Ravenala madagascariensis (Traveller’s Tree, Traveller’s Palm)

This spectacular monocot has very intriguing growth patterns and grows to considerable heights in tropical regions. The foliage contains a surprising amount of water (up to one quart of water per leaf blade) that can be used to survive harsh droughts.


Ravenala madagascariensis (Traveller’s Tree, Traveller’s Palm)
Family: Strelitziaceae
Hardiness Zones:
Height: to 15 meters
to 7.5 meters, trunk to 30cm
Root System:
very deep, thick pale-whitish, few surface roots
Growth Rate:
fast, to 1 meter annually under optimal conditions
may reach dwarf-sized adulthood by 10 years
Monoecious/dioecious: monoecious
Monocot/dicot: monocot

Tolerates: drought (once estbalished and mature)
Problems (major): intolerant of cold temperatures (40 degrees F and below)
Problems (minor): Strong winds for taller specimens, leaf spots, difficult to transplant
Poisonous: The entire plant is mildly toxic.

Soil requirements: prefers deep, nutrient-rich, fairly moist, loamy, acidic, well-drained soils – tolerates sand and clay
Air requirements: Prefers temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below are fatal.
Watering requirement: moderate
Sun requirement: full sun

Leaf shape: deep-green, banana-like, thick, somewhat succulent, long with slits perpendicular to the long primary “veins”
Leaf size: Leaf blades (laminae) to 3 meters (10 feet) long by 1 meter wide, clusters up to 30 per single trunk, petioles may grow as long as the blades.
Stem: up to 30 centimeters (12 inches) in diameter, grows up to 12 meters (40 feet) tall, initially subterranean on younger plants
Flowering structure: White, 3 petals per flower, occur in cymes, present in boat-shaped, cream-white to light-green colored spathes (similar to Strelitzia/Bird of Paradise plants), has 5-15 sturdy bracts per inflorescence, 10-16 flowers per inflorescence, the entire inflorescence can grow 30 centimeters (12 inches) long, pollinated primarily by lemurs.
Flowering frequency: frequent in summer on mature plants, occasionally during other times of the year
Fruits: small seeds are edible, initially capsule-bound (the capsules grow up to 9 centimeters (3.5 inches) in diameter), and enclosed by blue-arils,
Bulb/Corm: neither

Notable characteristics:
The entire tree, namely the foliage, contains a very considerable amount of water. Can be vegetatively reproduced by divisions and rhizomes.

R. madagascariensis is grown as an ornamental in select areas.

Sources used:


A mature specimen (uploaded 27 May 2012 by കാക്കര)


Traveller’s trees in Southeast Asia (image uploaded on 2012 by Milei Vencel)


Several inflorescences whose flowers have pollinated, yielding mature seed pods (uploaded 20 April 2005)


Multiple inflorescences on a mature plant (uploaded 14 September 2008 by “Pratheepps”, http://pratheep.com/)


An open traveller’s tree seed capsule (uploaded 12 May 2005)



A traveller’s tree trunk in Osaka, Japan (by Wikipedia user “KENPEI”)


Several living and dead petioles of a traveller’s tree (uploaded 24 July 2012)


Several very tall traveller’s trees

I do not own the rights of these images; all credit goes to its original creator(s).



Leave a comment

Filed under Plant Analysis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s