This stunning new species of palm was discovered by Kew botanists in Madagascar’s newest protected area.
About this Species
Dypsis makirae is a stunningly beautiful new species of palm discovered during collaborative fieldwork by botanists from Kew and Madagascar in 2005 and 2007. It was officially named and described in 2009 along with four other new species from Madagascar’s newest protected area, Makira, in the north-east of the island. It occurs quite frequently in the lower mountain forests of Makira and is an important part of the very rich palm flora that occurs in the region.
Over 20 species of palm from Madagascar have been formally described as new to science by Kew botanists in 2009.
Geography & Distribution
This newly discovered palm species occurs in northeast Madagascar, and is known from several localities in the eastern central part of the Makira protected area.
Dypsis makirae (Image: William Baker, RBG Kew)
Dypsis makirae is a slender palm growing to about 5 m in height with stems up to 6 cm in diameter. Its crown contains up to 13 leaves, each with 8 to 16 broad, elliptic leaflets. The leaflets are fleshy and strongly hooded, with long drip tips. The inflorescences arise from within the crown and are erect, reaching about 70 cm in length. They have around 10 flower-bearing branches. The fruits are yellowish, ellipsoid and around 1 cm long.
Threats & Conservation
This newly discovered species is a common palm along the eastern edge of the central part of Makira. The population is estimated to exceed one thousand individuals, many occurring within the Makira protected area, the largest protected area in Madagascar, and this bodes well for the future of the species. There appear to be no specific human uses that might lead to pressure on existing populations. The impacts of climate change on the species and the forests in which it occurs are hard to assess at this time.
Tsingovatra at Kew
Scientific specimens of this new species are stored in Kew’s Herbarium, where they are accessible by appointment to bona fide researchers. Details of this species can be seen in the online Herbarium Catalogue
Find out more about Dypsis makirae and the work being done in Madagascar at the following sites:
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