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Major change to Dypsis - now divided into three genera


Bill Baker (Kew)

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Yesterday, we published a scientific paper that presents a major update to the taxonomy of Dypsis. This is the result of years of work both in the field and in the lab aimed at addressing the unwieldy nature of Dypsis and working out how it is related to other iconic Madagascar palm genera like Marojejya, Masoala and Lemurophoenix. We approached this work with some trepidation, fearful that our results would demand that we "sink" some of these genera, which are so dear to the hearts of growers. Fortunately, we have been spared that embarassment, but our DNA dataset (which is unprecedented in scale) has obliged us to make one major change. We have split Dypsis into three to ensure that the genera represent natural groups that are consistent with the evolutionary relationships that we determined from the DNA data. As a result, two "old" genera have been resurrected. We now have:

  • Vonitra - the fibrous species
  • Chrysalidocarpus - the moderate to very robust species 
  • Dypsis (in a narrower sense) - the small to moderate species

We have worked hard to align morphology with the DNA evidence - after all classification has to be useful and usable. But this has been really challenging and some species just don't obey the rules. For example, Dypsis marojejyi remains in Dypsis, despite being robust. This is very inconvenient, but is also a really interesting biological finding, implying that robust life forms can evolve from within understorey dwarfs. 

You can read all about this in our paper freely accessible here https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/tax.12797 . This is a technical work, but you will still find much of it very usable, especially the Taxonomic Treatment section which includes a key to the genera and a checklist assigning each accepted species to the revised generic classification. We hope you enjoy it!

Bill Baker on behalf of Wolf Eiserhardt, Sidonie Bellot, Robyn Cowan, John Dransfield, Lars Emil, Karolina Heyduk, Romer Rabarijaona and Mijoro Rakotoarinivo

Fig 1 from the paper - Dypsis and related genera: A. Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, B. Marojejya darianii, C. Lemurophoenix halleuxii, D. Dypsis metallica, E. Masoala kona, F. Dypsis scandens, G. Vonitra fibrosa

image.png.e3aa2e8c671e09baf655afc5b2113aee.png

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Bill,

Thank you so very much for all the amazing work you and all the others have done, and for posting these truly fascinating findings here on PalmTalk. With LOTS of these palms in cultivation here on the Big Island of Hawaii, I'm guessing a lot of re-learning of old and new names will take place in the near future! 😀

Aloha,

Bo-Göran Lundkvist 

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Leilani Estates, 25 mls/40 km south of Hilo, Big Island of Hawai'i. Elevation 880 ft/270 m. Average rainfall 140 inches/3550 mm

 

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Thank you @Bill Bakerfor the advise!

I was rather wondering when the reappraisal will take place.

So, when do you guys plan to tackle Chambeyronea?

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Let's keep our forum fun and friendly.

Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or lost profits or revenue, claims by third parties or for other similar costs, or any special, incidental, or consequential damages arising out of my opinion or the use of this data. The accuracy or reliability of the data is not guaranteed or warranted in any way and I disclaim liability of any kind whatsoever, including, without limitation, liability for quality, performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose arising out of the use, or inability to use my data. Other terms may apply.

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1 hour ago, bgl said:

Bill,

Thank you so very much for all the amazing work you and all the others have done, and for posting these truly fascinating findings here on PalmTalk. With LOTS of these palms in cultivation here on the Big Island of Hawaii, I'm guessing a lot of re-learning of old and new names will take place in the near future! 😀

Aloha,

Bo-Göran Lundkvist 

Thanks for this kind feedback - much appreciated. Hopefully, the re-learning will not be too painful! Or indeed any re-labelling too costly...!

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Thank you very much for the post. I have always used Vonitra when talking of the fibrous species. I am excited to look closer at Chrysolidocarpus, as it looks like Dypsis has just become that much harder to grow for us in Sunny South Florida...

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57 minutes ago, DoomsDave said:

Thank you @Bill Bakerfor the advise!

I was rather wondering when the reappraisal will take place.

So, when do you guys plan to tackle Chambeyronea?

My pleasure - this has been a long time coming and only really possible thanks to the amazing resources in The Palms of Madagascar and all the works that it inspired. 

As for Chambeyronia, we fixed that up last year and published it in PALMS 65/3 - take a look!

