26 February 2011

Traveller's palm

What a magnificent plant (Philippine Islands, 1926).  Details from Wikipedia:
Ravenala madagascariensis, commonly known as Traveller's Tree or Traveller's Palm, is a species of plant from Madagascar. It is not a true palm (family Arecaceae) but a member of the bird-of-paradise family, Strelitziaceae... It has been given the name "traveller's palm" because the sheaths of the stems hold rainwater, which can be used as an emergency drinking supply. The enormous paddle-shaped leaves are borne on long petioles, in a distinctive fan shape aligned in a single plane.
Photo from the NOAA Library, via the New Shelton wet/dry.

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