According to Kew Species Profiles[KSP]
Kew Species Profiles
- General Description
Large enough to be visible in satellite imagery, dimaka is an enormous 'self-destructive' palm that remained undetected by science until 2007.
Large enough to be visible in satellite imagery, Tahina spectabilis, commonly known as dimaka, is an enormous ‘self-destructive’ palm that remained undetected by science until 2007. Its extraordinary appearance and genetic evidence indicate that this palm belongs in a genus of its own within a group of palms originally thought to be restricted to Asia. Efforts are now underway to conserve this species through distribution of seed and cultivation in botanic gardens.
- Species Profile
Geography and distribution
Northwest Madagascar - confined to a small area in Analalava district.Description
Tahina spectabilis has a huge trunk, with a swollen base, and a 4 to 10 m high crown comprising about twelve fan-shaped leaves up to 5 m in diameter. Dead leaves are retained below the new growth but eventually fall under their own weight as the tree gets larger. The trunk is covered by ring scars left by the fallen leaves.
When flowering commences, the tip of the stem extends above the dense green crown, expanding into an impressive pyramidal, candelabra-like inflorescence (around 4-5 m in height) which at maturity explodes with a multitude of tiny yellow flowers.Threats and conservation
As with all of Madagascar’s wildlife the biggest threat to this palm is likely to be habitat loss. It is particularly vulnerable because it has a very small population size (estimated at 90 individuals) and a restricted range, meaning that even small-scale impacts could be potentially devastating. Since the 1970s, approximately one-third of Madagascar’s primary vegetation has disappeared, mainly as a direct result of fires, logging and clearance of land for agriculture.
Tahina spectabilisseeds have been sent to:
- National Tropical Botanical Garden, Kalaheo, Hawai
- Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami, USA
- Montgomery Botanical Center, Miami, USA
- Honolulu Botanical Gardens, Hawai, USA
- Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain, Sydney, Australia
- Townsville Palmetum, Townsville, Australia
- Durban Botanic Garden, Durban, South Africa
- Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore
- Kebun Raya Indonesia, Bogor
- Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
- Palmetum of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Spain
Uses for Tahina spectabilis are not known. As a rare species, it is likely to be prized as an ornamental.Cultivation
Propagation of this palm has been achieved by seed-sowing at Kew. Seeds were sown during February, having been soaked in water for 24 hours prior to sowing. The seed compost included Seramis (clay granules) and perlite. Two months after sowing, 80% of the seeds had germinated. The seedlings were potted up individually into ‘long tom’ pots. After three years (in early 2011), the plants were still growing well.This species at Kew
Tahina spectabilis can be seen growing in the Palm House at Kew.
- Grows at low elevation in fertile, seasonally-flooded soils at the foot of a limestone outcrop.
- Not yet assessed according to IUCN Red List criteria.
Tahina spectabilis J.Dransf. & Rakotoarin. appears in other Kew resources:
Herbarium Catalogue (17 records)
|Date Identified||Reference||Herbarium Specimen||Type Status|
|Sep 15, 2007||Dransfield, J. [JD7777], Madagascar||K000525930|
|Metz, X. [s.n.], Madagascar||65098.000|
|Metz, X. [s.n.], Madagascar||65099.000|
|Metz, X. [s.n.], Madagascar||65100.000|
|Metz, X. [s.n.], Madagascar||65101.000|
|Metz, X. [s.n.], Madagascar||65102.000|
|Metz, X. [s.n.], Madagascar||65103.000|
|Metz, X. [s.n.], Madagascar||65104.000|
|Rakotoarinivo, M. , Madagascar||65105.000||holotype|
|Metz, X. [s.n.], Madagascar||K000525877|
|Metz, X. [s.n.], Madagascar||K000525878|
|Metz, X. [s.n.], Madagascar||K000525879|
|Metz, X. [s.n.], Madagascar||K000525880|
|Metz, X. [s.n.], Madagascar||K000525881|
|Metz, X. [s.n.], Madagascar||K000525882|
|Rakotoarinivo, M. [RMJ337], Madagascar||K000525955||holotype|
First published in Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 156: 84 (2008)
-  Dransfield, J., Uhl, N.W., Asmussen, C.B., Baker, W.J., Harley. M.M. & Lewis, C.E. (2008) Genera Palmarum; The evolution and classification of Palms . Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
-  Dransfield, J., Leroy, B., Metz, X. & Rakotoarinivo, M. (2008). Tahina – a new palm genus from Madagascar. Palms 52: 31–39.
-  Dransfield, J., Rakotoarinivo, M., Baker, W. J., Bayton, R. P., Fisher, J. B., Horn, J. W., Leroy, B. & Metz, X. (2008). A new Coryphoid palm genus from Madagascar. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 156: 79–91.
Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2017). Published on the internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp
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[B] © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet http://www.palmweb.org. Accessed on 21/04/2013
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