Traveler's Palm

Ravenala madagascariensis

Ravenala in Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed in a suburban Nairobi garden, Kenya. December 2011.

flowers and bracts of Ravenala, photo © Michael Plagens From Wikipedia: This easily recognized plant has been given the name "traveler's palm" because the sheaths of the stems hold rainwater, which supposedly could be used as an emergency drinking supply for needy travelers. Another plausible reason for its name is that the fan tends to grow in an east-west line, providing a crude compass. The enormous paddle-shaped leaves are borne on long petioles, in a distinctive fan shape aligned in a single plane. The large white flowers are structurally similar to those of its relatives, the bird-of-paradise flowers. In tropical and subtropical regions, the plant is widely cultivated for its distinctive habit and foliage. Ravenala is native to the island of Madagascar.

Strelitziaceae -- Bird-of-Paradise Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created on 24 October 2012.