Dypsis digitata (Becc.) Beentje & J.Dransf., Palms Madagascar : 320 (1995)

Primary tabs



  • This was thought to be extinct until HB refound it in Manombo Forest, the site of several other palms which were thought to be extinct. The Latin name indicates that the leaflets appear to be in the shape of the fingers of a hand, i.e. almost palmate, which is unique among Madagascar undergrowth palms. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


East Coast between Mananjary and Vangaindrano. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Very distinct; the open leaf sheath is reminiscent of D. brevicaulis. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Biology And Ecology

  • Lowland rain forest; 45-100 m. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Critical. The site of the only recent collection is being destroyed by fire, shifting cultivation and logging. Both the older collection sites are now devoid of forest. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Common Name

  • Not recorded. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Not recorded. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


  • Small solitary palm, occasionally subcolonial (Beentje). STEM very short or 10-40 cm, in Perrier 4512 with roots above the surface, 1-1.5 cm diam.; internodes 2-6 mm, brown; nodal scars 1-2 mm. LEAVES 7-13 in the crown, erect-arching, often with a few marcescent leaves; sheath 7-13 cm long, 3/4 open, dark reddish with dark scattered scales and ligules 5-10 mm high in young leaves; petiole 5-43 cm long, 1.5-3 mm diam., pale brown with dense to scattered scales; rachis 4-11 cm long, with scattered scales; blade entire, 23-41 cm long, midrib 4-11 cm, densely hairy, lobes 19-32 x 1.2-2.9 cm or pinnate and then leaflets 2-3 on each side of the rachis, 21-29 x 0.9-2.3 cm (interval 0.6-2 cm), linear, ± equal except that the terminal pair having narrow dentate apices (2-3 teeth only), not acuminate as the more proximal leaflets, main veins 2-4, and often with sinuous transverse veinlets, seemingly glabrous or with scattered scales on the minor veins, or with bands of dense scales on the abaxial surface. INFLORESCENCE interfoliar, unbranched, 18-58 cm; peduncle 12-41 cm or more long, densely scaly, 1.5-3.5 mm diam.; prophyll 3-16 x 0.5-0.8 cm, borne at 0.5-2.5 cm above the base of the peduncle, opening near the apex only for 2-6 cm, dark brown, with dense scales; peduncular bract inserted at 2-15 cm from the base of the peduncle, 10-20 cm long, opening in the distal 1-4 cm, sometimes with a closed beak of c. 5 mm long, pale brown with scattered scales; non-tubular peduncular bract sometimes present near the apex of the peduncle, c. 2 cm long; rachilla 6-17 cm long, 1.5-2.5 mm diam., densely puberulous, with very dense, almost continuous triads. STAMINATE FLOWERS with sepals 0.8-1.5 x 0.7-1.6 mm; petals (1.2-1.5 mm in bud) 2.8 x 1.5 mm; stamens 6, ± equal, with filaments c. 2.2 mm long and anthers c. 1.5 x 0.5 mm, the locules parallel; pistillode c. 1.3 x 0.3 mm. PISTILLATE FLOWERS with sepals 1.3-1.8 x 1-2.1 mm; petals 1.8-2.9 x 1.4-2.4 mm; staminodes 0.3-0.7 mm; gynoecium c. 1.9 x 1.3 mm. FRUIT red, ovoid or ellipsoid, 11-13 x 5-8 mm, with an obtusely pointed apex; endocarp fibrous, the fibres slightly anastomosing. SEED ellipsoid, 10-10.5 x 5-5.5 mm, pointed at both ends; endosperm homogeneous. (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A

Materials Examined

  • Mananjary: without further locality except "zone cotière", March/April 1909 (fl.), Geay 8056 (P); idem, (y. fr.), Geay 8057 (Holotype P). Farafangana: Manombo, Nov. 1991 (bud), Beentje 4512 (K). Vangaindrano: Ankararano (loc. not found), May 1919 (fr.), Perrier 12625 (P). (Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H. 1995: The Palms of Madagascar)A


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