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Travelers Palm Tree

Travelers Palm Tree in the landscape

Travelers Palm Tree, scientific name Ravenala madagascariensis, is one of the most recognizable palm trees in the world for its spectacular fronds that range in color from orange to yellow to green.  It can adapt to a wide range of soils. Travelers Palm Tree can create a wonderful shaded area in the yard or by the pool.

Travelers Palm Tree File


Scientific name: Ravenala madagascariensis

Common names: The Travelers Palm is also known as Travelers Palm and Traveler’s Tree.

Family: Arecaceae

Origin: It is native to Madagascar.

Appearance: Young Travelers Palm has a subterranean trunk that grows underground. As the palm matures it develops a short green trunk, about 1 ft in diameter, with distinctive leaf scar rings.

The Travelers Palm has about 30-35 large,10 ft long, fan-shaped leaves supported by long petioles. Leaves resemble those of the banana and are symmetrically grouped, giving the tree the aspect of a hand fan. High winds can shred the leaves giving them a feather-like appearance. Leaf stems color varies from orange at the base of the stem to yellow in the middle and to the bright green closer to the end.

Leaf stems can store a lot of rainwater that can be used as an emergency drinking supply during drought. There are a lot of stories of travelers looking for the palm to get some water, hence the name Travelers Palm.


Flowers/Fruits: The Travelers Palm produces white flowers, supported by a large green flower stalk. Flowers can be as large as 2ft in diameter. Leaf stalks look like a narrow bowl and collect a lot of rainwater making it very heavy. Bloomed flowers are followed by brown fruits that open to reveal stunning bright blue seeds inside.

Growth Rate: Moderate.  Ravenala madagascariensis grows at a medium rate up to 30-40 ft tall with 10-15 ft wide spread.

Outdoor/Indoor Use: Both.

Cold Tolerance: Travelers Palm Tree is one of the most awe-inspiring natural palms in the world that can tolerate cold temperatures down to 20F. Grows best in USDA Zones 9a (20 to 25 F) to 11 (above 40 F).

Light Req: It likes full sun but can also grow in light shade.

Water Req: Moderate. Grows best in moist, well-drained soil. Native to Madagascar, Travelers Palm Tree easily adapts to a wide range of soils and makes a great centerpiece for any area or landscape. It tolerates sandy and clayey soils.

Maintenance: Easy. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during the growing season.

Propagation: Propagated by seeds or a division of clumps.

Top 10 Benefits Of The Travelers Palm Tree

The Traveler's Palm tree, native to Madagascar, is not just a picturesque addition to any landscape, but also provides numerous benefits:

  1. Aesthetic Appeal: Its unique fan-shaped foliage contributes to landscape beauty.

  2. Shade Provider: Its large fronds offer shade and coolness.

  3. Windbreak: It can serve as a windbreak or natural fence.

  4. Water Storage: The tree's base stores rainwater that can be used in times of scarcity.

  5. Edible Seeds: The tree's seeds are edible and nutritious.

  6. Medicinal Uses: Its leaves have traditional medicinal uses.

  7. Shelter for Wildlife: It provides shelter to various species of birds and insects.

  8. Ornamental Use: Its dried leaves are used for decorative purposes.

  9. Soil Improvement: It helps in improving soil quality by adding organic matter.

  10. Carbon Sequestration: Like other trees, it reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, contributing to the fight against climate change.

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