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  Ravenala madagascariensis Sonn.
  Family Name : Strelitziaceae

  Common Names : Traveller's Palm, Traveller's Tree, Pokok Travelers, Pisang Kipas

  Chinese Name : 旅人蕉, 扇芭蕉

Traveller's Palm,Traveller's Tree,Pokok Travelers,Pisang Kipas
  • Record Info
    • Featured in '1001 Garden Plants in Singapore' Book (2ed) :
  • Life Stage & Characteristics
    • Plant Division :
      Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
      Plant Growth Form :
      Shrub (Herbaceous)
      Lifespan (in Singapore) :
      Mode of Nutrition :
      Maximum Height :
      9 m to 18 m
      Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width :
      4.5 m to 5.5 m
      Tree / Palm - Trunk Diameter :
      0.3 m
  • Biogeography
    • Native Distribution :
      Native Habitat :
      Terrestrial (Secondary Rainforest; Grassland / Savannah/ Scrubland)
      Preferred Climate Zone :
      Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
  • Description & Ethnobotany
    • Plant Morphology :
      [Others]: Herbaceous shrub from Strelitziaceae (Bird of Paradise) family with palm-like appearance. Not a true palm, but more closely related to bananas. Reaches up to 30m height in the wild, but typically shorter in cultivation. Crown symmetrical, fan-shaped. Trunk woody-like with characteristic leaf-scar rings, hidden underground in juvenile plants, and emergent in mature plants.Leaves paddle-shaped, banana-like, large (up to 4m long and 0.5m wide), with 2-4m long petioles that terminate in large hollow basal sheaths. Flowers small with off-white boat-like bracts, produced in inconspicuous inflorescences up to 30cm long amongst leaf petioles, reported to be pollinated by Varecia variegata (Ruffled Lemurs) in native habitat. Blooming seldom observed in Singapore and tropical lowlands due to ever wet conditions. Fruits brown, woody, 3-lobed capsules. Seeds numerous, black, thinly covered with glossy blue and hairy aril, eaten by birds.Cultivated in landscapes for its tropical-looking and architectural crown. Can be grown in containers to constrain size. Prefers moist, well-drained, rich loamy soils, and regular nitrogen-rich fertilizers for lusher foliage growth. Avoid planting in areas with strong winds, which may result in torn tattered leaves. Leaf sheaths and flower bracts may collect stagnant water and are potential mosquito breeding grounds. If neat formal appearance is desired, remove basal suckers regularly to maintain clear-trunked specimens, and prune away older leaves.Usually propagated by division of suckers from base of parent plant. Untreated seeds slow to germinate. Plant growth initially slow, trunks may take up to 3 years to emerge from underground, but growth rate accelerates thereafter.Monotypic genus (ie. only 1 species within genus). Genus epithet 'Ravenala' derived from native Malagasy name, Ravinala, meaning "leaves of the forest".
      Ethnobotanical Uses :
      [Others]: Common name 'Traveller's Palm' derived from anecdotes that thirsty travellers can obtain up to 1.5 litres of drinking water collected within leaf sheaths. Plant also referred to as a compass for travellers, as it is thought that it always orientates itself along north-south axis, although this is not always true. A possible reason for such a directional orientation is the plant's attempt to face its crown of leaves into the east-west path of the sun, in order to maximize the amount of light captured. Used as emblem of Raffles Hotel, Singapore.
  • Landscaping Features
    • Desirable Plant Features :
      Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage, Ornamental Seeds
      Plant & Rootzone Preference/Tolerance :
      Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils, [Remarks] (Sandy soil, Clayey soil)
      Landscape Uses :
      General, Roadside Tree / Palm, Focal Plant, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant, Container Planting
  • Fauna, Pollination & Dispersal
    • Associated Fauna :
      Pollination Method(s) :
      Biotic (Fauna) (Vertebrates (Other Mammal); Associated with: Ruffled Lemurs)
      Seed / Spore Dispersal :
      Biotic (Fauna) (Associated with: Seeds eaten by birds.), Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)
  • Plant Care & Propagation
    • Light Preference :
      Full Sun, Semi-Shade
      Water Preference :
      Moderate Water
      Plant Growth Rate :
      Maintenance Requirements :
      Propagation Method :
      Seed, Sucker, Division
      Propagule Establishment Remarks :
      Seeds are slow to germinate.
  • Foliar
    • Foliage Retention :
      Mature Foliage Colour(s) :
      Mature Foliage Texture(s) :
      Smooth, Glossy / Shiny
      Foliar Type :
      Simple / Unifoliate
      Foliar Arrangement Along Stem :
      Foliar Shape(s) :
      Non-Palm Foliage (Oblong)
      Foliar Venation :
      Foliar Margin :
      Typical Foliar Area :
      Megaphyll (>1640.25cm2 )
      Leaf Area Index (LAI) * for Green Plot Ratio :
      3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)
  • Non-Foliar & Storage
    • Trunk Type (Non-Palm) :
      Stem Type & Modification :
      Root Type :
      Underground (Fibrous Root)
  • Floral (Angiosperm)
    • Flower & Plant Sexuality :
      Bisexual Flowers
      Flower Colour(s) :
      Cream / Off-White, White
      Flower Size :
      Remarks (Flowers small, inflorescence up to 30cm across.)
      Ovary Position :
      Inferior / Epipgynous
      Flowering Period :
      Flowering Opening Time :
      Flower Lifespan On Plant :
      Several Days
      Flowering Habit :
  • Fruit, Seed & Spore
    • Mature Fruit Colour(s) [Angiosperms & Gymnosperms] :
      Fruit Classification :
      Simple Fruit
      Fruit Type :
      Dehiscent Dry Fruit (Capsule)
The information given on this website has been compiled from reference works on medicinal plants and/or pron only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Reliance on this information is strictly at your own risk. You should always consult your physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.

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