A picture of a Traveller's Palm

Traveller's Palm

Ravenala spp.

Also known as

Traveller's Tree

Ravenala madagascariensis5 by Nolege (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Full Sun
Light watering


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size









More images of Traveller's Palm

Penang Malaysia Ravenala-madagascariensis-01
Ravenala madagascariensis Maui
Ravenala madagascariensis (421266662)
A photo of Traveller's Palm
A photo 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.

Common problems with Traveller's Palm

How to propagate Traveller's Palm


Propagation is from seed in spring.


Division of suckers at any time.


Special features of Traveller's Palm

Attractive leaves

Other uses of Traveller's Palm

Grown for its foliage and overall appearance.