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Useful Tropical Plants

Ravenala madagascariensis

Sonn.

Strelitziaceae

+ Synonyms

Heliconia ravenala Willemet

Urania madagascariensis (Sonn.) Raeusch.

Urania ravenala (Willemet) A.Rich.

Urania speciosa Willd.

Common Name: Traveler's Tree

Ravenala madagascariensis
Cultivated tree with developing trunk
Photograph by: Duy?t-ph?
Creative Commons License
Ravenala madagascariensis Ravenala madagascariensis Ravenala madagascariensis Ravenala madagascariensis Ravenala madagascariensis Ravenala madagascariensis Ravenala madagascariensis

General Information

Traveller's tree is an evergreen tree with an open, fan-like crown; it usually grows up to 20 metres tall., though specimens up to 30 metres have been reported. The cylindrical stem can be solitary, or branched at the base. The plant produces large, banana-like leaves that can each be 2.5 - 4 metres long and 80 - 150cm wide on top of a stout petiole that is 3 - 6 metres long. These are held in a fan-shaped formation of 20 or more leaves[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
309
Title
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/shrubs/
Publisher
University of Florida
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
PDF fact sheets on over 500 shrubs.
].
The plant produces an edible seed that is sometimes gathered from the wild for local use. It gains its common name from the fact that copious amounts of rainwater and liquid plant secretions can collect in the leaf bases and leaf bracts of the plant - these have been used as refreshment by thirsty travellers[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
]. The tree is widely cultivated as an ornamental in the tropics and subtropics[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Africa - Madagascar.

Habitat

Rainforest[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Sheltered, warm and humid, and per-humid areas near the coast, from sea-level up to elevations of 450 metres, but it can also be found up to 1,000 metres[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height10.00 m
PollinatorsLemurs, Bats, Birds
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details


Prefers a fertile, moist, but well-drained soil in a sunny or partially shaded position[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
]. The leaves are shredded by the wind unless the plant is grown in a sheltered position[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
].
The leaves at the base of a new shoot often consist often only of sheaths. Each new leaf grows up inside the sheath of the preceding one, the blade being tightly rolled. A fully expanded leaf is often slightly unequal-sided, or the base of the blade is asymmetrical[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
It takes up to 10 years before first flowering, but because traveller’s palm is planted for its foliage this does not distract from its ornamental value[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Every 2 - 3 days, a new flower opens in an inflorescence, the total number of open flowers being variable; up to 29 have been counted. The flowers normally open at night[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Nectar production is copious, with maximum production at midnight. In Madagascar, traveller’s palm is pollinated predominantly by several lemur species, e.g. the ruffled lemur (Varecia variegata) and the black lemur (Eulemur macaco). Lemurs appear to be highly dependent on the nectar of traveller’s palm during specific times of the year. In areas outside the natural range, flowers are often visited by large bats, such as Pteropus alecto gouldii and Macroglossus lagochilus, as well as honeyeater birds[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Four distinct forms of this plant have been observed in the wild:-
The first form, locally called 'malama', is rather rare. It grows in the understorey of undisturbed submontane rain forest. The juvenile phase is characterized by a secondarily spiral arrangement of the leaves, a long-decurrent leaf blade, the absence of a petiole, and the arrangement of the leaves to forma torus; the adult phase has a fan-like crown[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The second form, 'hiranirana', is more abundant. It grows in forest gaps and disturbed primary forest. The juvenile phase is more similar to the usual fan-like form, with well-developed petioles and a relatively wide leaf blade, and a slight and regularly alternate arrangement of the leaves, persisting in the adult phase[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The third form, 'bemavo' is the most common form. It grows on deforested slopes at elevations between 300 - 600 metres, and forms the Ravenala forests. All phases show a fan-like crown. This is the form that is mostly used for construction purposes[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The fourth form, 'horonorona' grows in deforested lowland sites, on either poorly or well-drained soils, and is different from the other three in that it stays rather small and develops many suckers. It is the form that is most commonly cultivated as an ornamental[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Edible Uses

The seed is edible[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
]. A mealy texture[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The seed oil is sometimes used for cooking[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The oil content of the seeds and arils is 4% and 68%, respectively. The oils have a fatty acid composition intermediate between palm oil and cocoa butter (oleic acid 39% and palmitic acid 34 - 42%) and form a possible minor source of vegetable butter[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Analysis of the sterol fraction of the seed oil revealed 7 sterols, mainly beta-sitosterol (65%), whereas 12 sterols have been isolated from the aril oil, mainly stigmasterol (18%)[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Fruit - raw. The edible blue arils are tasteless[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Sugar can be extracted from the sap of the trunk[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The leaves are arranged into two rows, giving the impression of a gigantic fan. The common name of the tree is an indication of its alleged use by travellers, who are said to have drunk rain water that has accumulated in the basal cup of the petiole and in the flower bracts. However, this water is often rendered undrinkable by infestation with mosquito larvae and contamination by detritus[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Medicinal

The seed oil is reported to be antiseptic[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Other Uses

The leaves are used for roofing and as a packing material[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The leaf petioles and midribs are used for making walls[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The bark is used for making floors in houses[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The stem is used in house construction[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Propagation

Seed - slow to germinate[
309
Title
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/shrubs/
Publisher
University of Florida
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
PDF fact sheets on over 500 shrubs.
]. Seed is best sown in a moist, sandy soil at 20°c. Seedlings of 2 - 6 months old are planted in a rich, deep, loamy soil in full sunlight, incorporating organic matter into the soil at planting time in order to prevent the roots drying out[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Division of offshoots. Suckers grow at irregular intervals, close to the parental stem. Rooted suckers can be separated at the beginning of the rainy season, and are planted directly into fertile soil for quick growth[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-09-25. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Ravenala+madagascariensis>

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