Dypsis lastelliana (PROTA)

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Dypsis lastelliana (Baill.) Beentje & J.Dransf.


Protologue: J.Dransf. & Beentje, The palms of Madagascar: 175 (1995).
Family: Arecaceae (Palmae)

Synonyms

  • Neodypsis lastelliana Baill. (1894).

Vernacular names

  • Redneck palm, teddy bear palm (En).
  • Palmier à col rouge (Fr).

Origin and geographic distribution

Dypsis lastelliana is distributed in north-western, north-eastern and eastern Madagascar. It is grown outside Madagascar as an ornamental.

Uses

The leaves are used for thatching, the petioles for rice trays, and the hairs covering the leaf sheath for stuffing. The leaves are also used for decoration, for instance of churches and village entrances. Formerly salt was extracted from the pith and used for seasoning and as a cough medicine. Edible larvae are collected from the trunks. The plant is grown as an ornamental.

Properties

The palm heart is bitter and inedible; it is said to be poisonous. The palm has ornamental value, particularly because of its densely red-brown hairy crown shaft.

Description

Palm with solitary trunk up to 15 m tall, 18–25 cm in diameter, base swollen; crown shaft 70–75 cm long, velvety red-brown. Leaves 9–15 in the crown, arranged spirally, pinnately compound; sheath 40–60 cm long, partially open, brilliantly red adaxially, densely red-brown pubescent abaxially, petiole up to 10 cm long, rachis up to 380 cm long; leaflets (50–)94–102 on each side of the rachis, regular, somewhat pendulous, basal leaflets up to 66 cm long, median leaflets up to 89 cm long, upper leaflets up to 54 cm long. Inflorescence between the leaves, branched to 3 orders, spreading; peduncle 60–96 cm long; bracts up to 110 cm long; rachis c. 97 cm long, branches up to 47 cm long, glabrous, pale or yellowish green, with the flowers in triads of 1 central female flower and 2 lateral male flowers. Flowers unisexual, 3-merous; male flowers with 6 slightly biseriate stamens and a rudimentary pistil; female flowers with superior ovary and rudimentary stamens. Fruit an obovoid drupe 18–24 mm × 12–17 mm, slightly asymmetrical, 1-seeded. Seed ovoid, 12–21 mm × 10.5–16 mm; endosperm deeply ruminate.

Dypsis comprises about 140 species, all endemic to Madagascar except 2 occurring in the Comoros and 1 on Pemba Island. Various Dypsis species are used as fibre plants. Dypsis perrieri (Jum.) Beentje & J.Dransf. (synonyms: Antongilia perrieri Jum., Chrysalidocarpus auriculatus Jum., Chrysalidocarpus ruber Jum.) is a palm with a single trunk up to 8 m tall, occurring at 150–800 m altitude in moist forest. Its leaves are used for thatching and decoration, and hairs from the leaf sheaths and bracts are used for stuffing mattresses. It yields good palm heart and is also tapped for palm wine. The species is classified as vulnerable in the IUCN Red list, because it is uncommon wherever it occurs, and overexploitation of the palm heart is a major threat. The split stems of Dypsis scandens J.Dransf., a climbing palm with stems up to 10 m long, are used for making fish traps, bird cages and hats. The species is probably endangered, because it is only known from a single, unprotected location. Dypsis tanalensis (Jum. & H.Perrier) Beentje & J.Dransf. (synonym: Neodypsis tanalensis Jum. & H.Perrier) is a palm with a trunk up to 20 m tall. It has been used for cordage, and the trunk has been used for carrying loads and for making blowpipes. As the species had not been collected for almost a century, it was thought to be extinct, but recently it was rediscovered. Dypsis thermarum J.Dransf. is a palm with solitary or clustering trunks up to 2 m tall, occurring at 800–1400 m altitude in Ranomafana National Park. Its stems are used for making traps to catch crayfish. The species is rare. The leaves of Dypsis tokoravina Beentje is a large palm with a solitary trunk up to 20 m tall have been used for weaving and the palm heart has been eaten, but the species is only known from two populations and is endangered.

Ecology

Dypsis lastelliana occurs from sea-level up to 450 m altitude in moist forest on slopes, often in rather open forest or near forest margins, or near water, in ravines, also in coastal forest on white sand. Its cultivation requires a subtropical to tropical climate. It can be grown in full sun.

Management

The seeds germinate in 2–4 months.

Genetic resources

Dypsis lastelliana is not threatened, as it occurs widespread in Madagascar, and it is cultivated elsewhere.

Prospects

As a fibre plant Dypsis lastelliana will probably remain of limited local importance. As an ornamental plant it may spread further in tropical and subtropical regions, but it has potential for the humid tropics in particular.

Major references

  • Boiteau, P., Boiteau, M. & Allorge-Boiteau, L., 1999. Dictionnaire des noms malgaches de végétaux. 4 Volumes + Index des noms scientifiques avec leurs équivalents malgaches. Editions Alzieu, Grenoble, France.
  • Byg, A. & Balslev, H., 2001. Diversity and use of palms in Zahamena, eastern Madagascar. Biodiversity and Conservation 10(6): 951–970.
  • Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H.J., 1995. The palms of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and The International Palm Society, United Kingdom. 475 pp.
  • Ellison, D. & Ellison, A., 2001. Cultivated palms of the world. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, Australia. 257 pp.
  • Riffle, R.L. & Craft, P., 2003. An encyclopedia of cultivated palms. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, United States. 516 pp.

Other references

  • Byg, A. & Balslev, H., 2003. Palm heart extraction in Zahamena, eastern Madagascar. Palms 47(1): 37–44.
  • Decary, R., 1946. Plantes et animaux utiles de Madagascar. Annales du Musée Colonial de Marseille, 54e année, 6e série, 4e volume, 1er et dernier fascicule. 234 pp.
  • Dransfield, J., 1999. Madagascar as a source of new palm introductions. Acta Horticulturae 486: 21–32.
  • Johnson, D., 1998. Dypsis perrieri. In: IUCN. 2010 Red list of threatened species. Version 2010.3. [Internet] http://www.iucnredlist.org. September 2010.
  • Jumelle, H., 1945. Palmiers (Palmae). Flore de Madagascar et des Comores (plantes vasculaires), famille 30. Imprimerie Officielle, Tananarive, Madagascar. 180 pp.
  • Medina, J.C., 1959. Plantas fibrosas da flora mundial. Instituto Agronômico Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil. 913 pp.
  • Missouri Botanical Garden, undated. VAST (VAScular Tropicos) nomenclatural database. [Internet] http://mobot.mobot.org/ W3T/Search/ vast.html. September 2010.
  • Rakotoarinivo, M. & Dransfield, J., 2010. New species of Dypsis and Ravenea (Arecaceae) from Madagascar. Kew Bulletin 65: 279–303.

Author(s)

  • M. Brink, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Brink, M., 2011. Dypsis lastelliana (Baill.) Beentje & J.Dransf. [Internet] Record from PROTA4U. Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. <http://www.prota4u.org/search.asp>.

Accessed 5 March 2020.