Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English:Golden cane palm, areca palm, yellow palm, butterfly palm.

+ Tree Species

Dypsis lutescens

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

Dypsis lutescens is endemic to Madagascar. They are common species of the east coast and occasionally along rivers in the lowland, mainly between Mahanoro to Antalaha area but also recorded in Daraina and Farafangana. In Kampala, Yellow palm can be found at Acacia avenue, Coral crescent, within Sheraton gardens, Uganda Golf course club, National housing & medical quarters among other places.

+ Description

It's a tall tree with multiple ringed stems that emerge from the base in clusters. It grows 6 12 m (20 39 ft.) in height and a diameter of 10-15 cm. The areca is known as a cane type palm because of the bamboo cane looking stems once it's matured. Trunks are vertical and crown shafted.

BARK: smoothwith no fibers, grey, cylindrical with a basal mass of stem-less rosettes. Trunk color is variable, ranging from green to silver, with n occasionally silver-white trunk seen.  With sun exposure, trunks develop a brown bark. 

LEAVES: Green long pinnate leaves with segments almost opposite and 40-60 pairs of leaflets, equally spaced, rachis yellow; leaflets 60 cm long and 2-2.5 cm broad. Crown shaft swollen, yellow-green covered with caducous whitish wax and scales. The inflorescence arching 30 cm long, highly branched, main stalk arising from a tubular bract.

FLOWERS: It bears panicles of yellow/ Golden flowers.  Male flowers have 3 sepals and 3petals, stamens free, exserted, 4 mm long, anthers 2-celled, dorsifixed; pistillode much shorter than stamens. Female flowers are small, 3 mm in diameter; sepals 3; petals 3, and coriaceous.

FRUIT: Fruit baccate, dark yellow turning black, 1.5 cm long.

+ Uses

An ornamental tree popularly used for landscaping along the roadsides, road shoulders/dividers, roundabouts, highways and byways by town and city planners.

Used as outdoor plantings or as a houseplant.

Agroforestry: grown as a hedge or screen .

+ Propagation

Seeds, offsets (clones), suckers.

+ Management

Removing offsets or suckers from the base is an easier and faster method used to grow new plants. Alternatively, young plants can be divided to grow each division separately. Pruning should be done to removes the oldest (lowest) leaves. Brown old crown shafts should be removed by "unwrapping" them from the trunk. Premature removal of crown shafts can scar the trunk forever.

+ Remarks

According to NASA and Dr. B. C. Wolverton, the areca palm filters xylene and toluene from the air. Wolverton also specifies that, at 1.8 m (5 ft. 11 in) in height, the plant will transpire 1 liter of water per 24 hours, thereby making it an effective humidifier. It's an attractive species that prides itself in improving home or office d cor and makes a great focal point for large rooms, hallways, reception areas and conservatories. It is also suitable as container plant for patio, deck, poolside and the like for that tropical and breezy appearance.

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