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 rain water 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 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 rain water making it very heavy. Bloomed out flower are followed by brown fruits that open to reveal stunning bright blue seeds inside.

Growth Rate: Moderate.  Ravenala madagascariensis grows at the medium rate up to 30-40 ft tall with 10-15 ft 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 temperature 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 growing season.

Propagation: Propagated by seeds or a division of clumps.