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Ha ha, well fortunately I don't have any labels for my many "Dypsis" palms so the re-labelling will be entirely mental! 😃

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Leilani Estates, 25 mls/40 km south of Hilo, Big Island of Hawai'i. Elevation 880 ft/270 m. Average rainfall 140 inches/3550 mm

 

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2 minutes ago, Bill Baker (Kew) said:

Thanks for this kind feedback - much appreciated. Hopefully, the re-learning will not be too painful! Or indeed any re-labelling too costly...!

As a lover of palms, this just provides more insight-nothing could be less painful! Thanks again, Bill 

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Bill, there are a few species, I am assuming, that didn't get to be tested and therefore are not on figure 3? 

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Thank you  Mr. Baker, for both your work and your posting.  :greenthumb: 

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San Francisco, California

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Thank you for all your work and subsequent update. Got a steep learning curve ahead of me.

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Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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Bravo Dr. Baker!!  Viva Chrysalidocarpus!! 😁  Dypsis just became a much more rare and harder to cultivate genus.

I'm down from 10 Dypsis species to one measly 1 gallon Dypsis scottiana and 9 Chrysalidocarpus species.

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Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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Incredibly helpful information! As owner of 24 different Dypsis types, I was pretty excited for the new data to come out. Interestingly all of mine are still in the same group ("Chrysalidocarpus").

Out of curiosity, is this chart useful for selecting possible palms to hybridize? I've heard that plants which are closer on the DNA family tree are more likely to hybridize than those which are further apart... but perhaps any two Dypsis within the "Chrysalidocarpus" group might be a possible target for hybridization? The two ingredients for "Tribear" (dacaryi & leptocheilos) in particular appear to be pretty far apart on the chart. 🤔

tribear.thumb.png.84968d004d8f8efb63bfce864703f710.png

Obviously, the only way to know for sure is to try... I was just curious if the chart might be useful for predicting possible hybridization pairs.

Thank you again for making possible a giant leap forward in the science of my favorite palm type! :wub:

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Stacey Wright  |  Graphic Designer

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I gotta tell ya…..it doesn’t roll off the tongue as easy. Gonna take awhile to get used too that’s for sure. 
 

-dale

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This is great! There were way too many palms with no similarities in the Dypsis genus so this needed to happen.

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Great work!  I'm down to just 2 Dypsis from 17  😂 Interesting that Chrysalidocarpus mostly seem to do well Florida while Dypsis tend to struggle. 

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19 minutes ago, rick said:

Great work!  I'm down to just 2 Dypsis from 17  😂 Interesting that Chrysalidocarpus mostly seem to do well Florida while Dypsis tend to struggle. 

That's an excellent rule of thumb!

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I appreciate the many hours of analysis by the esteemed authors. 
 

Thanks so much for posting this important new information here.

 

 

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Cindy Adair

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Bill, thanks to you and the entire team for the exhaustive work in trying to make logical sense of Dypsis. No worries about new names -- it's how this story rolls over the years. One can still find palms in nurseries labeled "Chrysalidocarpus" so nothing new on the planet. Though this long-anticipated revision is more exhaustive, it (mostly) makes sense, even to me - (strengths not in sciences!) Easy enough to apply the new names to my plant records, no labels to fuss with!  I hope it was an interesting process for all of you. Undoubtedly there will be additional revisions in the distant future as more is learned. Again, many thanks to the whole team.

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Kim Cyr

Between the beach and the bays, Point Loma, San Diego, California USA
and on a 300 year-old lava flow, Pahoa, Hawaii, 1/4 mile from the 2018 flow
All characters  in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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@Bill Baker (Kew)

 

Dr. Baker,

 

Thank you very much for your and your team's effort to update the taxanomy of the Dypsis species. It will take some time to get used to it but 

I am sure it will be benefecial for all of us who 'are in palms'. Furthermore thank you for letting us know here on palmtalk which is probably

the fastest way to 'spread the news' among the whole palm related community. 👍

 

best regards from Okinawa

Lars

 

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I'm impressed by the effort and technical skill that went into this work, and glad that this redefinition has been done. Having said that,  It's not highly important for this palm gardener. I wonder about the problem about cross-generic hybridization (is it possible?). I separate members of the same genera to prevent hybridization, so this could be an issue. The main problem for me, though, is learning how to easily pronounce and spell Crysalidocarpus.

For me, the real advance would be for a redefinition of the various species and clearing up the extensive confusion about Crysalidocarpus species. Looking at the list, I fail to see any mention of C. ampasindavae, but there is C. ceracea on the list. I thought the first name supplanted the second. Then there is also C. nauseosa, which I thought was also changed to ampasindavae (though I am growing palms from seeds I bought as D. nauseosa, but completely unlike C. ampasindavae). Help!!

