Skip to comments.New tree species found in Madagascar (self-destructing palm tree flowers once, then dies)
Posted on 01/16/2008 6:45:48 PM PST by NormsRevenge
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar - A self-destructing palm tree that flowers once every 100 years and then dies has been discovered on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, botanists said Thursday.
The name of the giant palm and its remarkable life cycle will be detailed in a study by Kew Gardens scientists in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society published Thursday.
"It's spectacular. It does not flower for maybe 100 years and when it's like this it can be mistaken for other types of palm," said Mijoro Rakotoarinivo, who works for the London botanical gardens in Madagascar.
"But then a large shoot, a bit like an asparagus, grows out of the top of the tree and starts to spread. You get something that looks a bit like a Christmas tree growing out of the top of the palm," he said.
The branches of this shoot then become covered in hundreds of tiny white flowers that ooze with nectar, attracting insects and birds.
But the effort of flowering and fruiting depletes the tree so much that within a few months it collapses and dies, said botanist Dr. John Dransfield, author of the study.
Dransfield noted that "even for Madagascar this is a stupendous palm and an astonishing discovery."
The world's fourth largest island, Madagascar is renowned for its unusual flora and fauna, including 12,000 species of plant found nowhere else in the world. Indeed 90 percent of its plant species are endemic.
The palm tree, which grows to 66 feet in height and has about 16-foot leaves, is only found in an extremely remote region in the northwest of the country, some four days by road from the capital. Local villagers have known about it for years although none had seen it in flower until last year.
The bizarre flowering ritual was first spotted by Frenchman Xavier Metz, who runs a cashew plantation nearby. After seeing it he notified Kew Gardens.
Puzzling Dransfield is how botanists had missed such a "whopping palm" until now. According to him it is the largest palm species in the country but there appear to be only about 100 in existence.
He also questions how the palm got to Madagascar. The tree has similarities to Chuniophoeniceae palms, however these are only found in Asia, more than 3,700 miles away.
Dransfield suggests the plant has been quietly living and dramatically dying in Madagascar since the island split with mainland India 80 million years ago.
This undated photo released by the Royal Botanic Gardens, shows a newly discovered species of palm tree on the Indian Ocean Island of Madagascar. A self-destructing palm tree that flowers once every 100 years and then dies has been discovered on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, botanists said Thursday Jan. 17, 2008. The name of the giant palm and its remarkable life cycle will be detailed in a study by Kew Gardens scientists in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society published Thursday. (AP Photo/Royal Botanic Gardens, John Dransfield)
This one will drive the liberal whackos crazy..a Palm tree that commits suicide.....my god, the planet is killing itself, my god, what can we do to save this self destructing species..OMG....
It’s global warming!
Maybe it’s in the banana family. Banana trees flower once and the flower turns into a stock of bananas and then the tree dies.
Maybe its in the banana family. Banana trees flower once and the flower turns into a stock of bananas and then the tree dies.
from the behavior at the end on this one,, could be ..
I hope someone got a shot of the flower
This can be understandable.
Shades of the Century Plant.
Interesting. My sister and her husband were medical missionary’s to Madagascar in the 80’s.
It truely is a wonderful world. There is so much variety. We’re so lucky we get to spend a few years here.
I hear ya. If nothing else, maybe some of the kids and yute lurking on FR will look into it more down the road.
Most all of Us old farts don’t have the lifespan today to outlive one of these palms,, but someday , you may get to have one planted when you’re born and celebrate your 100th when it blooms.. cool.
I didn't know you could by stock in bananas.
time flies like the wind, but fruit flies like....
I think there are some scriptures about all of creation speaking the things of God. And other scriptures about man being like a flower...flourishing for a short time and then withering.
Pretty dramatic sermon.
A palm tree (if I recall) is basically a very big, slow motion blade of grass.
/my two cents
IBTYPBR? oh sNaP! if anyone figures that out!
didn't decipher your acronym or whatever it is, but the comment got me wondering...is there a species that kills a couple of dozen of the trees nearest to itself when it does itself in? -- no, no: that's not natural.
Imagine having one of these in your backyard. Some major news event happens, you dutifully excuse yourself from your normal FR correspondence and go take a shower.....when you’re done, the tree has flowered and written out its own suicide note. Man, that would suck.
Like so many in Hollywood, apparently.
my bad on the stock/stalk, my typing is much faster than my brain. LOL One thing about a mistake on FR, though, is that there is always someone to point it out.
First thing I thought of, too.
Awesome buggers; one we had suddenly decided to flower, and in barely a week had shot up between the wires, then shorted out the power lines when it opened, starting a grass fire. As the stem is growing, it looks slightly obscene, too. ;)
The fire was on a Sunday, and the fire crew made SoCal Edison send a crew to both cut the stem, and fix the lines.
VINDICATED! On the previous Thursday, they had a bucket truck crew at the neighbor's, and they refused to cut it, even thogh it was already between the wires..."Ugh, gee, hyuck; ain't our job, hyuck, hyuck!"
GGG material here.
Some bamboos flower only once in 100 years, and often die.
I thought Madagascar split from the African continent. If you look at a map it fits the African coastline perfectly. I also recall watching a show about the great rift of eastern Africa which will eventually split Tanzania and a few other countries away. They made a comparison with Madagascar splitting from Africa.
New species discovered. Blooms every hundred years and then dies. Question. How do they know? Oh yeah. Peer review says so.
Thanks, I’ll check it out.
Tree man ‘who grew roots’ may be cured
Telegraph.co.uk | 01/13/2008 | Matthew Moore
Posted on 01/15/2008 10:02:40 AM EST by Ultra Sonic 007
Thanks Fractal Trader.
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makes sense, no point of having a non growing, non budding tree hang around for 100s of years, while new growth could take over.
Indeed, I have an agave corpse to prove it.
Funny... I got a palm that looks just like that, and I ain’t ever seen it flower neither. ;-)
In Before The Young Palestinian Boy Reference?
None of my relatives.
Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)
LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)
Look at the fronds. They are similar to palmettos, nothing like bananas.
That same thought ran through my mind.
I have always wondered what one looked like when it bloomed. My mother in law had one her mother used to have, It died during a freeze when the power went out.
I take it that banana wood isn’t really good for anything?
Last night on either Discover or TLC they had a one hour program on him. It is a very sad story, what is even worse is that he works for a circus type of show with others take have diffenent problems but are just as sad.
At the end of the show they said that he did not know if he would actually try the treatment.