Prota 2: Vegetables/Légumes
J.Dransf. & Beentje, The palms of Madagascar: 163 (1995).
Chrysalidocarpus mananjarensis Jum. & H.Perrier (1913), Chrysalidocarpus fibrosus Jum. (1922).
Origin and geographic distribution
Dypsis mananjarensis is endemic to Madagascar.
Dypsis mananjarensis provides good quality palm heart, which is slightly bitter. The bark produces fibre that was formerly much used by the local population. The wood is very hard and used for making planks for houses. In a young stage the palm can be used as an ornamental for in-house decoration; older plants are attractive in gardens and parks.
Palm with solitary trunk 6–25 m tall and up to 30 cm diameter; crown shaft up to 1.6 m long. Leaves 6–10 in the crown, tristichous, pinnately compound; sheath 0.6–1.6 m long, petiole up to 12 cm long, rachis 3–3.5 m long; leaflets 120–150 on each side of the rachis, irregular or in groups of 3–7, basal leaflets up to 150(–300) cm long, median leaflets up to 135 cm long. Inflorescence below the leaves, c. 150 cm long, branched to 3 orders; peduncle 18–40 cm long, arching, branches pendulous; bracts up to 120 cm long; rachis up to 100 cm long, branches up to 60 cm long, with male and female flowers. Flowers unisexual, 3-merous; male flowers with 6 stamens and a rudimentary pistil; female flowers with superior, apparently 1-celled ovary and rudimentary stamens. Fruit a globose drupe 4–6 mm in diameter, 1-seeded. Seed globose, 3.5–4.5 mm in diameter; endosperm uniform.
Dypsis comprises about 140 species, all endemic to Madagascar except 2 occurring in Comoros and 1 on Pemba Island.
Some Dypsis species apparently related to Dypsis mananjarensis have been reported as sources of palm heart: Dypsis madagascariensis (Becc.) Beentje & J.Dransf., Dypsis pilulifera (Becc.) Beentje & J.Dransf., Dypsis prestoniana Beentje and Dypsis tsaravoasira Beentje. The first species is more important for its timber, the other ones are even more rare than Dypsis mananjarensis.
Dypsis mananjarensis occurs in moist or dry forest, on slopes up to 200 m altitude.
Dypsis mananjarensis is reproduced by seeds, which are offered for sale on the international market. There are about 875 seeds per kg.
Genetic resources and breeding
The conservation status of Dypsis mananjarensis is rated as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN red list of threatened plants. Though this species may be locally common, the total number of trees probably does not exceed a few hundred. Over the whole distribution area it is threatened by forest clearance for agricultural land or by burning; the cutting for palm heart targets this palm specifically.
Exploitation of the remaining stands of Dypsis mananjarensis for its palm heart should be stopped. It does not seem to have potential for sustainable production because it has a solitary trunk. There is interest from gardeners in growing this palm. However, because of its increasing rarity the collection of seeds from the wild for the purpose of international trade should be controlled.
• Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H.J., 1995. The palms of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and The International Palm Society, United Kingdom. 475 pp.
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• Davies, R.I. & Pritchard, H.W., 1998. Seed conservation of dryland palms of Africa and Madagascar: needs and prospects. Forest Genetic Resources 26: 36–43.
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• Haynes, J. & McLaughlin, J., 2000. Edible palms and their uses. Fact Sheet MDCE-00-50, UF/Miami-Dade County Extension office, Homestead, United States. 13 pp.
• Houser, K.A., 1996. Promise for the future: the genus Dypsis. The Palm Journal 130: 22–40.
• IUCN, 2002. 2002 IUCN red list of threatened species. [Internet] http://www.redlist.org. Accessed May 2003.
• Johnson, D.V. (Editor), 1996. Palms: their conservation and sustained utilization, status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN /SSC Palm Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland. 116 pp.
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• Walter, K.S. & Gillett, H.J. (Editors), 1998. 1997 IUCN red list of threatened plants. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. 862 pp.
Correct citation of this article:
van der Burg, W.J., 2004. Dypsis mananjarensis (Jum. & H.Perrier) Beentje & J.Dransf. In: Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). PROTA 2: Vegetables/Légumes. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.