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Jeff Searle

Madagascar Expedition "06"

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Jeff Searle

The lettuce lady......well she was. :laugh:

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Jeff Searle

Some more street peddlers. The belt boys.

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Jeff Searle

After a couple of days in Tana, we had plans to head down south, to spend about a week looking for some real unusual palms. We left at 1:00, for a 5 1/2 hour drive to the town of Ambositrae. We arrived at the Hotel Violette late afternoon. This pic. is what most of the drive looked like. Very little forest remains, if in fact there was good forest many years ago. This drive south takes you right through the backbone of the country, or the high plateau.

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Jeff Searle

We pulled over for a break in the drive. Some of the locals came up to us with some corn on the cob to buy.

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Jeff Searle

Here's Pete trying some.

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Jeff Searle

Something else you don't see everyday. A heard of cows being moved from one pasture to another down the middle of the street.

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Jeff Searle

The town of Ambositrae is well known for having some of the best wood carvers in the whole country. Here along the roadside, was a gentleman selling these very nice wood carved toy trucks that were really painted nicely.

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Gtlevine

Jeff, did you see Dypsis Baronii Ambositra? Alfred is calling it Dypsis Sp Kindreo, it is beautiful. I will be posting my photos soon.

Gary

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Howeadypsis

Just playing catch up with all the pics, great to see, and you do us a service by showing us whats out there Jeff!

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Jeff Searle

Hello Gary,

    No, I don't know this one. Sounds a little, hmmm.(?) I definitely look forward to your pictures and hearing about your trip. I talked to Pete already and he filled me in on alot of the info. A few hang-ups with flights and things. Take care.

Jeff

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Jeff Searle

The next morning, we all left and headed south for the town of Ranomafana. As we knew we were in the area, we all kept our eyes open for the rare Dypsis ambositrae that is found here, a very critical palm because of it's low numbers found in habitat. When this one was spotted, we pulled over and found 3 specimens growing together. Here is Peter,Pierrot and Guy.

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Jeff Searle

Guy standing next to this double trunk.

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Jeff Searle

A closer look at the crown.

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Jeff Searle

How beautiful!!

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Jeff Searle

One last one of me in my glory! This palm and one other(D. mananjarensis), were the two palms at the top of my list for "must see" while there. This IS, an absolutely gorgeous palm.

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Jeff Searle

After leaving these 3 palms, we set off on foot down into a valley where we were told a very old specimen was growing in someones yard. We walked for a good 30 minutes, and here are some cows that we passed on the way. We actually had to share the narrow pathway with them.

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Jeff Searle

As we approached a small clusters of houses, this very large single specimen came into view. What a great feeling of happiness I began to feel. We all tried to estimate it's height, somewhere around 35-40' tall.

   This folks, is the real Dypsis ambositrae.

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Jeff Searle

Another look at it with me in for scale. We were told that this palm was just over 50 years old. We all wondered how such a large, old specimen could have made it this long without being cut down. The homeowner told us that it was considered "ancestral"and would bring bad luck if it were to be cut down. The actual base of the palm is probably about 5-8' lower than it looks from where I'm standing. The ground slopes down sharply right behind where I'm standing.

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Jeff Searle

Another look.

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Jeff Searle

Close-up of the crown.

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Jeff Searle

One last look at the leaves.

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Tyrone

Awesome pics Jeff. I could look at those ambositrae for hours. All 5 of my little real ambositrae seedlings are doing just marvelously for me, so those shots are inspirational. Did you end up seeing anything up there that looked like Dypsis sp "Fineleaf"?

regards

Tyrone

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Jeff Searle

Tyrone,

 Thanks, but we did'nt see the other D. ambost. or the fakey. The only palm in this area that I'm aware of and we did see some, was Dypsis decipiens........and are they ever nice!! Another that you find yourself staring at.

Jeff

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Jeff Searle

After only a short while at the site of this palm, many others started to come over and wanted to know why we were there, and why so much interest in this one palm.They just so happen to have saved some seed,and brought it over to us to inspect. It was several months old, but some of it was still good. Here's Pete rooting through to find any good ones.

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Jeff Searle

I think he was saying, "please buy these".

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Jeff Searle

Of course I had to put my "two cents worth" in. What a great experience to be able to spend time with some very nice people,and willing to let us take pictures of such a unique palm.

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Jeff Searle

With permission, this group of malagasy people posed for a picture with us. They really enjoyed our company and that we showed such a love for this palm that they had planted on their property.

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Jeff Searle

When we were done, we drove 20 minutes further into the hills,stopped and met 3 men along side the road. We briefly explained to them why we were in the area and that we were looking for a certain palm. After a minute of explaining one of them was sent running off down into the valley and after about 30 minutes, returned with a nice load of seed that had just been collected a few weeks earlier.

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Jeff Searle

Here's Pete looking over the treasure.

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Jeff Searle

Again, Pete is openning up a few seed to check on their freshness.

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JD in the OC

Jeff,

Do you know why they collect seed on their own accord?  Do they sell it in town, or grow it themselves?  Just curious...

JD

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Tyrone

Jeff, Do you have any decipiens pics from this area? I'd love to see them. Never get tired of old decipie. Intriguing how everyone collects seed. Do they know how to propogate them?

regards

Tyrone

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Jeff Searle

After arriving in Ranomafana, we stayed at this little, but very comfortable hotel. We are now in the midst of some good rainforest with plenty of palms to find. Our plan was to find a couple of guides and hike up to the top of Mt. Vatuva.

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Jeff Searle

After a 1 1/2 hour drive, we arrived in this very small village and started asking around for guides and the permission from the village chief. Here's Pierrot coming back from buying a bottle of rum to give to the older guy behind him. The older gentleman and the young boy in black was to be our guides for the day.

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Jeff Searle

Our guide, who was paid in rum and money.

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Jeff Searle

Some of the local village children. They were very interested in who we were.

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Jeff Searle

When we arrived at the point where we got out of our truck, we walked a short distance and then in front of us all, this man started pouring some rum into a small cup to drink and to give some kind of an offering to the "powers of be". In a few minutes, off we went.

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Jeff Searle

This is Dypsis mananjarensis. The mealybug palm. This was the other palm that along with D. ambositrae, was the 2 most desireable palms to find and see on my trip there. It was everthing I expected.

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Gtlevine

Jeff, I stayed in the same hotel, it was fantastic. That is where I met Bill, Peter and Pierot. Mount Vatovavy was one of the highlights of my trip, some of the most incredible palms up there. The hike was brutal, I made the hike to the top in two hours, one hour to come down, I thought I was going to die. Did you see the variability of Dypsis Manangarensis? the ones in the full sun and along Romanafana were totally different than the ones in the canopy of Mt Vatovavy.

Gary

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Jeff Searle

A close up of the markings on the petiole of the Mealy Bug palm.

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