Dypsis basilonga (Jum. & H.Perrier) Beentje & J.Dransf., Palms Madagascar : 193 (1995)

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  • A rare and elegant palm, apparently confined to a single hill which is now surrounded by a sea of cultivation and secondary vegetation. We have seen this species in situ in the type locality, but the inflorescences were too rotten to make a proper specimen. It is a compact, rather graceful palm, common in the low-canopy thin-stemmed small-crown forest just below the summit of Mt Vatovavy at 450-500 m altitude, growing on the edges of cliffs in what is probably a wind-swept habitat. The species name refers to the 'basal' leaflets nearest the petiole, which are sometimes very long. (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 Vatovavy. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • The confusion with D. decipiens was caused by Beccari, who thought the two species were the same
    and united them in Macrophloga; the new genus was necessary because of the ruminate endosperm of the fruit of Perrier 12088. The leaves in the genus description were based on D. decipiens. The fruit is now missing from the type; there is, however, a photo which shows the fruit attached to a loose rachilla. The description of the fruit and seed is taken from Beccari (1914), who is accurate in his descriptions. The protologue adds the following data, not apparent from the type or its label: Solitary, stem 4-6 m, diam. 12 cm; leaves gracefully curved; sheath whitish waxy, adaxially pinkish, 3 cm wide; inflorescence interfoliar, branched to 2 orders; Staminate flowers in bud 4 mm long. Pistillate flowers with sepals 1.5 x 1.5 mm, petals 3 x 2.5 mm; ovary cylindrical. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Biology And Ecology

  • Small-crown, submontane forest, on gneiss; 300-500 m. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Endangered. Single-site status; the only protection of the forest derives from local fady (taboos). (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Common Name

  • Madiovozona (Tanala; meaning 'clean neck'). (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Excellent palm-heart. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Solitary palm. STEM 2-5 m tall, 10-15 cm diam.; internodes short; crownshaft well-developed, whitish, c. 40 cm long. LEAVES strongly curved, c. 6-7 in the crown, 1-1.5 m long; sheath white and waxy, c. 40 cm long, glabrous, without ligules; petiole 14-16 cm long, c. 1.5 cm wide, channelled, with patches of dense tomentum; rachis c. 1 m long; leaflets more than 30 on each side of the rachis, inn groups of 2-3, the proximal leaflets with a very long gap between the basal pair and the next pair, the most proximal to 117 x 3 cm, the next 75 x 1.9 cm, median 64-68 x 2.6-3.1 cm, the group interval 4.5-5.5 cm, the leaflet interval 0.2-0.3 cm, distal 16-40 x 1-1.7 cm, glaucous abaxially, with lines of minute reddish scales on the minor veins, main vein 1, with thickened margins, apices unequally attenuate. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, c. 80 cm long, branched to 2 orders; peduncle 40-60 cm long, proximally 5 x 0.5 cm, straight within the sheath, then curved through 180 ° so the branched part hanging; prophyll borne at c. 40 cm above the base of the peduncle, waxy; peduncular bract inserted at c. 50 cm from the base of the peduncle; first order branches with a secondary rachis of up to 11 cm, proximally 2 x 0.8 cm, with up to 8 rachillae, glabrous; rachillae 15- 19 cm long, c. 4 mm diam., with distant triads in pits; rachilla bracts proud and rounded. STAMINATE FLOWERS not seen. PISTILLATE FLOWERS not seen; sepals in fruit rounded; petals twice as long as the sepals (fide Beccari). FRUIT (see note) ellipsoid, c. 20 x 9-10 mm, with rounded base and apex; endocarp fibrous, with anastomosing fibres. SEED oblong, with pointed base and rounded apex; endosperm ruminate with shallow distant intrusions. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Materials Examined

  • Mananjary: Mt Vatovavy, Oct. 1911 (fr.), Perrier 12088 (P, type). (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