb. 1912 (fl.), Perrier 11957 (P); idem, Feb. 1926 (fl.), Perrier 15987 (K, P); idem, Feb. 1925 (fl.), Perrier 17215 (P); idem, Dec. 1932 (fl.), Leandri 724 (P); idem, Nov. 1938 (fl.), Lam & Meeuse 5312 (K, L, P); idem, Oct. 1912 (fl.), Viguier & Humbert 1058 (P); idem, Sept. 1951 (fl.), Benoist 1117 (P); idem, Oct. 1963 (fl.), Moore 9909 (BH, P); idem, May 1980 (fl.), Raketamalata s.n. (P); idem, 1000 m, Nov. 1986 (fl.), Dransfield et al. JD6413 (BH, K, MO, P, TAN); idem, Nov. 1986 (fl.), Dransfield et al. JD6427 (BH, K, MO, P, TAN); idem, Nov. 1986 (fl.), Dransfield et al. JD6428 (BH, K, MO, P, TAN); idem, March 1988 (fl.), Dransfield et al. 6487 (K, NY, P, TAN); idem, Aug. 1992 (fl.), Beentje & Beentje 4743 (K); idem, June 1938 (fl.), without collector 3745 (P); Mantady, March 1991 (fr.), Beentje & Raharilala 4404 (BH, K, MO, P, TAN); idem, March 1991 (fl.), Beentje & Raharilala 4407 (BH, K, TAN); idem, Dec. 1991 (fl.), Beentje & Andriampaniry 4549 (K, TAN); idem, July 1987 (fl.),Phillipson 2120 (K, MO, P, TAN); Moramanga, Feb. 1959 (fl.), H.-J. Schlieben 8129 (K); 17 km south on road to Anosibe an'Ala, Oct. 1991 (fl.), Beentje 4507 (BH, K, MO, P, TAN); idem, Oct. 1991 (fl.), Beentje 4509 (K, TAN); Mantasoa, Jan. 1889 (fl.), Catat (P); Forêt de Sandrangato, March 1942 (fr.), Decary 17851 (P). Anosibe An'Ala, 16 July 1968 (fl.), LTFT 26762-SF (P); Ankarahara, July 61 (fl.), Peltier 3262 (P). Ambatovola, Jan. 1912 (fl.), Perrier 11989 (P). Mahanoro, Bassin du Mangoro, Oct. 1927 (fl.), Perrier 18044 (P); idem, Perrier 18048 (P); idem, Perrier 18392 (P). Vatomandry, Sept. 1921 (fl.), Perrier 14265 (P); idem, Sept. 1921 (fl.), Perrier 14266 (P). (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


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