Dypsis lutescens

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Dypsis lutescens
In Taichung, Taiwan
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Genus: Dypsis
D. lutescens
Binomial name
Dypsis lutescens
(Wendland) Beentje & Dransfield

Dypsis lutescens, also known as golden cane palm, areca palm,[2] yellow palm,[2] butterfly palm,[2] or bamboo palm,[3] is a species of flowering plant in the family Arecaceae, native to Madagascar and naturalized in the Andaman Islands, Thailand, Vietnam, Réunion, El Salvador, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Canary Islands, southern Florida, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands and the Leeward Antilles.[4][2] Its native names are rehazo and lafahazo (from Malagasy hazo 'tree' with reha 'pride' and lafa 'fibre' respectively).[5][6]


Dypsis lutescens is a perennial tropical plant that grows to 6–12 m (20–39 ft) in height and spreads from 3-5 m (8-15ft). Multiple cane-like stems emerge from the base, creating a vase-like shape. The leaves are upward-arching, 2–3 m (6 ft 7 in – 9 ft 10 in) long, pinnate, with a yellow mid-rib. The petiole is yellow-green in colour and waxy in texture, with a maculate base. The leaves have 40-60 pairs of leaflets. Leaflet arrangement is opposite and their shape is linear to lanceolate. It bears 2-ft-long panicles of yellow flowers in summer. Offsets can be cut off when mature enough, as a propagation method. It bears oblong fruit that is 0.5 in long and ripens from yellow/gold to dark purple/black. [7]

It is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens in tropical and subtropical regions, and elsewhere indoors as a houseplant, one of the most important commercially.[6] It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[8][9]

One of several common names, "butterfly palm", refers to the leaves, which curve upwards in multiple stems to create a butterfly look.[10]

In its introduced range, this plant acts as a supplier of fruit to some bird species that feed on it opportunistically, such as Pitangus sulphuratus, Coereba flaveola, and Thraupis sayaca species in Brazil.[11]

Cultural requirements[edit]

In its native habitat of Madagascar, D. lutescens grows in moist forested areas.[12] It grows best in rich, moist, and well-drained soils and in bright, partly shaded areas. It tolerates full sun, but long periods of direct sunlight may burn the foliage. Overfertilization results in yellowing of the leaves. It is a low-maintenance tropical plant.

It is winter hardy to USDA zones 10-11, and does well outdoors in warm climates with medium to high humidity. The plant is highly sensitive to cold temperatures.

Pests and diseases[edit]

Dypsis lutescens has no serious insect or disease problems. It is susceptible to scale, whiteflies, and spider mites. Plants grown outdoors may be subject to phytoplasma disease of palms, which is spread by planthoppers and can cause severe yellowing.[12]


In its native climate, the plant may be massed and used as a landscape specimen, privacy screen, or informal hedge. It can be grown as a tree or shrub. In areas of eastern Madagascar, this plant also has environmental and medicinal uses.[13] It is once used as a source of fibre to make fishing nets.[5]

In temperate climates, it is a very popular houseplant. It is known to reduce indoor air pollutants and help in air purification. It may also be used in outdoor ornamental displays in the summer months.[citation needed]

Houseplant maintenance[edit]

Dypsis lutescens is a popular, low-maintenance houseplant. If grown indoors, plant in a well-drained potting soil in a pot that has adequate drainage holes. The size of the pot should be twice the size of the root ball. Repotting may be necessary every 2-3 years, and size of the pot should only increase 3-4 inches compared to the size of the old pot.[14] Ensure the plant is placed in an area with bright, indirect sunlight. It will thrive near a window where light is filtered, but will struggle if placed in the path of direct sun, which may cause scorching or yellowing of the foliage. If grown in areas with extreme temperatures, note that the plant will struggle in temperatures that drop below 60°F/15°C.[15]

This plant prefers moist soil, but cannot tolerate soggy conditions. To prevent overwatering, check the moisture level regularly and allow soil to dry out between waterings. The plant will benefit from fertilization in the summer months when it is experiencing the most growth. Dypsis lutescens prefers medium to high humidity, if the air indoors is too dry, the foliage may exhibit browning at the tips. This can be remedied with manual misting or adding a humidifier to the room.

This plant does not require pruning. Pruning may be done based on owner preference.



  1. ^ Rakotoarinivo, M. & Dransfield, J. (2012). "Dypsis lutescens". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012: e.T195960A2436709. Retrieved 11 July 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d "Dypsis lutescens". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-12-25.
  3. ^ "Dypsis lutescens (Areca Palm, Bamboo Palm, Butterfly Palm, Cane Palm, Golden Butterfly Palm, Golden Feather Palm, Yellow Palm) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox".
  4. ^ "WCSP, World Checklist of Selected Plant Families: Dypsis lutescens". Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
  5. ^ a b Boiteau, Pierre (1999). "Chrysalidocarpus lutescens H.Wendl.". Dictionnaire des noms malgaches de végétaux (in French). Vol. I. Editions Alzieu. p. 196.
    [– lafahazo]: de lafa et hazo : arbre, donc : « arbre à crin végétal »...
    [– rehazo]: de reha : fierté, orgueil ; et hazo : arbre ; arbre orgueilleux, de port altier...
  6. ^ a b Dransfield, John; Beentje, Henk; Britt, Adam; Ranarivelo, Tianjanahary; Razafitsalama, Jérémie (2006). Field guide to the palms of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. pp. 84-5. ISBN 9781842461570
  7. ^ "Dypsis lutescens (Areca Palm, Bamboo Palm, Butterfly Palm, Cane Palm, Golden Butterfly Palm, Golden Feather Palm, Yellow Palm) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox". plants.ces.ncsu.edu. Retrieved 2023-03-16.
  8. ^ "Dypsis lutescens". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  9. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 34. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Real Palm Trees". Palm Tree General Description.
  11. ^ Leonardo Barros Ribeiro & Melisa Gogliath Silva. "Comportamento alimentar das aves Pitangus sulphuratus, Coereba flaveola e Thraupis sayaca em palmeiras frutificadas em área urbana" (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 2011-07-06.
  12. ^ a b Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder. "Dypsis lutescens". www.missouribotanicalgarden.org. Retrieved 2023-03-09.
  13. ^ "Dypsis lutescens (H.Wendl.) Beentje & J.Dransf. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 2023-03-29.
  14. ^ "3 Simple Ways to Care for an Areca Palm". wikiHow. Retrieved 2023-03-22.
  15. ^ "Dypsis lutescens - Plant Finder". www.missouribotanicalgarden.org. Retrieved 2023-03-22.

External links[edit]

Media related to Dypsis lutescens at Wikimedia Commons