A picture of a Traveller's Palm

Traveller's Palm

Ravenala madagascariensis

Also known as

Traveller's Tree

Ravenala madagascariensis Mazunte by AlejandroLinaresGarcia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Full Sun
Light watering


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

More images of Traveller's Palm

Penang Malaysia Ravenala-madagascariensis-01
A photo of Traveller's Palm
Ravenala madagascariensis (421266662)
Ravenala madagascariensis plantae 1

Traveller's Palm Overview

Ravenala madagascariensis is an evergreen perennial in the Strelitziaceae family, it is thus not a true palm. 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. 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. 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 also produces its foliage in a fan arrangement, running from east to west, following the sun movement, this can provide a crude compass. 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. 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 focal 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.