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Traveller's tree

Ravenala is a genus of flowering plants with a single species, Ravenala madagascariensis. It is not a true palm (family Arecaceae) but a member of a monocotyledonous flowering plant family, Strelitziaceae from Madagascar.

It has been granted the name "traveller's palm" because the sheaths of the stems hold rainwater, which supposedly could be used as an emergency drinking supply for needy travellers.

The enormous paddle-shaped leaves are borne on long petioles, in a distinctive fan shape aligned in a single plane (distichous). The large white flowers are structurally similar to those of its relatives, the bird-of-paradise flowers Strelitzia reginae and Strelitzia nicolai, but are generally considered less attractive, with a green bract.

The plant requires a sunny spot (not full sun until it is larger). It responds well to fertiliser, especially if it is high in nitrogen during the growing season. This produces better growth and foliage. The plant grows to an average height of 7 m (23 ft) and requires moderate water.

  • Category Strelitziaceae
  • Genus Ravenala
  • Species madagascariensis
  • Families Strelitziaceae
  • Habit Single stemmed palm
  • Climatic Zones Tropical USDA 11
  • Leaves Foglia Persistente
  • Flower Spadix
  • Geographical Area of Origin Madagascar
  • Flowering and Fruiting Period September August July June
  • Form Touffe
  • Color Flower / Leaves / Fruits Yellow
  • Favorite soil Neutral Middle-Dough
  • Water needs Medium
  • Light Exposure Full light Medium shade
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