Edited by mike in kurtistown
verbal improvment
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Mike Merritt

Big Island of Hawaii, windward, rainy side, 740 feet (225 meters) elevation

165 inches (4,200 mm) of rain per year, 66 to 83 deg F (20 to 28 deg C) in summer, 62 to 80 deg F (16.7 to 26.7 Deg C) in winter.

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Thanks Bill, for your teams hard work and for letting us know here. This group probably was the hardest palm group to reshuffle. I'm going to take a bit of time to digest the written info. Going back to Chrysalidocarpus will be strange, as it used to erk me when you looked at the tag for a Golden Cane palm and see Chrysalidocarpus lutescens on the label. I'd think to myself, "get out of the 80's", but it's now back, and valid. Neodypsis though remains a sunk name. 

DNA doesn't lie, and I think what the new classifications have shown us is what we as growers kind of realised for a while. The big Dypsis, now Chrysalidocarpus, were much easier to grow than the little Dypsis which will now remain Dypsis. Also I always considered the Vonitra "Dypsis" group different. They are nothing like Chrysalidocarpus decipiens in any way shape or form.

So looking at my collection, I'm mainly a Chrysalidocarpus grower, with one Dypsis, and one Vonitra. All are special to me. 

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Millbrook, "Kinjarling" Noongar word meaning "Place of Rain", Rainbow Coast, Western Australia 35S. Warm temperate. Csb Koeppen Climate classification. Cool nights all year round.

 

 

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Thanks for all the hard work revising Dypsis...I had almost forgotten how to pronounce Chrysalidocarpus, so get to do it all again 😀 And it's great to see Vonitra back again, these all did very well for me in the past, and I always thought they were their own 'kind'. 

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Gold Coast, Queensland Latitude 28S. Mild, Humid Subtropical climate. Rainfall - not consistent enough!

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20 hours ago, Mandrew968 said:

Bill, there are a few species, I am assuming, that didn't get to be tested and therefore are not on figure 3? 

Yes - we tried to get hold of every species, but it is exceptionally difficult to achieve 100% because 1) leaf material of sufficient quality may not be available and 2) not everything works out in the lab. In the taxonomic treatment, species with asterisks were not included in the DNA work, but we have placed them based on our understanding of the new generic delimitations.

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18 hours ago, Billeb said:

I gotta tell ya…..it doesn’t roll off the tongue as easy. Gonna take awhile to get used too that’s for sure. 
 

-dale

Good luck Dale! I am sure you will master it.

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17 hours ago, richnorm said:

Thanks Bill. Is there hope for a new edition of PoM some time soon?!

This is often discussed, but is no small task! I've just finished a PoM equivalent book for New Guinea (aka PoNG) and am just drawing breath. But I've no doubt that the subject of a new PoM will be back on the table soon.

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8 hours ago, mike in kurtistown said:

I'm impressed by the effort and technical skill that went into this work, and glad that this redefinition has been done. Having said that,  It's not highly important for this palm gardener. I wonder about the problem about cross-generic hybridization (is it possible?). I separate members of the same genera to prevent hybridization, so this could be an issue. The main problem for me, though, is learning how to easily pronounce and spell Crysalidocarpus.

For me, the real advance would be for a redefinition of the various species and clearing up the extensive confusion about Crysalidocarpus species. Looking at the list, I fail to see any mention of C. ampasindavae, but there is C. ceracea on the list. I thought the first name supplanted the second. Then there is also C. nauseosa, which I thought was also changed to ampasindavae (though I am growing palms from seeds I bought as D. nauseosa, but completely unlike C. ampasindavae). Help!!

Thanks for your feedback. I'll respond on hybridisation separately (in connection with another comment above). Re. your name queries, the easiest thing for to do to sort these things out is to download the pdf of the paper and search on the name you are interested in. So for ampasindavae:

image.png.8a91595b12d1d29cb7602bf82a014417.png

This screenshot shows that Dypsis ampasindavae is a synonym of Chrysalidocarpus loucoubensis - that is the meaning of the triple equals sign. C. nauseosa and C. ceracea are both accepted species. I hope that helps!

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6 hours ago, Tyrone said:

Thanks Bill, for your teams hard work and for letting us know here. This group probably was the hardest palm group to reshuffle. I'm going to take a bit of time to digest the written info. Going back to Chrysalidocarpus will be strange, as it used to erk me when you looked at the tag for a Golden Cane palm and see Chrysalidocarpus lutescens on the label. I'd think to myself, "get out of the 80's", but it's now back, and valid. Neodypsis though remains a sunk name. 

