Back to top
Palmier de Madagascar (Pachypodium lamerei) - Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh-Menton © MNHN - Agnès Iatzoura
Palmier de Madagascar (Pachypodium lamerei) - Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh-Menton © MNHN - Agnès Iatzoura

Madagascar Palm

Falsely identified as a “palm tree”, this Madagascar palm is actually a succulent. This species is used for decorative purposes, particularly due to its silver-grey trunk. It also has a beautiful scent. Being an Apocynaceae, care must be taken as its sap is somewhat toxic.

Identity Card

Common name
Madagascar Palm
Binominal name
Pachypodium lamerei Drake


Pachypodium champenoisianum Boiteau

Detailed Informations

Area of origin


Pachypodium means “thick (pakhus in Greek), foot (podos in Greek)”. Lamerei is named after Mr Lamère, plant collector who supplied the specimen used to describe the species by Emmanuel Drake Del Castillo.

Description and flowering period

Despite its common name, this species is a stem succulent and not at all related to palm trees. It grows very slowly and can eventually reach up to 6 meters in height. Its trunk-like stem is silvery-grey and covered in long prickly spines. Its semi-persistent leaves form a crown at the top of the stem which gives the plant the appearance of a palm tree. The leaves are long and narrow with a neatly marked midrib. The flowers which have 5 white petals and a golden-yellow throat are very fragrant. They appear at the top of the plant but only on mature subjects. The fruits are seed-pods each containing numerous seeds.


It has to be planted in a nutrient-rich, free-draining soil in full sun. It requires a warm climate as the species is utterly frost intolerant.




Although widely cultivated throughout the world, this species is endemic to Madagascar. It should be handled with care as its sap is highly toxic.

Translated by: François Saint-Hillier – MNHN

Go Further