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Gardens

Plants: Species

Palm: Bismarck or Satra Palm Bismarkia nobilis

FAMILY: Arecaceae (Palm Family)

The most common palm in Madagascar, the Bismarck palm does very well in the drier tropical and subtropical zones outside of Madagascar. In northern and western Madagascar, it is often the only tree in the landscape. Bismarck palms live in large numbers on the plains and plateau regions. Sometimes these palms will be found growing in flood-prone areas.


The local name for Bismarkia nobilis is the satra palm. Local people use it for partitions in walls by emptying the trunks and flattening them into planks. The leaves are used for thatch in roofing and baskets. The pith of the palm can serve as a slightly bitter sago drink.


The Bismarck palm received its name from German chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815 to 1898). It is unusual for a botanist to name a plant after a politician.