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Jeff Searle

Madagascar  Expedition  April 05

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Jeff Searle

To Gary Levine,

  This is to answer your following two questions about Dypsis marojejyi and D. coursii fruiting the time of our trip in April. (And then all crashed). The D. marj. was seeding and we did get some seed. I did get some to germinate also. As far as D. Coursii, they were fruiting if I remember correctly, but were green on the trees still, so no.

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Gtlevine

Thanks Jeff.

Gary

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Jeff Searle

This was a really pretty moss found growing on the rocks and the roots of plants up past Camp #3 towards the summit.

  Any "moss freaks" out there? Stand up and be heard, what is it?

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Jeff Searle

Finally, we reached Camp #3 after walking five hours.

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Jeff Searle

A spectacular view of montane forest on the mountain massifs of Marojejy. The highest peak here is over 2100 meters.This photo was taken just above Camp #3. In this area we also saw Dypsis lokohensis, D. cookei, D. coursii and forms of D. baronii.

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Jeff Searle

Dypsis cookei; was an extreamly rare palm to find. I only remember seeing 3-4 plants. It's very distinctive blue green narrow leaflets were amazing. This palm brought great joy to Bill when we found it.

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Jeff Searle

Same as above.

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Jeff Searle

This is Dypsis coursii in habitat. A solitary palm found only near the top, with very few in numbers. The leaflets are grouped and the fruit are large, unripe at this time. Notice the strong light over head due to the lack of large canopy trees at this altitude.

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Jeff Searle

This palm had us really scratching our heads. Guy told us all that John Dransfield refers to this as Dypsis baronii var. Compactus. These were solitary palms, very robust in size and very few in numbers. A  gorgeous palm that I think would do well for the California group. Cooler weather I suspect. Seed also was not quite ripe yet.

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bgl

Jeff,

what an incredible trip and amazing photos! How much time did you spend in Madagascar? And that Dypsis andrianatonga, it almost looks like it's trying to climb up on something (and the photo in POM has a similar look to it). Do you have more photos of it?

Bo

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Jeff Searle

Another angle.

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Jeff Searle

Bo,

   Hello and thanks for enjoying our pictures. It was amazing and if you only knew how incredible it was. The climb up these mountains were difficult, but what kept us going was the beautiful scenery and the thought that probably only ten "palm people" or less have ever  been this far up. You often look out in the distance in all directions, and realize that there are no other trails and no one has explored all this vast areas and what new palm species are waiting to be discovered. It was so rewarding !!

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Jeff Searle

The green fruit of Dypsis baronii var. Compactus.

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Jeff Searle

No clue what this was. Anyone know?

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Jeff Searle

This other form was also growing near D.baronii var. Compactus. Except this crownshaft was smaller in diameter and instead of green, was a pretty creamy yellow with unusual brown lines or streaks that ran vertically on the crownshaft. We were amazed to see this.Wonder if any are in cultivation? Let me know....

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Jeff Searle

Bo,

   I'm sorry, I forgot to answer a couple of your questions. Last year I spent four weeks in Madagascar. Pete and Bill were there five weeks I think. The Dypsis andrianatonga pic's. were my only two that I took. Looking back now, I should of took more.

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Jeff Searle

We think this was either Ravenea sambariensis or R. robustior. We never did key it out. We saw very few of these up this high.

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Jeff Searle

Closer detail of Dypsis baronii var. Compactus in fruit.

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Jeff Searle

A Dypsis sp. that we were not sure of. This photo was taken further back down at a lower elevation. It was apparently good tasting, but never the less, magnificent.

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Jeff Searle

I saw only one lemur while I was on this hike. OOhhh, please don't on my head !!

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Jeff Searle

The last piture of the amazing Marojejy Mtns. These guy's were such an important part of this first journey. Of this group, we had four porters, a park guide that spoke pretty good english and one cook. We could not of made this climb without them! Thanks again....

