Dypsis lutescens

Common name

areca palm, butterfly palm, yellow bamboo palm


Stems: Clustering, to 7 m tall and 12 cm in diameter, sometimes bulging at the base, green or yellow-green with conspicuous leaf scars 2-12 cm apart. Leaves: Pinnate, reduplicate, to 3 m long, with yellow petiole, linear leaflets regularly arranged and held at a 90° angle to the yellow or yellow-orange rachis, forming a graceful V-shape. The crown shaft is yellowish with a white waxy covering. Upper and lower leaflet surfaces are glossy green to yellow-green, without spines; the prominent midrib is yellowish. Flowers and fruits: Inflorescences to 1 m long, branched to three orders. Yellow male and female flowers are borne on the same plants. The spherical fruits, 2.5 cm in diameter, are yellow to purple when ripe.

Diagnostic features

Field: Clustering palm with bright green or yellow-green stem and conspicuous leaf scars and pinnate leaves with yellow petiole, yellow or yellow-orange rachis, and regularly arranged, linear leaflets forming a graceful V-shape.

Lab: Tufts of hairs on the midrib undersurface.

May be confused with

Ptychosperma macarthurii is a somewhat similar clustering palm, but its leaflets have broad, jagged tips, and it lacks the yellow coloring of Dypsis lutescens.


Native to Madagascar

Additional comments

Commonly cultivated in Hawaii and as an indoor palm; often seen growing as a hedge.

Scientific name

Dypsis lutescens (H.Wendl.) Beentje & J.Dransf.




Areca lutescens Bory

Chrysalidocarpus glaucescens Waby

Chrysalidocarpus lutescens H. Wendl.

Hyophorbe commersoniana Mart

Hyophorbe lutescens Hort. ex Jum.

Last Updated May 2014