More images of Traveller's Palm
Traveller's Palm Overview
Ravenala is a genus that is termed monotypic as it only contains 1 species, Ravenala madagascariensis. This species is not a true palm as it resides in the Strelitziaceae family, it is closely related to the genus Strelitzia, which contains plants commonly known as bird of paradise. This species produces between 20-30 very large, showy, banana-like leaves with long stems in a fan arrangement running east to west, the leaves measure up to 3m in length and up to a metre wide and may develop splits similar to the foliage of banana plants. Flowers are showy, 3-petalled and white in colour, they resemble those of the related Strelitzia genus. The flowers lead onto woody capsules with edible seeds inside, the seeds are covered by bright blue flesh. Its commonly known by the names traveller's palm or traveller's tree, this is thought to be because the leaf casings can hold rainwater, providing sustenance to travellers. This interesting plant produces a single trunk and large foliage in a line running from east to west, following the sun movement, this can provide a crude compass. Originating from Madagascar, this plant is capable of growing over 15m tall and 3m wide, generally too large for garden planting but can make a lovely showy centre point in parks and other large landscapes with adequate space. It is tender and won't cope with freezing temperatures, it can be planted in containers, but these limit the plant size and are tricky to overwinter in frost-prone climates.