Ravenea rivularis

Common name

majesty palm

Description

Stems: Solitary, tapering, pale gray stems to 22 m tall and up to 35-50 cm in diameter, bulging at the base, with rings of leaf scars 4-10 cm apart. Leaves: Pinnate, reduplicate, 2-2.5 m long, with an arching rachis that twists near the tip and linear leaflets that are regularly arranged, growing in a single plane. Leaflets are green on both sides with a prominent midrib and obvious secondary veins. The midrib is clothed with a scattering of brown ramenta on the underside. There are no spines or teeth. Flowers and fruits: Staminate and pistillate flowers are borne on separate plants. The male inflorescence is erect in bud, to 90 cm long, branched to two orders. The female inflorescence is erect or spreading, to 1-1.5 m long, branched to one order. Both male and female flowers are white. The bright red, spherical fruits are 1-1.3 cm long.

Diagnostic features

Solitary, tapering, pale gray stems, bulging at the base, with prominent leaf scars and no crown shaft. Pinnate leaves without spines or teeth; the leaf sheath fringed with fibers, but not covered by a mass of fibers; leaflets roughly the same color above and below, with prominent midribs, secondary ribs, and scattered ramenta below.

May be confused with

Heterospathe elata but its leaflets are irregularly arranged and new leaves emerge reddish-bronze in color.

Distribution

Native to south central Madagascar, growing along river banks

Additional comments

This species has been popular as an indoor ornamental palm.

Scientific name

Ravenea rivularis Jum. & Perr.

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Last Updated May 2014

idtools.org