This beautiful palm was first discovered in 1992 by Kew botanist Henk Beentje during the Palms of Madagascar project. Two populations were known, both highly endangered and with probably fewer than 20 individuals in total, making it one of the rarest and most endangered of all palms. Its original habitat, forest at high elevation in Central Madagascar, has all but disappeared through much of the island. By 1996 the northern of the two populations of Dypsis ambositrae was extinct, due to a landslip and cutting by villagers, and then year after year the southern population decreased due to the activities of slash and burn, until in 1999 there were but two palms left. These disappeared for good in 2000. In 2004, Kew’s Malagasy staff member Tianjanahary (Tiana) Randriamboavonjy discovered a new and healthy population of the palm growing in good forest near the southern population. This species has been chosen for targeted conservation efforts as part of Kew’s Threatened Plants Appeal project in Madagascar.
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Search Kew's electronic Plant Information Centre for scientific information about Dypsis ambositrae