Dypsis sanctaemariae is a delightful, small palm with straight, slender stems topped with clusters of deeply-notched leaves below which hang generous panicles of bright orange fruits. Until recently the plant was classified as “Critically Endangered,” its only known location in a small area of swamp on Ile Sainte Marie island threatened by the installation of tourism infrastructure.
Five years ago Garden botanists discovered a previously unknown population growing in a swamp on the Pointe à Larrée peninsula that juts out from the Malagasy mainland into the Indian Ocean. This population is also threatened, but with the support of the Prince Bernhard Fund for Nature, Garden conservationist Adolphe Lehavana is working with farmers to build an irrigation network that will enable them to grow more crops for food and reduce their reliance on the Dypsis sanctaemariae palms for economic sustenance.
Conserving the Critically Endangered Sainte Marie Palm by Reducing Local Famine
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