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Dypsis sp. (Ambanja)
A slender, clustering palm from the region around Ambanja in northwestern Madagascar, where it grows in forest at low elevation. It sports slender, ringed trunks, each topped by a yellowish waxy crownshaft that holds a dense crown of strongly keeled, recurving leaves with virtually no petiole. The leaflets are narrow and stiff, giving the crown a very elegant look. The flower stalks are short and almost hidden within the leaves.
While quite clearly from within the Dypsis baronii/onilahensis group of species, its identity seems a mystery. The seeds are too slender and the altitude it grows at is too low for it to be D. heteromorpha (a high altitude species with deeply ruminate endosperm). To be D. baronii or D. onilahensis, the endosperm in the seeds of our palm are much too deeply ruminate. Without seeing the ruminate endsoperm in the seed, one could assume this is the palm that Perrier described as Chrysalidocarpus brevinodis, now included in Dypsis onilahensis, as it comes from the same general area and altitude, but for the above mentioned reasons, this clearly appears not to be the case. The species in the former genus Chrysalidocarpus (such as. D. lutescens, D. acuminum, D. arenarum or D. psammophila) do not match either because of the ruminate endosperm and the larger seed of our plant. The conclusion seems to be that Dypsis sp. (Ambanja) has not yet been scientifically described.
Whatever its identity, it would certainly make a stunning ornamental for the tropical and warm temperate garden.