Dypsis decaryi (Jum.) Beentje & J.Dransf., Palms Madagascar : 187 (1995)

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  • The famous 'Triangle Palm' is widespread in cultivation, and is grown in a wide variety of climates; this is unlike its native status, where it is restricted to a very narrow habitat 'niche', and as a result has a very restricted distribution. The name refers to the collector of the type, Raymond Decary. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


S Madagascar, confined to a small area. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Quite similar to D. madagascariensis but altogether neater in appearance, with its more compact habit and the densely three-ranked leaves. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Biology And Ecology

  • Dry forest or bush on stony soil, mid slope; 80-600 m. NATURAL HISTORY. J. Ratsirarson (pers. comm.) has observed both Black Parrot and Lemur catta feeding on the fruit mesocarp; he also found pig droppings full of seed of D. decaryi; he observed bees and flies visiting the flowers at anthesis. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Vulnerable. Only known from a small area, where nearly all seed is harvested for export; fires are a threat. Population estimated at a thousand. This species is listed on CITES Annexe II. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Common Name

  • Laafa (Ranopiso). (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Leaf used for thatching; fruits eaten by children, and formerly used to prepare a fermented drink; seeds exported for horticultural use, as the species is a prized ornamental. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Solitary palm. TRUNK (0.5-) 3-6 (-10) m high, 30-40 cm diam.; internodes 3-10 cm, grey. LEAVES tristichous, 18-24, 1.5-3.25 m, porrect, arched, twisted around the rachis, marcescent; sheath open, 30-45 cm long, 40-65 cm wide when flattened, yellow-green with dense white wax usually overlaid by thick reddish pubescence, with ligules 7 cm high, 10 cm wide, orange turning grey-brown; petiole 33-50 cm long, proximally 6-7.5 x 9-10 cm diam., distally 5 x 5 cm, channelled with sharp margins, abaxially with reddish pubescence but glabrescent; rachis 2.2-3 m long, densely pubescent but glabrescent, channelled proximally, in mid-leaf 2-3 x 1.3-2.3 cm and keeled; leaflets 55-97 on each side of the rachis, regular, glaucous, at an angle of 90° with the leaflets on the opposite side of the rachis, the proximal 80-140 x 0.5-1 cm, (the most proximal often with reins and pendulous), median 58-89 x 2-3.5 cm (interval 2-5 cm), distal 10-60 x 0.4-1.6 cm, the top pair not or hardly connate, one or two tuft(s) of long brown-red ramenta present on the proximal part of erect, hooded, split for 90% with only the proximal part closed, with scattered scales; peduncular bract inserted at 18-20 cm from the base of the peduncle, 40-55 cm long, open over most of its length but closed and beaked for the distal 5-19 cm, with scattered scales; rachis c. 118 cm, with all axes flaking and densely scaly, with 20-26 branched and c. 18 unbranched first order branches, these proximally flattened, their base up to 7 x 5 mm; most proximal first order branches with their rachis up to 50 cm long and up to 22 second order branches (8 of these branched again); rachillae pale yellow-green, 12-26 cm long, 1-4 mm diam.; triads, distant, slightly sunken, with small yellowish flowers. STAMINATE FLOWERS with sepals 1.7-2.1 x 1.6-2 mm, concave, keeled and proximally gibbous, elliptic, rounded, entire; petals on a 1.2-1.5 mm high receptacle, 3.2- 3.5 x 1.8-2.3 mm, elliptic, fleshy, acute; stamens 6, very slightly biseriate, with the antepetalous stamens inserted slightly higher than the antesepalous ones, filaments 2.4-3 mm the abaxial midrib, and lines of scattered minute reddish scales present on the fainter veins, main vein 1, very prominent adaxially, as well as thickened margins, apex unequal, bifid in median leaflets. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, 125-178 x 120 cm, widely spreading, branched to 3 orders; peduncle 50-58 cm long, with scattered scales, proximally c. 5 x 3 cm diam., distally c. 3.5 x 2 cm diam.; prophyll 25-63 cm long, borne at 8-12 cm above the base of the peduncle, long, thin, anthers 1.7-2 x 1 mm, dorsifixed, versatile, held horizontally at anthesis, the locules parallel and obtuse; pistillode cylindrical, c. 1.6 mm high and 1 mm diam. PISTILLATE FLOWERS unknown, but from fruiting material sepals 2.4-2.8 x 2.6-3.3 mm, broadly ovate with a small apiculum; petals c. 3.3 x 4.3 mm, with broad membranous wings and a small fleshy triangular apex; staminodes c. 1 mm high. FRUIT ovoid, later subglobose, 15-22 x 12-19 mm, with rounded apex; mesocarp fleshy-fibrous, endocarp fibrouswith anastomosing fibres. SEED subglobose to ellipsoid, 17-19 x 15-17 mm, slightly asymmetric with an apiculate base (1 mm), with shallow anastomosing grooves over its surface, with rounded apex, and an equatorial depression corresponding to the embryo; endosperm ruminate, with ruminations up to 6 mm deep. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Materials Examined

  • Tolanaro: Bevilany, Sept. 1928 (fl.), Humbert & Swingle 5715 (syntype; P, TAN); idem, Aug. 1932 (fl.), Decary 10294 (syntype; P) and (fl.), Decary 10296 (P), and (fl., fr.), Decary 10299 (syntype; P); Andohahela parc. 3, Dec. 1989 (fr.), Dransfield et al. JD6772 (K, TAN); Ranopiso, March 1992 (fl., fr.), Beentje & Andriampaniry 4614 (K, MO, TAN). (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


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