Beccariophoenix alfredii

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alfredii (ahl-fred'-ee)
Madagascar. Photo by Dr. Mijoro Rakotoarinivo/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Beccariophoenix
alfredii (ahl-fred'-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: solitary
Leaf type: pinnate
Height: 10 - 15 meters
Trunk diameter: 28-30 centimeters
Sun exposure: Full sun
Watering: moderate/humid
Soil type: tolerant
Survivability index
Common names
High Plateau Coconut Palm.

Habitat and distribution

Beccariophoenix alfredii occurs in the High Plateau of Madagascar at approximately 20 degrees south. The palm is found at an elevation of 1,050 meters (3,440 feet) growing along the sandy riverbeds. The surrounding vegetation is mainly composed of various grasses, and the area sees occasional fires. Due to the environment that B. alfredii is subjected to, it is hardy against frost and cold, fire, drought, full sun, and possibly hurricanes.

Davie, FL. Pete Balasky's place. Photo by Mike Evans.

Endemic to Madagascar. At the moment, the only scientifically proven and recorded locality for B. alfredii is Manalazina. This population is limited to the west by the Mania River. Individuals become abruptly very rare as soon as one approaches the Mania, the river into which the tributary lined with Beccariophoenix flows. Fewer than twenty individuals of B. alfredii grow on the banks of the Mania, possibly because of its depth, which is unfavorable to the dispersal and establishment of seedlings. As we climbed up another mountain chain in the hope of finding other populations in further localities, we saw not one palm on the horizon. Because of the extremely difficult access and the time we had already taken to reach Manalazina, we were unable to conduct further searches for the palm. Meanwhile, we are optimistic concerning the existence of more populations further away in the region. Justin Moat, GIS specialist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, using satellite imagery, has looked for habitats similar to that at Manalazina. After analysing the very distinctive spectrum and relief seen in the satellite images at the exact coordinates of Manalazina, Justin was able to search for similar spectra and relief elsewhere in this part of the plateau. He found similar habitats but much further away from Manalazina. Other populations of B. alfred;i surely exist in the area - during our visit, we did not have the time to revisit Vilanitelo where the palms was first seen by Alfred's collectors, nor Marovato, the site of the large population mentioned by Alfred. (M. Rakotoarinivo, T. Ranarivelo and J. Dransfield. 2007)/Palmweb.


Beccariophoenix alfredii, also known as the High Plateau Coconut Palm, is a recently discovered species of Arecaceae (palms), endemic to Madagascar. It is in the genus Beccariophoenix, and is closely related to the genus Cocos. Beccariophoenix alfredii is very similar in appearance to the coconut palm, although somewhat cold hardy, making it a good look-alike for the coconut in cooler climates. They are hardy down to about 25°F (-3°C) when young, and likely colder when more mature. Editing by edic.


External links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Rakotoarinivo, M. , Ranarivelo, T. & Dransfield, J. 2007. A new species of Beccariophenix from the High Plateau of Madagascar. Palms 51(2) 63-75.

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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