DNA doesn't lie, and I think what the new classifications have shown us is what we as growers kind of realised for a while. The big Dypsis, now Chrysalidocarpus, were much easier to grow than the little Dypsis which will now remain Dypsis. Also I always considered the Vonitra "Dypsis" group different. They are nothing like Chrysalidocarpus decipiens in any way shape or form.

So looking at my collection, I'm mainly a Chrysalidocarpus grower, with one Dypsis, and one Vonitra. All are special to me. 

Great reflections Tyrone - thanks for this. It highlights how different disciplines (botany and horticulture) can illuminate each other. With hindsight, it is easy to see how our solution makes sense. That said, I have much sympathy though for John Dransfield and Henk Beentje, battling with these palms in the early 1990s before DNA tools were routinely employed. Their large-scale sinking of genera into one big Dypsis was all they could reasonably justify at the time. Even our new solution has been hard to characterise with hard-and-fast morphological characters. But we at least have a roadmap for exploring these things in the future and a more robust basis for good science on these groups, many of which are terribly threatened in the wild.

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19 hours ago, iDesign said:

Out of curiosity, is this chart useful for selecting possible palms to hybridize? I've heard that plants which are closer on the DNA family tree are more likely to hybridize than those which are further apart... but perhaps any two Dypsis within the "Chrysalidocarpus" group might be a possible target for hybridization? The two ingredients for "Tribear" (dacaryi & leptocheilos) in particular appear to be pretty far apart on the chart. 🤔

Obviously, the only way to know for sure is to try... I was just curious if the chart might be useful for predicting possible hybridization pairs.

Hmmm, interesting question! Firstly I should say, our understanding of natural hybridisation in palms is woefully limited - there's an article in the pipeline for PALMS which covers this - watch this space. Occasionally, I have a cold sweat that Dypsis and co are just one monstrous hybrid complex, although the DNA data have not pointed us to this. It is very reasonable to suggest that species that are more closely related on the tree are likely to hybridise more readily, but your example of Tribear suggests that they don't have to be very close. Hybrids between genera have been created in palms (e.g. x Butiagrus), so you may be able to go pretty far apart and still get success. I wonder if anyone is aware of hybrids between Chrysalidocarpus and "new" Dypsis?

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I just tried searching Chrysalidocarpus in the Kew World Checklist and it appears that is not yet updated? Chrsalidocarpus lutescens, for example, comes up as a synonym. 

Kim Cyr

Between the beach and the bays, Point Loma, San Diego, California USA
and on a 300 year-old lava flow, Pahoa, Hawaii, 1/4 mile from the 2018 flow
All characters  in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Thanks to all of you for your feedback and generous reception of this new work. It has been great to hear your insights! I've tried to answer key questions above and will continue to check the thread to pick up on any more queries.

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18 hours ago, hbernstein said:

That's an excellent rule of thumb!

I find the majority of what is now Chrysolidocarpus do NOT grow well in our  calcareous soil. That doesn't mean I don't have over a dozen good growers.

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2 minutes ago, Kim said:

I just tried searching Chrysalidocarpus in the Kew World Checklist and it appears that is not yet updated? Chrsalidocarpus lutescens, for example, comes up as a synonym. 

Just goes to show how exclusive the IPS is! Thank you Bill!

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1 minute ago, Kim said:

I just tried searching Chrysalidocarpus in the Kew World Checklist and it appears that is not yet updated? Chrsalidocarpus lutescens, for example, comes up as a synonym. 

Oh goodness! We only published this on Wednesday!! Managing those enormous name resources takes a lot of time. It will likely take months for all of these names to flow through, into the checklist. It's a complex pipeline involving many moving parts.

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1 minute ago, Bill Baker (Kew) said:

Oh goodness! We only published this on Wednesday!! Managing those enormous name resources takes a lot of time. It will likely take months for all of these names to flow through, into the checklist. It's a complex pipeline involving many moving parts.

Haha, no worries. I was just curious to see if all those wheels had already turned. That would be too much to expect. Great to see the news here first! Thanks again.

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Kim Cyr

Between the beach and the bays, Point Loma, San Diego, California USA
and on a 300 year-old lava flow, Pahoa, Hawaii, 1/4 mile from the 2018 flow
All characters  in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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