Jungle Music Palms and Cycads Nursery

Nursery Hours:
Monday -Saturday 9AM-4PM

Phone: (619) 291-4605
Fax: (619) 574-1595
Email:
phil.bergman@junglemusic.net

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THE TRAVELER PALM

Ravenala madegascarensis - A Banana-Like Large Tree


by Phil Bergman


Description of Article

This article is a brief introduction to the Traveler Palm, Ravenala madagascarensis.  This tree is a unique banana-like plant that gets to a medium height, gets wide and soft leaves on long stems and forms a trunk.  Most uniquely, all the leaves form in one plane.  So, it looks rather flat when viewed from the front and quite thin from the side.  If you want to try this in your garden, you must be frost free.  Read below on how to grow it.

Introduction

Most people are fascinated by this large, banana-like plant that has wide, long and soft leaves that tower overhead.  And, the fact the leaves of the Traveler Palm are all aligned in one plane fascinates viewers. But I must first mention that this species is not a palm at all!  Rather, it is part of the Bird of Paradise family.  It got its common name of "Traveler Palm" (aka Traveller Palm) because the leaf bases would catch and hold water for thirsty travelers.  Compared to the Giant Bird of Paradise, it's so much nicer.  It's less maintenance, is not invasive and prettier.  But, the downside is that Ravenala madagascarensis doesn't survive a freeze.  Below I'm giving a quick introduction to this species with comments on culture and who can grow them.

 

DESCRIPTION OF RAVENALA MADAGASCARENSIS, THE TRAVELER  PALM

Type of Plant:  A suckering plant in the Bird of Paradise family.  Most people remove the suckers and, over time, have a single trunk specimen as shown below.
Sun Tolerance:
 Along the coast can take full or part sun.  Inland areas can also grow in full sun or partial sun.  But, in the desert, it would want filtered light.
Mature Height:  In our locality it reaches heights of about twenty feet.  In the tropical it can get up to thirty feet or more.
Leaves:  The leaves are paddle-like on long stems, green in color and soft and pliable to touch.  There are no spines. The leaf stems are very long, sometimes over six feet.  When pruning off old dead leaves, these leaf bases can almost be cut with a butter knife.
Trunk:  The trunk of the Traveler Palm over time does become woody and brown in color.  It typically has a diameter of about 12 inches.
Suckers:  Note that these plants will form offsets or suckers.  It is best to remove these or you'll end up with a clump of multiple plants.
Cold Tolerance:  It succumbs at temperatures below 32 degrees.  Literally, this species will die overnight.  So, don't get it for outdoor growing if you always freeze.
Growth Rate:  Medium to fast
Native Habitat:  This species is native to Madagascar.
Other Characteristics:  It suckers from the base.  Left alone, it will make a clump of stems which hides its beauty.  Therefore, most people cut or pull off the basal offsets and try to grow them.  I agree with this as it shows off the trunk and spectacular crown of leaves.
Landscape Usages:  With This species is used as a specimen plant.  You should give it room not only to grow but also for viewing.  Leaves can get over twelve feet long, so it needs room to the sides as well as overhead. 

PHOTOGRAPHS OF GARDEN PLANTS AND SOME IN THE WILD

 

Traveler Palm
photograph in habitat
Traveller Palm Traveller Palm
Ravanala Traveler Palm BY js
Photo by JS in the wild
Traveler Palm
note suckers from base
Traveler Palm
note tall thin trunk
Traveler Palm Wikipedia
photo c/o Wikipedia
Traveler Palm itotd website
This photo, taken somewhat from the side, shows
the leaves in one plant.  Picture c/o itotd.com website
Traveler Palm Traveler Palm Balboa Park, San Diego
Traveler Palm Balboa Park, San Diego
Traveler by K.J. Orange County
photo by K.J. in Orange County, CA
Traveler palm many trunks
Note: Traveler palms must be timmed so that they
have only one trunk.  Otherwise they'll show a clump
as seen here and the next photo..
Traveler Palm Traveler Palm

 

PHOTOGRAPHS OF NURSERY PLANTS FOR SALE OVER TIME

At our nursery in Encinitas, CA, we do offer Traveler Palms for sale.  Availability varies of time.
Sometimes we have larger, sometimes smaller.  But, given time, we'll find something right for your
needs.  Shown here is an assortment from 5g to 25g sizes.  Believe it or not, small ones are the ones
that we run out of first.

Traveler Palm Traveler Palm
Traveller Palm tRAVELER PALM Traveler Palm at nursery
Traveler Palm Leaf Traveler Palm at nursery Traveler Palm at nursery

 

FOR OTHER INFORMATIVE ARTICLES ON PALM TREES,
CLICK FOR PALM INFORMATION

TO VISIT OUR PALM TREE ENCYCLOPEDIA, CLICK HERE

TO SEE A 35 MINUTE SLIDE SHOW "PALMS FOR SOUTHERN CA", CLICK HERE

 

Phil Bergman 
Jungle Music Palms, Cycads and Tropical Plants  

Email:

phil.bergman@junglemusic.net

Website:

www.junglemusic.net

Nursery Location:

450 Ocean View Ave., Encinitas, CA  92024

Nursery Phone: 619 291 4605
Nursery Hours:

 Monday - Saturday, 9:00AM-4PM
 Sunday typically closed

Directions to Nursery: Freeway Close. Take Freeway 5 to Encinitas
(10 minutes south of Oceanside, 30 minutes north of San Diego). Exit Leucadia Blvd West (toward ocean).
Immediate left on Orpheus Ave, left on Union St,
Right on Ocean View Ave to Nursery
450 Ocean View Ave
Mailing Address:

3233 Brant Street, San Diego, CA 92103





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