568 Neodypsis decaryiCommon Names: Dypsis decaryi (syn.), triangle palm, three sided palm, Dypsis decaryi Family: Arecacea (palm Family)
One member of the palm family that could take first prize in the "most unique appearance" category could very well be Neodypsis decaryi or triangle palm. It gets its name from the bulging leaf or frond bases that grow to form a distinct 3-sided triangle shape that has a striking blue-gray color. The tall, stiff feather-shape leaves are up to 12 feet long. This solitary-trunked palm can grow up to 25 feet but is usually only seen around 10-15 feet.
Normally the fronds are held upright at no more than a 45-degree angle to the trunk which gives this palm a grand and noble look. Another interesting aspect of this palm is the lower leaves on the fronds are developed into long hanging threads, called reins, which drape to the ground.
The triangle palm, Neodypsis decaryi, is native to the island of Madagascar, which is off the southeast coast of Africa. This may answer why only 2 of the 14 species in this genus are currently in common cultivation. The habitat of this palm is wide spread from open fields to tropical rainforests at both high and low elevations.
CultureVery adaptable to soil types but should be well drained. No major pests or diseases. Light: Bright sun. Moisture: Although adaptable once established, this palm requires irrigation in dry areas. Hardiness: USDA Zones 10 - 11. Although can tolerate cooler temps once established. Propagation: By seed which germinate in 1-2 months.
With this palm, it's hip to be square...or at least a triangle. Combine this tree's unique geometric-shaped base with its tall impressive leaves and you have a landscaper's dream that can be used as a specimen or to frame an entranceway. Unfortunately I feel it isn't used enough. Recently however, its' sister, Neodypsis lastelliana, The teddy bear palm, has come into cultivation and seems to be popular with it's fuzzy brown crownshaft. Perhaps the triangle palm will soon follow!
Triangle palm is easy to grow, unique in form and striking in appearance.
Jeff Bielski 08/29/99