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Jeff Searle

After we flew out of Sambava in the northeast,and sadly left the Marojejy Mtns. we headed to the Famous Masoala Peninsula. We flew into the town of Maroantsetra. This is looking down one or the streets on market day.

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Jeff Searle

Some of the local veggies for sale. Anyone care to take a guess at what were looking at?

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Jeff Searle

This is the main street through Maroantsetra.

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Jeff Searle

This is the office of Angap. Here we have to check in and arrainge to have a guide go along with us while spending several days in Masoala.

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Jeff Searle

One way of getting around.

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Jeff Searle

This beautiful setting is where we stay while in Maroantsetra. It is the Hotel Le Relais du Masoala. A very peaceful and relaxing place to stay. There are approx. 5-6 of these bungalows, and has hot showers.

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Jeff Searle

The inside of a room.

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Jeff Searle

The dining room, where good food and excellent service was an every day occurence.

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Jeff Searle

In Maroantsetra, we organized our trip to go by boat, heading towards the southern tip of the Masoala Peninsula to a remote camp on the beach. After a two hour ride, we finally arrived at Camp Tampolo. Guy had returned back to Tana and our good friend Pierrot had come along for this leg of our trip.  

   Over the next four days, we would head out in a different direction in search of some of the rarest palms that all of Madagascar has to offer. Our hikes would vary from five to seven hours out on the trail and lunches would almost always consist of sardines or tuna on bread, maybe a piece of fruit and a good chunk of Malagasy chocolate. We saw many beautiful palms in habitat. Some of these included, Orania ravaka, Dypsis forficifolia, D. carlsmithii, D. pinnatifrons and two species that are extreamly rare in cultivation; Dypsis beentjei and Satranala decussilvae. The latter two which were found growing together, were very plentiful and numbering in the hundreds. Neither of these two species were in flower or fruit at this time.

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Jeff Searle

Our little rooms where we slept were very simple, yet very comfortable. These set right off the beach about 25 yards and can sleep either one or two people.

 Again, we had to bring a camp cook with us and all food and drinks. Collected rainwater gave us a refreshing shower at every day's end.

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Jeff Searle

The first afternoon Pete and I took this pirogue(dugout canoe) and went inland to check out the area . We saw a handful of Orania ravaka and lots of Dypsis forficifolia, in full fruit.

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Jeff Searle

Looking into the crown of a Dypsis procera(we thought).

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Jeff Searle

Dypsis forficifolia on the Masoala Peninsula. These palms were very common through-out our walks. Their fruit are a pretty bright red that then ripens to black. I was told  it was the only Dypsis species that has a red infructescence. This clustering palm grows to about twelve feet, in very wet habitats.

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Jeff Searle

A large growing Satranala decussilvae. These are robust solitary palms and is the only fan leaf palm found growing in the forest. When the POM book came out, this palm was not known to exist in this vast area. We saw hundreds of these plants over a large area.

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Jeff Searle

Another view of a smaller Satranala decussilvae.

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Jeff Searle

Dypsis beentjei growing deep in the rainforest. There are hundreds, if not thousands of these plants growing in this area. This is a clustering acaulescent palm that when the POM book was published, it was also not known to exist here. It can be recognized by it's dark green bifid leaves. We have yet to see this palm in flower or seed.

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Jeff Searle

Another shot of the same.

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Jeff Searle

A wet, tropical rainforest. This is what we experienced every day out on the trail. Most of these higher elevations were still virgin rainforest, but the French many, many years ago actually had built a railroad track that came out to the beach where they could unload their logs to be exported.

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bruno

This is a fantastic trip you had. It nearly sounds like Dr Livingstone in Africa. Thanks for all the pictures and knowledge. I will ask my cousin Christophe, who is owner of hotel  Relais du Masoala, to plant lots of those palms in his hotel. He told me he bought a piece of land 2 hours away,  to build a lodge for people who want to be in the forest when the sea is too rough to be on and cannot reach the tip of masoala peninsula.

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