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Department of Botany

Since 1980

Ravenala madagascariensis Sonn.


Traveller’s Palm

   Botanical NameRavenala madagascariensis Sonn.
   SynonymsHeliconia ravenala .Willemet;Urania madagascariensis .(Sonn.) Raeusch.
   Common NameEnglish : Traveller’s palm / Tamil : Visirii Vazhai
   DistributionGlobal : Native Madagascar and introduced in all Tropical Countries.
Indian: Through India
   DescriptionTall crown tree reach up to 30m height, trunk with characteristic leaf scar rings. Leaves paddle shaped looks like banana leaf, Petiole terminate in to large basal sheath, leaves arranged in a symmetrical one above another superimposed on either side give fan like appearance, leaf margin smooth. Inflorescence spadix. Flowers, trimerous, many, white, bract white boat shaped, sepals 3 keeled, petals 3, unequal, resembles like birds of paradise flower. Stamens 5 with 1 staminodes. Gynoecium with 6 carpel, united, ovary inferior. Fruit capsule, six valved. Seeds many, black in color, thinly covered by hairy blue aril.
   Flowering Fruiting periodSeptember - November
   UsesHighly Ornamental planted for its architectural leaf arrangement. Leaves are used for roofing, Leaf sheath holds water that can be used as emergency drinking water for travellers hence it gets the name traveller’s palm.
   Medicinal UsesPhytochemical studies revealed that the plant possesses antibacterial and antioxidant activity.
   Tamil NameTraveller’s Palm